Mr. Belvedere and His Closed Ecosystem

How many of you have heard of aquaponics? 

I hadn’t heard of it. I had heard of hydroponics (in other words, how all the best potheads are shutting down entire energy grids with their grow lights), but aquaponics? What on earth is that? 

Aquaponics: a system in which the waste produced by the farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. 

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If this doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will.

Now, I have many lofty goals and aspirations for my homesteading practices, however, I am regrettably limited by space at the time. Yes, I’ve managed to cram two compost bins onto a back porch the size of a postage stamp (my neighbors must be thrilled), but even I have my limits.

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This is what my mind’s eye looks like. It is nothing like reality.

But, for Christmas, my boyfriend got me the gift of a lifetime. They make these handy-dandy little countertop aquaponics systems. Like this one here. And he bought me one! I promptly bought a a Betta fish I named Mr. Belvedere (a nod to my faithful Betta fish from college who survived multiple interstate journeys stuffed in a cooler), and set my little system up and waited anxiously for the farm above to appear. 

While I will say that what was produced was a *little* smaller than the lofty goals in my mind, I did produce a staggering amount of wheatgrass very quickly. And the second the wheatgrass started to grow, the water went from kind of cloudy to crystal clear, and hasn’t changed since. 

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Here’s my little farm! And as an added bonus, my cat loves the wheatgrass almost as much as my juicing boyfriend does. It is truly a waste free system!!

I’m really interested in aquaponics on my eventual mythical “compound” on an outlying island in Washington State, but until then, I will stick with my tiny farm. 

I would love to hear people’s thoughts and reactions to aquaponics as a concept or a reality! 

 

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2 thoughts on “Mr. Belvedere and His Closed Ecosystem

  1. Love aquaponics! If you haven’t seen it yet, check out a little documentary called “Fresh.” One of the subjects in the movie, Will Allen, created a jungle of an urban garden in the middle of downtown Milwaukee — and the aorta of it all is his aquaponics system. So inspiring. Go rent it!

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