Indoor Aquaponics System: My new obsession

Katryna Jolene

Katryna Jolene

Katryna Jolene is a mother of 4 beautiful, intelligent and playful children and she holds down 3 separate paying jobs. She is living proof that having a family to support doesn't have to come at the cost of healthy living and eating!
Katryna Jolene

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I’ve really been slacking with my domestic responsibilities the last couple weeks.

I haven’t really cooked, or gone grocery shopping and chores are all backing up.

Why am I telling the world this? Because I have discovered aquaponics!

What are Indoor Aquaponics Systems?

Aquaponics is growing fish and produce together pretty much wherever you want all year round.

It seems magical, but it’s all kinds of science.

And it’s so easy to learn and do! If I can figure it out so can anyone over the age of 10 … probably.

What you need to start your own Indoor Aquaponics System:

  • A fish tank
  • A grow bed
  • A pump
  • Some plumbing

What to do to operate your own Aquaponics System:

  • You feed the fish.
  • The fish make waste in the water which is yummy fertilizer for the plants.
  • The pump moves the water from the fish tank to the grow bed.
  • The water waters the plants and
  • The media in the grow bed collects the solid waste and distributes it to the plants.
  • The plants and the grow media filter and clean the water and send it back to the fish tank.

After the system is all set up, all you do is feed the fish, watch everything grow, and harvest. So EASY!

What are the pros and cons?

Pros of Indoor Aquaponics:

  • indoor-aquaponics-system_60-gallon-tank_collage
    The top image is of a 60 gallon tank in am going to turn into an aquaponics system. It’s home to 15 koi/goldfish hybrids that all have the name Bugsy. The pleco is called Seek. Cause he’s always playing hide and seek…he’s really good at hiding. The bottom two images are of a 60 gallon tank in Jace’s room that I am going to turn into an aquaponics system. It has catfish, tetras, guppies and a pleco in it.

    Aquaponics HAS to be organic. If you add any chemicals or antibiotics to the fish, it harms the plants. If you add any chemicals like fertilizer or pesticides to the plants, it harms the fish.

  • Aquaponics uses 1/10th of the water gardening in the ground uses. That means you’ll be saving 90% of the water that you would use in a dirt garden the same size.
  • Produce grows at twice the speed in a fraction of the space.
  • Aquaponics is year round. You probably aren’t going to get rid of your fish in the fall and start all over in the spring.
  • You can grow fish to eat or use ornamental fish.
  • Tilapia is a very popular eating fish and grows very well in an aquaponic system. I don’t eat fish, so I’m using ornamental fish. I’ve got a couple tiny systems using pretty beta fish. And I’m working on a system that has a 60 gallon tank with different tropical fish.
  • Pretty much anything will grow in an aquaponic system. Aside from huge trees and bushes. Any veggies you can think of will likely grow far beyond expectations.
  • Aquaponics works best indoors. In a green house or basement or in my case in the kitchen, living room and mud room. Being indoors, your plants and fish are protected from undesirable elements like wind, snow, extreme heat. And you’re protected from those elements too. No sunburn or mosquitos.
  • Being an indoor controlled system,  there are no bugs, bunnies, deer or cats that can ruin crops.
  • Aquaponics does not use soil. It uses media that can be almost anything that doesn’t change the ph and doesn’t degrade over time. Gravel, expanded clay, lava rock, there are lots of options. That means no watering, no weeds, no digging, no tilling, no weird mushrooms, no back breaking labor at all.
  • Aquaponics is a fantastic learning tool for everyone. Teaches the circle of life with the life cycle of the fish and the plants. Teaches chemistry, physics, biology and so much more.
  • You’ll have Fresh, beautiful, organic produce all year round.
  • You’ll have Fish to watch, they’re almost hypnotizing and so calming when you watch them swimming and playing.

I’m sure there are more pros, but those are the basics.

Cons of Indoor Aquaponics:

Umm mm….. hmmm….

The only con I can really think of is:

  • if you don’t have your system by a South facing window you will have to get grow lights.

To me that’s not really much of a con, all I did was replace my normal lights with grow bulbs. Which actually turned into a pro because I live in a dungeon.

  • It can be a bit pricey to start up…but so does gardening in the dirt.

I am having so much fun learning about and experimenting with aquaponics, I feel I may have become a bit obsessed. There are a few online courses and articles I’ve found that have been really helpful but I had to do some searching. I plan on having multiple greenhouses one day with tours and classes. And I can’t wait!

All I have to do is find some land and some investors.

Please keep in mind, when looking at my pictures, that I have just begun my aquaponic journey and I have definitely not perfected my tiny systems, and my home is a mess, because I have become focused on learning…not just focused, obsessed. I have not tidied anything because I’ve been glued to my computer.

I hope this has made you think about starting your own environmentally savvy, organic aquaponic garden. I really feel like the world would be a better place if we all did a little to cut down on fishing and water consumption.

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Post Author: Katryna Jolene

Katryna Jolene
Katryna Jolene is a mother of 4 beautiful, intelligent and playful children and she holds down 3 separate paying jobs. She is living proof that having a family to support doesn't have to come at the cost of healthy living and eating!

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