Q: Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.
A:I am from South Africa and work in the Information Technology industry.
Q: How did you get interested in aquaponics?
A:I was busy researching on how to best grow organic vegetables using what nature provided for us diet to lose weight quickly. The first video I saw on Hydroponics/Aquaponics was “The Internet of Farming (Rik Kretzinger)”. From there it just got crazy of how much information was available on the different ways to produce organic healthy food.
Q: How are you currently working with aquaponics? Home setup, community greenhouse, etc.
A:I am currently busy with a backyard home Aquaponics system
Q: Tell us about your system. Geek out a bit and tell us all the specs.
A:The fish and sump tanks are both 1000L IBC containers. The sump tank is totally buried and enclosed within a box. The fish tank is raised about 2 feet above the sump tank. I used two IBC containers to make 4 grow beds with gravel as media for the initial system. System is based on CHOP (might change to CHOP2). All grow beds drain via a siphon into a 110mm pipe which goes to the sump tank.
Q: What plants and fish have you had the best luck with? And the worst?
A:Well I just started with a few plants (used organic liquid seaweed to start) but at the moment I have no fish (will get in a month or two depending on cycling) the fish will be Tilapia, sourced from a supplier about 70km away. Currently the plants I have in is Tomato Floradade and Roma, Butter Lettuce, Lolla Rossa Lettuce, Crisp Lettuce, Cabage Hybrid F1, Swiss Chard Spinach and Baby Spinach. I planted them on the 11th October and they grew about 2.5 times their original size (without fish).
Q: What do you like most about aquaponics? Least?
A:The main reason I started with Aquaponics is that the whole system is based on a natural producing system. Nothing made in a lab is introduced in the system, everything is organic, healthy and made by mother nature….the way it should be. The only thing so far that I don’t like about my system is that I can’t get the siphons to kick in/stop when they should and sourcing some of the things I saw being used elsewhere.
Q: What do you think the biggest misconception about aquaponics is?
A:That it is hard work. It is not hard work, it is the same as any other work, just more healthy, relaxing and educational.
Q: What are your future aquaponics goals?
A:Future expansion will be solely hybrid horizontal NFT system (water from fish tank will be used) using 110mm PVC pipe and also a bit of shading….no more grow beds.
Q: What do your friends say when you show them your system for the first time?
A:My friends and colleagues are amazed and impressed on the current system I built and of course everyone is hinting at getting fresh organic veggies. I even had a few people interested in maybe starting up their own systems.
Q: What is your next big gear purchase going to be? What about your next small one?
A:Well I will only be spending on the shade cloth roof setup, backup system in case of power failure and making the one side of the one wall a bit taller (no peeking). After this, everything will be for the hybrid NFT system.
Q: What’s the best recipe you’ve ever had/made, based around something you grew in your system?
A:My mom makes a killer veggie based casserole, only the meat is bought. The rest of the ingredients are source from either my system or the normal soil based garden.