Aquaponics 101 – How does your garden grow?

Let me tell you a little secret about goldfish that you won’t find in the text books.

They like change.

Is that it?  Yes, that’s it, they like change.  “So why are you telling us this?”, you may ask.

Well goldfish like change so much that it drives them into a sexual frenzy and they start spawning like crazy and that’s good, especially if you’re in the business of selling baby goldfish.

I suppose that it could also be good if you have a wife with goldfish-like tendencies, like having a very short attention span or being very round in the middle regions.

I find that any change works.  One can change the water.  Put some new rocks in.  Plant some new plants and that does it.  I’m talking about the fish here, mind you.  The wife needs overseas trips and new shoes etc.

But I digress. Back to the story. It all started off quite innocently last Saturday morning. The goldfish pond looked a bit empty so I decided to top it up as I do occasionally (from my rain water tanks, I might add. We are in the middle of a serious drought here at the moment).  Anyway, just after I popped the hose into the pond I was called out to our restaurant.

Arriving back over an hour later, I was horrified to discover that I had left the tap on and the pond had been overflowing for ages. Cursing my luck, and checking that none of the occupants had escaped, I switched the tap off.

Sunday morning dawned with the thrashing and splashing of a full scale goldfish orgy going on. I rushed off and fetched the ultimate goldfish sex-aid. Shade cloth. They LOVE shade cloth and within the hour I had 4 or 5 pieces of shade cloth absolutely covered in recently fertilised goldfish eggs.

These were then gently emersed in a Methylene Blue solution to prevent any fungus growing on the eggs and then carefully transferred to a fish tank held at a constant 24 deg C.

By Friday hundreds of little goldfish fry had begun to hatch. Here is a (bad) shot of at least a thousand recently hatched goldfish. Each of those little slivers at the bottom of the tank  is a fish. They look like little pieces of hair with two eyes at one end.

goldfishfry

Everything else in the Aquaponic (AP) system and in fact the soil garden is flourishing.  As mentioned in a previous post, I am doing regular comparisons between growth for various vegetable crops in AP systems vs soil.  Here are mustard lettuce seedlings planted in AP.

seedlingingravel

And here are the same seeds planted in soil.

seedlininsoil

I have also started supplementing the Tilapia food with duckweed.  They need some encouragement to eat the duckweed and the smaller fish seem more partial to it, but I am going to persevere.  Here is some duckweed and watecress growing in water.

duckweed1

The neighbours seem to be taking a keen interest in our farm-like back garden and I have shared produce with them on a couple of occasions.  I’m not sure if it’s the free vegetables that keep them coming back or the Child Bride in her gardening gear !!

joan071109

I’d like to give my loyal readers a very rare “sneak peek” into the life of the Child Bride. Read more in her “Ramblings” section of the Old Gaol Restaurant website here

Anyway, enough for now, I’m off to find some shade cloth !!

Synaptoman

P.S. I’d like to get your views on the following;

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Synaptoman,
    I am very interested in your site. I have a small permaculture garden in my backyard and would like to incorporate an aquanonic section.
    I will be in the Wilderness area from 14 to 17 December 2009. Can I visit to get some ideas?

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