For my first-time blogging, I will be tracking my experience of building a small scale aquaponic system in my daycare.
I feel like it should be known that my only experience with keeping fish has been the 9 fish we’ve had at Buddings over the last year. Although 4 are dead, it was not in vain. I have learned a great deal about the importance of consistency in the environment. Ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and pH levels are all very important. And really, I’ve never actually been great with plants. However, I feel confident that, with the power of the internet, and my background in building and designing, I should be capable of success.
I managed to acquire a 20 gallon fish tank, a 4′ grow light, and have a fantastic, heavy duty table to set up on. As the main components have been collected, I now have to figure out how to apply the plumbing to complete the nutrient transfer from the fish tank to the plants, and then returning the naturally filtered water to the fish.
In my recent hunt for information on how to do such a thing, I came across a new company, Back to Roots, that is selling a home sized model based on the same system. Their website explains the whole process extremely well. It is very reasonably priced and the young guys that came up with the system seem very sincere. Check it out.
(A huge Thank-you to Jeff Radke and Jodi Peters for being amazing. They have built a system in their own home that produces Tilapia fish to eat, as well as edible plants that also purify the air. Pretty rad. They each came down to Buddings to give me some advice and tips on how a system could be built with what I have.)
I have learned that a 20 gallon tank is too small for a self-sustaining eco-system. In a larger scale, this technology could actually sustain itself, but my tank won’t do it. I will have to feed the fish, manage the plant-life, and clean and maintain the full system.
I can’t forget about possible blockage. I must build an overflow drainage or this could be messy.