I thought I would share the fun I had while building my aquaponics project in my back yard.
There are photos (getting better at doing that ) the idea is to have fish growing in a large container and the water from the fish is to be filtered through a garden bed with a substrate in which the vegetables will grow.
The fish waste will fertilise the vegetables and the vegetables and substrate will filter the water.
Backyard Aquaponic Gardening is growing in popularity with many people combining growing vegetables with fish.
There are a quite a few things to overcome such as how to re-arrange the planter box to accommodation the tanks and also how to avoid things like ammonia increase in the tank as the fish grow in size producing more waste than the grow beds can filter out.
Ammonia is very bad for the fish.
I am expecting to be able to harvest enough vegetables, fish, yabbies and maybe some mussels to feed the whole family.
With Backyard Aquaponic Gardening I should save us approx $60 a week which will be more than $3000 a year
as much as I like fish we still will be buying red meat.
At this time I intend to have 6 tanks and 6 grow beds, it is anticipated that, that would create enough food for us all and have enough left over for Sunday BBQ with extended family members.
What is Aquaponics
Aquaponics is a symbiotic relationship between Aquaculture & Hydroponics.
This means that fish and plants are grown in an integrated system, the system uses the water from the fish tank and circulates it through a grow bed where the plants are grown.
The plants use these nutrients from the fish waste as their main nutrient supply. The fish also benefit as the water is filtered by the plants, cleaning the water for the fish.
Starting the Aquaponics System
The planter box needs to be altered to accommodate the fish tanks as I dont want the tanks to come too far out into the yard.
Aquaponics System work begins
The start is harder than it will be for the rest of the project because I have to adjust the existing infrastructure to fit the ICB (from now on i’ll call it the fish tank)into place
I had several restrictions.
I didn’t want to make the whole thing any taller and I also didn’t want to come further out into the yard.
I needed to dig down far enough to fit the fish tank and to also make sure I could put re-enforced concrete under it as the channel that the fish tank will be placed in, is also going to be a drain for the whole yard.
Taking out the existing pole was a much bigger task than I anticipated. I did manage to get it out , it weighs a lot more than I thought it would.
First Aquaponics Fish Tank
The first tank is in place not ready for use yet by any means, as I have to complete the area for the second tank and also to prepare for the concrete base
Learn how to do Aquaponics Yourself
Aquaponics works! It is a very simple process to get going and is proven to be a viable alternative to other gardening methods using a lot less space, grow both vegetables and fish in a sustainable way in the smallest of gardens or balconies.
Listed below are is some extra reading that can get you started on your own home food production
- Home Food Production for Everyone
- DIY guide for growing your own food.
- IT WORKS – Aquaponics has been PROVEN to grow more food faster.
- Aquaponics is organically grown without the use of pesticides.
The rains came and the work stopped. Not that I was working at it all that hard. LOL
Budget constraints and such and then just as I was moving ahead the rain came
Just to show the amount of work that has been halted, hopefully a lot of progress will happen once the rain stops
After the rain stopped I was able to get some progress happening.
I have done most of the work here with the help of me, myself, and I, on a couple occasions a mate came over to tell me how wrong it all was going and hold a pole to ensure it was straight. Other than that the mess is all mine
First bit of concrete is laid
Such a mess thankfully my partner is a very patient lady and I can get away with this mess.
Since we live on a very small block 380 sq metres for house and yard. Things do get very cramped and messy not to mention the amount of dust I create
I have been told that somehow I have created a bigger mess than when I started
Some degree of progress showing now. It actually looks like I am getting somewhere and getting it finished is a real possibility
last 2 bays to get done
It now starting to look more like it should, nearly finished the last bays
Just managed to finish the major bit of the last 2 bays, only the retaining wall and some concreting around the edges and the step to do now.
Next day the rain started again and hasn’t let up for 2 days now, hopefully the concrete was hard enough not to wash away.
Some Progress in my Backyard Aquaponic Gardening
Just so you know it is a lot easier to get an Aquaponics project of your own up and running than the one I’m doing.
You only need about 1.5 square metres and you can create one for about $400 or even less if you can source your tank from somewhere that you can either get it cheap or even free.
It is possible to just make a sleeper box and line it with pond plastic, same with the grow box.
Then all you need is a pond pump with luck you could possibly setup for under $200
Not bad for something that can produce a lot of virtually free food.
Well back to what I am building.
I have almost finished the tank structures (rained for a week and then I managed 2 days and it rained again.
I shall have one tank and grow bed filled with water and ready to start setting up the plumbing this week (thank you rain LOL)
I still have a lot of concreting to go as I am renovating the entire back yard at the same time.
As soon as I have finished the tanks and plumbing I will be building a bar by the kitchen window, I will need somewhere to sit relax and enjoy all that BBQ’d fish
Aquaponics System main structure nearly done
2 tanks in
I have the first 2 working tanks in place water is flowing all that is needed now is the grow media
The growbeds have now been filled, just $25 from local landscape supplier for 200 kg of “Autumn Gold” pebbles up to 20 mm in size.
For now there are only Beens and Pak choi, it is still in testing phase.
The plan is to add some corn along the back of the planter in the next couple of days.
2 Weeks later and the beens are coming along nicely Backyard Aquaponics after after 2 weeks
Corn has been added, it is 2 weeks since I planted the corn Gardening Corn
and they are sprouting nicely I have also added cabbage and cauliflower Backyard Aquaponics Cauliflower
To get the system to “cycle” I have added 40 feeder fish, they will get the process of wastes to nitrates for the plants started, it doesn’t matter if they die but they look like they are doing well Aquaponics fish tank.
Soon I will get the fish I want to keep and those feeder fish will be their first meal.
Its been 2 more weeks now and I have added 40 more feeder fish, The growth will be much faster once i have the fish that I will be growing for food as there will be more fish waste for the plants to process as this is a new setup with no nitrates already established it takes a little longer for the plants to grow as fast as they otherwise would.
That’s Pak Choi in the middle beans on the left (flowering already) with corn at the back and capsicum on the right, Tomatoes have been planted seeded across the front to grown down the front of the box but they haven’t sprouted yet, The seeds were out of date so they may not sprout, you can see the Young cabbage next to the pak choi in front.