Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Aquaponics setup

Laura didn't give up twisting hay or grinding oats in her coffee grinder to keep her family warm and alive during the long winter....and I won't give up before my aquaponics system is feeding Perry and I this winter! Fresh kale in February; sounds wonderful.

We got the giant tank on craigslist for the fish, and a couple smaller tanks (for free!) for the grow beds. Next step, plumbing. Everything I know about plumbing, I learned from my dad. And mostly what I learned is that things are always more complicated and will take longer than you had anticipated.  But when did this prairie girl let something like lack of knowledge keep her from doing something awesome? (See, for example, the 2005 move to Japan with a vocabulary of 4 words.)

So, off to Home Depot!
I love that place. Not nearly as much as I love my little neighborhood hardware store, but I get to pose on ladders at Home Depot, so that is worth a few points. This was the first of many trips to get the tiny but vital piece we hadn't realized we would need. We're buds with the lady who works the return counter from 7-9pm.
 The tank on the left is for fish; the right side is for plants. The basic idea is that the fish poop in their tank, then that water is pumped up into the plant grow bed, where it fertilizes that plants, which clean the water and send it back. That's the idea; we just had to make it work. And we mostly did. It took a few weeks to collect all the necessary parts, but it's up and running and now we are fancy people who have a basement water feature. It's pretty soothing to hear the pump running, like we have an edible zen garden white noise machine.
And we got to bond over plumbing. Which is half the point of the whole project. It's not like this aquaponics project is going to drastically cut our food bills or replace the grocery store. I'm looking forward to our kale bills going down drastically, but it's more of a useful hobby and science experiment.

Normal people go to the movies on dates. Maybe they eat out at a fancy restaurant. And there's nothing wrong with that, but we are people who sit on the basement floor and figure out how to plumb an aquaponics tank when we have an evening together. And I think Laura would approve.

No comments:

Post a Comment