04 September 2015

Aquaponics

I just knew I had to bring Jack to visit...
When a neighbor mentioned a koi pond just down the road from us, I knew I had to take the girls for a visit. They, like me, love all things animal and if they get to interact with them, especially when it comes to feedings, they are all the more thrilled. We have already taken several trips as a family to feed the friendly koi and Jack, not an animal lover by nature, even enjoyed himself. But, what caught his attention the most was not the koi (even when they practically crawled on land to eat food out of our hands) but the aquaponics display and supplies at the small business.
Getting his tank ready.
Having an aquaponics tank  has been on his mind for a long time. It's sort of a new-aged method of gardening, allowing for a source of protein, fruit and veggies to be grown in a self-sustained tank. The bottom is filled with water and fish and the top is filled with lava rocks and plants. The nutrients given off by the fish are systematically pumped and drained through the lava rocks, feeding the plants and cleaning the water for the fish.
Good thing we have a large storage room to keep the tank in!
It took a few weeks to set up the system correctly. The ammonia, pH, nitrates and nitrites have to be in balance before fish can safely be introduced. And, of course, finding the right kind of fish to keep in the tank was a bit of a challenge. We weren't going to stock the tank with goldfish, though the girls would have loved that, so we found someone who sells baby tilapia. In six to nine months, those little guppies will be dinner.
So tiny!
I was a bit skeptical of aquaponics when Jack suggested it, partly because I'm not the plant person in our house but so far, so good. It'll be a few months before we're able to start harvesting the fruits of our labors but already, we're seeing the start. Come winter and we're getting fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and fish, I may be convinced.
Sprouting cilantro!

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