Hook, line and sinker...

15 May 2007
I knew about aquaponics for about two years before I dived and got hooked on it. It's a wonderful addition to our productive backyard. If you haven't come across the concept before, aquaponics is like organic hydroponics - but you grow vegetables and fish in the same system. We have a 3000 litre fish tank and two grow beds planted up with tomatoes, peppers, silverbeet, kale, cabbages, parsley and celery. The waste from the fish in the water is pumped up to the grow beds where it's used as fertiliser for the plants. The plants, and the gravel they're sitting in, clean the water and it falls back as clean water into the fish tank. And so the cycle continues. Beneficial bacteria build up on the surface of the gravel and that bacteria help clean the water. A bio-film builds up in the fish tank and this also helps. It's a simple system, but like most simple things, there are layers of complexity.

Above is the system last week, below is the system when we set it up in late march.

And here are the fish that make it possible - our silver perch. They're native fish to Australia and are found in the Murray/Darling Rivers.

We want to be as self-sufficient in our food production as we can be and this system helps enormously with that. After the initial setup it's so easy to garden! There is no watering, weeding or fertilising like there is in our soil garden - it really is a lazy garden. I just wish we'd done it sooner.