Mother Earth News Fair

Our FAIRS bring living wisely to life with hands-on workshops in organic gardening, country skills, renewable energy and more.

Add to My MSN

Office Trials - Aquaponic System

12/16/2013 4:45:00 PM

Tags: back to the roots, aquaponics, experiments

Set-up (Day 1)

We received our 3-gallon aquaponic system, graciously donated to us by backtotheroots.com. We were super excited, but we had no clue where to start. Fortunately, the company included a trifold pamphlet explaining how to set up the system—and it was quite simple. First, we had to purchase a fish. James and I happily
drove to PetSmart and picked out a flamboyantly colored beta (the recommended type of fish). When we got back to the office it was time to prepare the tank. Back to our handy dandy set of instructions. We had to give the fish a bath…give a fish a bath? Yes. This is required to clean any scummy disease that it could possibly transfer into its new aquaponic home. 

As the fish was lounging in a tepid bath, we filled up the aquaponic tank with water and added the D-Klor (to de-chlorinate the water). Once the tank water was ready, we set the fish in while still in its container from the pet store. This step is to get the fish used to the temperature of the water without stunning it. 

After 10 to 15 minutes, we opened the container and set the fish free in its new home. He seemed happy and swam around joyously out of his tiny pet store container. We named him Morrissey, turned out the lights and headed home for the night.

Set-up (Day 2)

Morrissey is dead.  This was devastating.  We thought we had done everything right!  Scooping him out of the tank and heading back to the pet store, we traded our dead fish in for a live one and decided to try again.

“New fish”, as we called him for three days, was set free. Now it was on to installing the plant part of the system. We washed the grow stones and prepared them to be put in the individual containers on top of the tank. We turned on the pump and water began to spill out into the top compartment to feed our prospective plants. After placing the stones on the tank, it was time to plant some seed, but first we had to soak our wheatgrass seeds overnight before placing them on the grow stones.

Planting (Day 3)

Walking into the office warily, we went to see if the new fish had survived the night and… he did! Relief. The wheatgrass had also become waterlogged, but this was the point of letting them soak. Covering the grow stones evenly with the seeds, now it was time to wait for our seeds to grow!

Growth (Day 4)

Well that didn’t take long.  We came into the office to find that the wheatgrass had popped up over night!  How cool.  It had only grown a bit, but we couldn’t believe that it had grown so much in just one night.

Harvest (Day 6)

This lovely little self-cleaning, self-maintaining (besides feeding the fish) aquaponic system had produced about six inches of wheatgrass and it was time to harvest some for a salad! James did the honor of cutting some and sprinkling it on his salad. I had already eaten lunch, but I will try it soon!  

In all, it was a bit of a bumpy start after losing Morrissey, but from day 2 we’ve had great luck with our aquaponic system! Marlin, fish #2, is happy as a clam and stares at James frequently. I’m pretty sure they have staring contests in his office.  The wheatgrass is growing beautifully, and everything in this little environment seems happy. Our next venture is learning how to fill the tank every so often. The water evaporates and is fed to the plants so it slowly dissipates, but I’m sure this won’t be a problem.

We are very happy with our aquaponic system that backtotheroots.com so graciously donated to us for our office experiments. Stay tuned to the blog! We’ll be posting about our homemade (or office-made) apple cider vinegar, ginger beer and we’ll keep you updated on our hydroponic system!

Check out the FAIR website at www.MotherEarthNewsFair.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for fun how-tos and FAIR updates! 



Related Content

5 Hiking Essentials

Whether you're planning a last minute day trip or a multi-week expedition, these five hiking tips ar...

Back to the Roots Certified as a B Corporation

The Oakland, California-based urban farming company manufactures grow-your-own oyster mushroom kits ...

Aquaponic Fish Facts

Aquaponic gardening is a fascinating way to grow two food products – vegetables and fish – together ...

Aquaponics: The Basics

A general description of how aquaponics works and an easy DIY aquaponic set up.

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.