Feed Your Fish and a Garden You Will Grow
What if growing your garden was as easy as feeding your fish? No kidding! Welcome to the world of Aquaponics. If your fish tank (aquaculture) married hydroponics you would get aquaponics; a closed loop system where feeding the fish leads to by-products which then fertilize your garden to create a sustainable food source.
Perhaps most notable about such a system is that this garden is grown without the aid of pesticides or chemicals or altered anything! The system does not take up a lot of space. The main thing you need to be aware of is to not overfeed the fish (cloudy water is a sign you are overfeeding), other than that the system runs beautifully!
William Hughes, co-founder of Aqua Botanical, sets up aquaponic systems in people’s homes. As a health coach, William was always educating his clients about the importance of the food they put in their body. Eat your fruits and vegetables began to make no sense as he learned how severe of a problem our country had on its hands. Our grocery stores are lined with produce that has been genetically altered, chemically treated and gassed with ethylene (so they can pull the vegetables before they are at prime ripeness for shipping). Many times we are buying week old produce filled with toxins.
With very little maintenance or input of time, you and your family could enjoy a full-on exotic salad every few days. A salad made of varieties of lettuce and veggies; Red Leaf, Romaine, Velvet Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Basil, Kale, Spinach, Bok Choy, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, Zucchini and more. Plus, you can garden all year round, with no downtime or weather dependence.
There are two types of systems; a Grow Float System, which will produce lettuces and any herbs you can think of, and a Ebb and Flow System for heartier vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and such. William’s company finds that combining these two systems allows for the most variety. Currently the systems are custom built and set up by William’s company. They are making plans to manufacture systems that can be shipped and set up by anyone on their own.
The required amount of space is about 2 feet wide and 7-8 feet long. A 55 gallon fish tank with two grow beds on either side will provide for plenty of vegetables. If you also wish to raise fish for food, you will need a larger tank; about 100 gallons. With some time you will have tilapia weighing in at 2 pounds, fresh and at the ready.
Along with the fish food, William suggests using an organic additive, which is used in hydroponics, and will provide a broad range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. These will be absorbed by the plants and in turn be absorbed by your body! Just a few tablespoons of additives every couple of weeks are all that is necessary. It’s also a good idea to give the water a good stir here and there to get the water moving around; moving water is alive water.
Education is a big part of their message. They spend time educating their customers as to how best utilize their system and how often to change things up in order to keep their garden thriving. “We want to be here to support our customers,” says William, “ we are always willing to take a call when customers are seeking additional advice or have any questions.”
“More so than anything,” says William, “we want to educate people on the truth about our current food sources, and show them how easy it is to grow their own food from their own garden. Aquaponics puts the power and control back into the hands of the people, plus it gives them comfort in knowing that they are feeding their family clean food, free from any harmful toxins.”
There is a need for sustainability, but it must be easily added into our lives,” says William. “Aquaponics is a solution that can be used by anyone; urban dwellers with little yard space, people who lack that green thumb, time challenged people looking for a simple solution and anyone who wants to know exactly where their food comes from. It is allowing us to be efficient in our own environments, it can teach us to stop endless and constant consumption of non-renewable resources and it is an agriculture method that keeps on giving.”