Can You Feed Your Family With Aquaponics?
We are in the process of putting in a 4 meter fish pond for an aquaponic system. Ours is a little different in that it will be heavily supplemented by a rainwater catchment system. This will be an experiment in that it is our hope that the system will be far less dependent on a need for a constant pumping system. Currently, our non-food producing water catchments are vibrant with fish and plants, without any external pumps or bubblers. We use these catchments to provide nutrient rich water for our plants in the ground. It works well. Thanks for the great link. We’ll get the DVD’s. We are also taking a class. We’ll use these grow beds for the delicate plants.
Very cool idea–
Have a spring or rainwater fed pond with fish above the level of the plants, and then drain it through the plants. No pump involved; let gravity do the work. Could work if your water source is high like that.
We are in the process of putting in a 4 meter fish pond for an aquaponic system….
You might enjoy this video about ancient Hawaiian polyculture by the owner of Friendly Aquaponics.
Thanks for all these great aquaponic links and ideas. Thank you, Jag, for the film clip. The man, Hobie, whom the speaker is most directly conversing is a long time friend of mine. The plant he is featuring, taro, is an important one of our staples.
My favorite part of focusing my efforts and concerns on food production, is that it makes me happy. Cultivating life around us, is so much more joyful and fulfilling than stressing about the rise of fascism and an impending economic collapse. … I do both, rejoice in the abundant biology around me and stress about the digression in our society. I like the happy part best, so I place the most energy there.
Our aquaculture system should be up and running within the month. Hopefully, the rainwater feed will minimize the need for the pump system that will be in place. We’ll let you know how well we succeed.
A traditional aquaponic system’s primary nutrient input is fish feed, and all crops harvested from the system will contain only those nutrients initially present in the fish feed. Is the nutrient spectrum in commercial fish feed capable of supporting an optimal human diet? I highly doubt it. If you fail to diversify the nutrient inputs into your AP system, your really just eating a diet of fish feed disguised as lettuce, tomatoes, corn, fish, etc.
So how do you expand the nutrient spectrum in your AP system? You harvest nutrients from the waste streams of your home, garden, livestock, and community. You then feed this waste into the bottom rung of your food chain to achieve a diversification of nutrients in the system and harvest. Here are some ways people are doing this:
Black Soldier Fly Larvae Cultivation: BSF larvae are terrific consumers of food wastes and they can easily digest food wastes from meat, diary, and citrus that worms cannot effectively digest. See what the BSF larvae do to this hamburger in just 5 hours:
…or to these fish in just 22 hours:
They will also efficiently digest chicken, livestock, and human manures. The larvae make an excellent high protein-high fat fish feed supplement for an aquaponic system (depending on the type of fish in cultivation). So by incorporating BSF larvae into your aquaponic ecosystem, you can utilize nutrients from numerous local waste streams to expand the nutrient density of the food going into your mouth from your AP system.
Vermiculture: Incorporating composting worms into your AP ecosystem is also an effective means of adding to the nutrient spectrum of the system. While worm populations will thrive in the media flood & drain growbeds in an AP system, they are just processing nutrients already in the system in this situation. To be truly effective, a separate worm composting bin that can process waste streams from outside the AP system is required. The nutrients captured from these exogenous waste streams can then be introduced into the AP system by adding worm tea made from the worm castings, and supplementing the fish feed with surplus worms. Worm Teas can have excellent nutrient spectrums with superb plant bioavailability.
Foliar Sprays: Plants are capable of taking in some nutrients directly from their leaf surfaces. Many aquaponists use seaweed extracts, full of trace elements and minerals, in a foliar spray to boost the health (and nutritional value) of plants in their system. These seaweed extracts may also be added to the system water in small amounts as well.
So in conclusion, don’t just eat fish feed, add waste stream nutrients to your diet for the health of your entire food chain.
Just wanted to inform you that we have linked to this excellent page in our latest issue of
We wish you well
Here are a few excellent lectures and interviews with Dr. Lennard, an AP expert
Thanks Jag; good stuff!