torsdag den 6. marts 2014

Prepping the garden - no more Aquaponics but good ol' spring is coming!

Hello all,
While the fishtanks are looking fine and provides great pleasure, it is time to get busy prepping for the short season we Danes call summer :-).

 Instead of the Aquaponic system, this year I've kept it simple and will use this nice tray I found (think it is from Ikea?) as a startersystem for this years harvest of tomatoes and basil.

It gets some heat from the aquarium underneath it and this also provides some moisture for the seedlings.

Once it gets a bit warmer outside these seedlings will be planted in the beds I built last year and have added something to tie the tomatoes to (last year was chaos as I hadn't anticipated the need for this...)

All the best,

tirsdag den 4. marts 2014

Post Aquaponic Blues - 6 lessons from a year of indoor aquaponics

Hello all,
So as detailed on this blog, I've been experimenting with indoor aquaponics during the last year or so - if you missed a post or two, just click here!

To be succint - it was not the success I had hoped for and I've thus decided not to continue this year.
But I thought it might be prudent to share why I have reached this decision and what I learnt from my mistakes.

The setup was in a windowsill above a small aquarium (54 liters) and was made throguh recycled materials. The entire setup cost about 15$ - and was fun to build with the kids:

In the other windowsill was a "normal" kitchengarden, no aquaponic system but it did receive a bit more sunlight and this is what made me give up aquaponics. The normal garden gave as much produce as the aquaponic system.

So this experience taught me the following:

1) Aquaponics works - it was amazing to see things growing in clay - no soil what so ever.

2) As a filter the system worked and the aquarium was as clean (almost) as if there had been a filter.

3) It is all about the sun - without adequate sunlight it means little to the plants if they have a ton of food to grow from. So either you need a great spot or a dedicated lamp, and this costs too much (in my opinion).

4) If it can leak, it will. I've had so many waterspills in the end it gave me bad dreams :-(. For anyone contemplating a similar setup - please remember that it will drip, spill or leak if at all possible. Use good materials and let the silicone dry for a looooong time - that way you may avoid the worst.

5) It is a very damp environment and new plants do not like it - I had a lot of diseased plants and while things grew well once established, the first few weeks were crucial.

6) The aquarium needs to be optimized for the system to work: little or no plants, overstocked amount of fish (preferable large) and this was not something I was willing to do to my fish - but should I do this again, I would choose some of the smaller Tanganikian chichlids, perhaps some Lamprologus ocellatus, who would thrive without plants.

So, it was fun to prove the concept to myself and friends, but in the end it was not 'worth' it and I've gone the more traditional route this year.

Good luck to anyone who tries this (and please do, it was a fun experience) and I hope the gods of aquaponics treats you well!

All the best,

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