Q: Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I’m from near Albany, NY and previously studied electrical engineering at Union College in Schenectady, NY.
Q: How did you get interested in aquaponics?
A: I became interested in aquaponics as a result of an interest in gardening. I needed to select a design project to complete my college education and wanted to combine gardening with electrical engineering. Aquaponics soon came up in research and the pairing worked well.
Q: How are you currently working with aquaponics? Home setup, community greenhouse, etc.
A: The system is a home based setup, custom built, that is currently being used for plant growth and research.
Q: Tell us about your system. Geek out a bit and tell us all the specs.
A: The system that I’ve constructed is a 100 gallon flood and drain system. The system floods and drains every 15 minutes while the attached electronics monitor the water temperature, water level, and ambient temperature in the room. The computer then processes the incoming data and presents relevant information to users on an attached screen.
Q: What plants and fish have you had the best luck with? And the worst?
A: I’ve had great luck with lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Since we’re mainly interested in experimenting with the effect of grow lighting and electronic monitoring, there hasn’t been a great variety in plant types.
Q: What do you like most about aquaponics? Least?
A: The best part of Aquaponics is the ability to garden standing up, at waist level, while also controlling and monitoring every element in your system.
The most difficult part of aquaponics is stomaching the capital that must be invested at the beginning of the process to get a good system up and running. It’s also probably not going to work perfectly within the first month.
Q: What do you think the biggest misconception about aquaponics is?
A: The biggest misconception that I’ve encountered is the belief that consuming food produced with fish waste is harmful.
Q: What are your future aquaponics goals?
A: My future aquaponic goals are to continue improving and experimenting with the electronic monitoring and control systems. I’d like to add additional sensors, control mechanisms, and a connection to the internet so that the system could be remotely monitored and adjusted.
Q: What do your friends say when you show them your system for the first time?
A: They usually comment on the unique nature of this food production method.
Q: What is your next big gear purchase going to be? What about your next small one?
A: The next purchases will be the electronics necessary to expand the monitoring and to get this system connected to the internet.
Q: What’s the best recipe you’ve ever had/made, based around something you grew in your system?
A: Growing an entire salad is a great feeling – lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers!
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