Last week I gave an intro to why Aquaponics should be how we all get our own food, if we can. This week, I bring to you the book that has the highest concentration of information you’d need to get started. Written by Sylvia Bernstein, here is the book many call the “Aquaponics Bible” – Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together.
Before I found this book, I found forums and websites that led me to believe that I was going to become a serial fish killer when setting my garden up – it would just be too hard to get the correct balance between the fish and plants that nature intended without nature having a say. This book collected the “rules of thumb” gathered by many aquaponic gardeners to help newbies get their setup going. So cheer up fish, you’re going to live the high life in that tank I keep you in until I decide it is time to eat you. I’m no serial fish killer, see? What, not helping my case?
The design I have decided to do for my garden is actually something I haven’t seen before. I wanted to have the fish tank somewhat low to the ground so it wouldn’t be difficult to net one or two, but the problem with that is now the water must be pumped to the growing beds, and pumps tend to work a bit peculiarly as the water height changes – the deeper in the water, the more water will be pumped. This is due to the water pressure at deep levels. However, as the water is being pumped out, the water level drops, making less pressure and less water flow. I don’t like that, so I decided I might try something different.
I would like to pump water from the fish tank to a separate tank that is elevated above the grow beds. The positioning allows the water to flow to the grow beds by gravity, which is energy efficient. The water from this separate tank will be controlled by a valve on a timer. The interesting part is how I’ve decided to start and stop the pump from the fish tank to the separate tank. I was inspired by a toilet. At first, I thought it was a crappy idea too. Terrible puns aside, the punchline is that the pump will start when the water level drops below a certain level, and stop when it gets back to that level. Energy efficient and won’t cause an overflow. Already better than a toilet, especially on Taco Tuesday.