Our Wet and Wild Aquaponics Experience
Part 1: Why and Where
I read about this amazing concept called aquaponics where you raise fish and vegetables together. It’s a supposedly simple ecosystem where the nutrients from fish waste nurtures beds of vegetables in a balanced cycle that’s ongoing…forever. Apparently it’s very ‘catchy’ and once you begin you become so enamored with the process that you keep adding more systems until you accumulate tons of fish and vegetables which allows you to either cure the world’s starvation problem or go commercial. Perhaps that’s a bit extreme, but from what I’ve read online enthusiasts find aquaponics to be a very enjoyable hobby that not only saves water and speeds up plant growth, but provides weekly fish fries that will make you the most popular person in your neighborhood.
The world is slowly approaching a population explosion. Medical wonders to cure cancer and save premature babies born as early as sixteen weeks has thrown Mother Nature off balance. The ratio of life to death is no longer equal as we continue to strive to live longer by drinking from the fountain of youth and have test tube babies instead of adopting the millions of homeless and starving children in the world. We are a society of convenience making our own luck and grasping desperately for immortality. Unfortunately most people think no further than their own needs and don’t consider the impact it will have on the world in general. Our greed and pride will eventually be the earth’s greatest destruction by focusing on ‘me’ instead of ‘we’. This leads to the worldwide issues of starvation and drought. Food cannot grow without water and as long as our population expands beyond the capacity of food growth that our world is capable of providing we are slowly and most definitely starving ourselves to death.
I decided to be a part of the solution and not the problem. Aquaponics uses a balanced ratio of water to plant in a continuous cycle eliminating the need for soil or additional nutrients which will not only feed myself, my family and friends, but for pennies on the dollar it could put a dent in feeding the indigent and fill a hungry child’s belly. Instead of providing only for ‘me’ I am helping the ‘we’ and making a global difference. The real challenge is where to set up my system?
My husband and I have an old hot tub, a huge 8 person monstrosity that has continuous issues with the heater and jets and is no longer a viable ‘toy’. This vast water vessel has more than outworn its use but unfortunately we had the room built around it, so to replace it would require the removal of an entire wall. Perplexed with this giant atrocity that was now the monkey on our backs, it was the concept of aquaponics that gave me the brilliant idea to convert the hot tub into a fish tank. I had read that many enthusiasts have used old bathtubs as tanks and grow beds, so why not use a hot tub? This was sheer genius in my opinion as I did the dance and shared my glee with my somewhat doubtful husband.
Hence we are now in the first stages of creating our aquaponics one-of-a-kind system. Our next dilemma was providing space for the grow beds. I had purchased a thirty-three-foot greenhouse kit prior to Christmas and had yet to erect it. Once again that bright light went off in my head. Why not attach it to the wall outside of the hot tub and plumb the water to the grow beds? It would require a couple of holes in the wall, but we could maintain a controlled temperature within the fish tank housed indoors and monitor the plants in the greenhouse directly outside as well.
With great enthusiasm I intend to show a before, during and after process of this new concept for other aquaponic hopefuls to glean information. By sharing our experience this will expand on the many options available and help others to think outside the box if they also have limited resources and space. My next article will include photos of the greenhouse erection in comparison to the hot tub area and plumbing. As the process nears completion I will do additional articles and follow up with details and additional pictures.
Let’s go fishing!
More to come…
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