Q: Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: Grew up on the east coast, knocked around learning crafts and ag, put in a dozen years as a univ prof, quit/retired and moved to New Mexico to be near mtns and desert. Now trying to do rainwater ag in high desert.
Q: How did you get interested in aquaponics?
A: In a water-harvesting workshop in Tucson, we installed a tank on the property of a guy who had an outdoor AP operation. Two things appealed to me: recycling nutrients and sparing water.
Q: How are you currently working with aquaponics? Home setup, community greenhouse, etc.
A: I have a 30′ x 75′ greenhouse that I’ve rigged to harvest the rainwater that falls on it (see photos for interior tank details). We get on average 12″ of precip here (only 6″ so far this year) and I don’t wish to use tap water (which comes from the village well) for growing anything. I’m now setting up an AP system that I intend to be commercial in scale.
Q: Tell us about your system. Geek out a bit and tell us all the specs.
A: Starting params: four grow beds with Growstone Hydrastone, dimensions 12.7′ x 2.7′ x 1′ deep. Planning an ebb & flow system. Plan to start with two 275-gal IBC tanks for fish and a 200-gal sump sunk into the ground. Currently have a worm bed, plan to add black soldier fly composting, feed larvae to fish. That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far; plan to attend a workshop in CO in a few weeks to avoid mistakes and get more ideas. Key questions will concern management in deep winter and high summer without large expense for heating and cooling.
Q: What do you like most about aquaponics? Least?
A: Most: low water use and nutrient recycling: Least: one would like to think it didn’t take so much plastic, manufactured hardware, and gadgets for monitoring, to realize these advantages.
Q: What are your future aquaponics goals?
A: To build a system that is commercially at least break-even, that demonstrates sustainable food production and provides employment, and to show schools and communities the possibility of doing the same thing.