Stackable Aquaponics

Aquaponics is undoubtedly the greenest and most organic way to grow. No need for soil / fertilizers. You make use of fish poo and pee. It's a closed loop cycle. To take it further, stack several layers..

Aquaponics is a term coined in 1970. It has been around for ages. The Aztecs in 1,000 AD used rafts on the surface of the lake and called it “Chinampas”. The Chinese, Thais and Indonesians have something similar using flooded paddy fields in combination with fish farming.

There are lots of YouTube movies on how to set up your Aquaponics system. In our urban context, the challenge is to use the least space. We stack 5 layers and grow vertically. The other challenge is not to use grid energy. We use Solar Charged batteries. Finally, we want to use the same fish tank to harvest rain water too. It’s all possible using a tank of 650 x 450 x 350mm  high, 12V DC Power, a submersible pump, timer and 5 layers of stackable pots. And of course some fishes, the best of which are catfish as they are air breathers. The water need not be aerated.

There are many ways to handle the flow of water from the fish tank to the grow beds. We prefer using the “Bell Siphon” method. Together with a digital timer, we can control the timing and amount of water flowing to the grow beds for optimum energy usage.

We use a combination of materials for the grow medium LECA, Agricultural Charcoal and pebbles.

Bell Siphon on left, Timer on right
Bell Siphon on left, Timer on right

You can grow most common plants using Aquaponics. In fact, they grow better as they have constant access to water and nutrients. The flooding and draining also helps to the micro climate at a lower temperature than that using soil mix.

References :

  1. Aquaponics : a brief history by www.milkwood.net
  2. Hints and Tips For Planting in Aquaponics by www.suburbanfarmer.com.au