Aquaponics… what is it?
Aquaponics is raising fresh water fish to eat while growing edible herbs and vegetables in one system.
At the same time:
Fish growing in water that has been cleaned by going through the aquaponics cycle.
The basic idea of aquaponics is that the fish feed the plants, the plants clean the water for the fish and everything grows well with much less water and no chemical additives at all.
Aquaponics at 5EyesFarm
Starting from the beginning – we chose a section 40meters long and 20 meters wide on a terrace so we can gravity feed the water in the system.
We excavate by hand, we dig out bolders (Basult) – we break them up into useful stones – we build retaining walls.
We collect old car tyres to build our tanks and beds – This is a major recycling venture and the tyres serve as solid retaining walls when they are core filled with concrete and steel. So far in less than 1 year we have collected and used 7500 tyres for infrastructure at 5eyesfarm.
With our aquaponics system we are creating a productive farm under a roof – a roof that lets in light to grow the food – food that grows in water – floating on rafts – food fed by fish waste. At the same time, we are raising fresh organic fish and the plants clean their water and keep them healthy. This is an integrated system. Fish and plants help each other to grow better, faster and healthier.
The next stage is to line the tyres with fish safe liner, do the plumbing for the system including installing bio filtration tank, distribution tank, rain collecting tanks and pumps for aeration and for running the main flow. The system is based on 60,000 litres of water that will flow through completely every hour. This creates a great habitat for the fish and the plants.
We need to stage the project so it is on hold and we will be running 3 bays as a trial this year.
Want to know more about aquaponics –
The nitrogen cycle
Fish produce ammonia and the ammonia is converted to Nitrite and then Nitrate as it leaves the fish tank and lands into the grow bed (garden bed fed by the fish tank). Fish cannot survive in their own ammonia and typically when people are cultivating fish it means there needs to be either a large body of water or the water needs to be changed regularly. In Aquaponics systems, the ammonia becomes nitrate and feeds the plants.
The medium that the plants grow in filters the water on its way back to the fish. In many systems, there is also a sump tank where that water from the grow bed goes before returning to the fish tank. We have yabbies in our sump tank and this further cleans the water before it returns to the fish.