I'd Like to Be Under the Sea...

.... In an aquaponic garden in the shade. Octopus, aquaponic? While you are busy humming The Beatles song, let's get on with the cool stuff our EWL students have been up to.

Silas, Kunsang, and Grace have been trying their hands at aquaponics - a symbiotic marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water without soil). In essence, the fish waste provides nutrients for the plants which in turn filter the water for the fish. Meanwhile, naturally occurring bacteria growing in the gravel of the aquarium and in the growing medium of the plants will convert ammonia from the fish waste into nitrates for the plants while detoxifying the aquarium water for the fish. 

Guppies acquired during a field trip to Petco

The growing medium ready to go into the plant pots

The complete hydroponic system

Aquaponic systems are easily scalable, so while the EWL aquaponic garden utilizes a small aquarium tank and guppies from the pet store, you can create an aquaponic garden large enough to cultivate fish for eating, such as tilapia or catfish. You just have to supply fish food, and you get two crops - fresh fish and organic produce.

Success! Or so we thought. Then over the winter holiday, Grace and I exchanged texts.


Alas, the circle of life continues, and there is always learning in failure - two valuable lessons for all of us to experience first hand.