After briefly mentioning Barrelponics in Tuesday’s roundup, I wanted to take another opportunity to share my love for this humble, DIY aquaponics system. With a footprint of about 20 square feet, this is definitely the kind of thing that you can have on a back porch or patio, making it fair game for lots of rental and dense urban situations.
Here’s one of the better youtube videos of a system:
Does anyone get as excited as I do about these systems?!
The only one that I’ve gotten to poke and prod at in real life belongs to my friend Walker. He’s a pretty sharp guy, and has contributed a couple of his own novel ideas to the system:
Instead of the water pumping straight from the fish tank up into the flush tank like you see in the video, he first pumps it up into the long pipes running horizontally at the top of this photo (above). The pipes have 2 inch holes cut about every 4 inches, into which are placed strawberries planted in rockwool cubes. The nutrient-rich water from the fish tank flows through these first, THEN gravity feeds into the flush tank, and THEN down into the primary growing chambers (bottom left in photo).
His second innovation is a vermicomposting bin into the ground (out of cinderblocks). He’s able to reach into the worm bin and grab a handful of worms to throw to the catfish in the tank about a foot away. How’s that for simple and ergonomic? Since the feedstock for the worms is kitchenwaste, the entire nutrient input for the barrelponics system is effectively table scraps. So that’s high quality protein (fish), fruits, and veggies from what he scrapes off of his plates and cutting boards. How’s that for alchemy?!