After I discovered Aquaponics in the internet, I started to try experimenting in my personal free time. Gradually, I am working in our backyard for a personal-scale Aquaponics system- a nice hobby by the way. The idea of growing two species that has a mutual symbiotic relationship with each other fascinates me. The wastes of the fishes go to the plants, the plants clean the water and returns it to the fishes. Below I will share the experience I had in starting, and added to that are insights I gleaned along the way.
One thing I learned about doing this that can be applied to life is to accept the reality of failures. It is a funny thing and also a sad one, seeing that you go through multiple amounts of mistakes: like fishes dying, glasses broken and much more. That’s why my first advice to those who wanted to start, is either to equip first one’s self with training, or try and embrace the roller coaster ride of ups and downs of a newbie venture.
I believe that doing things and failing at times can give us diplomas of experiences, charging them to our treasuries of knowledge, and sharing or blogging our stories to help others. By giving the extra mile of honesty and disclosure of our failures and weak points, we become vulnerable, or may be criticized, yet this gives us the essence of being human, and that’s what makes us relate to each other. As Christ Himself also went through the deepest valleys that humans can get into.
Doing Aquaponics especially if you are not yet familiar with, opens you to the vulnerable world with possibilities of failure, but nevertheless, it is not all about “zero mistakes” but learning through the process and gaining experience even lots of failures came along the way.
Steps on Setting Up a Personal-Scale Aquaponics
Aquarium- I used a 15-gallon glass aquarium with the size of 2ft x 1 ft x 1 ft. I bought it for P350 in a local pet store. The glass is not really that thick, the salesman has a term for it but I cannot remember.
Fish shock. There is also a thing called “fish shock” where they are suddenly emerged into a very unfamiliar situation, temperature and environment that many of them get “fish stress” and that’s why some die. If you are planning to raise gold fish, they like cold fresh water and there must be some good handling while you transport them, and no sudden change of temperature.
Water. Some other reasons that they may have died are overcrowding, overfeeding and chemical substances in the water like chlorine, plastic fumes etc. So it is advised not to use Nawasa or that of water companies, only those that come from natural means like well or pump.
Glass. After changing water, the glass underneath the aquarium cracked and this was caused by the massive pouring down of water. Use a siphoned hose instead and direct it to the sides of the glass, that even though the aquarium will be filled slowly, you could avoid breakage.
Cracks. When the glass cracks, it is not advisable to apply Vulcaseal Water Sealant since the fishes may die due to the chemicals. I brought the aquarium to the local pet store and they placed a glass strip on top of the breakage and pasted it with a solution called Sealant.
Placement. One reason that it broke for the second time is because it was placed in a not-so-even table. The top is somewhat hollowed and the weight may have been imbalanced. That time we used strips of cardboard and it wasn’t good. The pet store suggested that we should place polystyrene (known as styro) under the aquarium. Since then, no more breakage.
Stand. The last thing that came but also the most important one is the aquarium stand. Made of mahogany, I ordered it from a local furniture shop. The height (y-axis) is 4 ft, width (x-axis) is 2 ft and Z-axis is 1 1/2 ft. The cost was P1,800 kind of expensive though, yet this is a good investment if you are planning to have a permanent non-movable stand.
Pump. The pump costs P450, and this saves me much time from not replacing the water. For more than a week now, the water is still clear and the fishes are happy.
Plastic Tubes, Box, Faucet. I bought the plastic materials from Novo multi-goods store because stuffs are cheaper there. Also some hose holders and screws. The challenging part was to fit the plastic tube into the exhaust of the pump since the tube was smaller. We burned the edge opening to make it pliable and used super glue to stick to the exhaust. We placed a hole in the box and attached the faucet, and by using VulcaSeal sealant we are able to sucure a leak-less water flow from the box back to the aquarium.
Rocks. We got the rocks from Aklan river nearby and placed them at the plastic box. Inside the box, we placed the net filter beside the exit hole, so that after the dirty water comes through the rocks, it will pass through the net as the final filtration before it goes back to the fishes.
The box is now ready to host some plants.