Scotland's First Aquaponics Greenhouse
Aquaponics is a combination of Aquaculture (rearing fish in tanks) and Hydroponics (growing vegetables in water, not soil). It is a sustainable way of producing food because the fish and plants work in harmony - the fish produce waste which provides the nutrients for the plants and the plants soak up the nutrients leaving clean, fresh water for the fish. Once the system is up and running, no extra water is added (apart from small amounts to counteract evaporation) - the same water circulates around and around. At the moment we are feeding our fish prepared food - but it is our intention to feed the fish on worms from our compost production. Our system rears Tilapia - they are a tropical fish that are very well suited to being reared in this way. On top of that they grow very quickly! The other bonus is that we can produce tropical fish here in Moffat - reducing some serious food miles! Because the fish are tropical they do need to have warm water - around 28 degrees celcius. To maintain our sustainability, we use renewable energy to provide the warmth - from the solar thermal panels and ground source heating from under the garden.
Our Aquaponics system is now up and running. We are slowly building up the fish numbers - it has to be done slowly so that we don't overload the system too quickly. Aquaponics is a balance between the fish and the plants and its important to get that balance right - we're well on our way!
You can learn a more about Aquaponics from Aquaponics UK
Here are some pictures showing our progress...
Creating the polycarbonate roof
Shuttering the existing stone wall to enable us to fix the roof to it
Concrete going down (Builder Bernard Provost's team)
All hands to the deck
Grow beds all ready and waiting for plants
Fish tanks waiting for fish
Basil plants just about ready to be transplanted to the growbeds
The 'plug' ready to go into the grow bed
The planting raft - when the plants grow the roots dangle down into the nutrient rich water
The basil plants in the grow beds - they like their new home!