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There are some crazy ideas presented on Kickstarter but there are some brilliant and fun ones too. There’s no soil involved, the plants are grown using a sustainable food production system known as aquaponics, and the starter pack comes with organic seeds. About AndreaAndrea Anastasakis is the founder and editor of green lifestyle blog Greenify Magazine. I'm not perfect when it comes to green living but I do what I can to greenify my life where possible. Travis has traveled to various locations here in the US as well as Africa, Philippines, Lebanon, Guatemala, China and recently Iraq, building aquaponics systems for various humanitarian organizations.
Even though Aquaponics has been around since the early 1400’s, many of us are unfamiliar with this gardening method. I had the pleasure of meeting the Hughey’s through a connection at a local restaurant they deliver fresh organic produce to. Travis: The common answer to this question is “Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics”. Travis: Aquaculture is simply the controlled culture of aquatic animals such as fish, clams, shrimp, etc.
TCH: How is this gardening system better (or different) from traditional in the ground gardening?
Travis: Actually, Aquaponics systems typically use only 10-20% of the water that a typical soil based system does.
TCH: I know people are going to want to learn more, do you have a website you would like to share?
TCH: Because we are so limited in space, we are always looking for alternative methods to grow food. The counter argument is 6th century Chinese farmers who reared ducks in cages with partially open floors positioned above a pond of finfish were the founders of aquaculture. The farmers also reared catfish in another pond into which water from the finfish pond would be drained. DisclaimerDisclaimer: All material on this website (The Coastal Homestead) is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute medical, legal, financial, or other professional advice on any subject matter.
Affiliate DisclosureAffiliate Disclosure: some of the links on this website are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using the link, the price you pay is not affected.
This system is scalable and will produce a large amount of food in a very small space when compared with traditional row cropping. About Off Grid WorldAll about living off the grid, sustainable living, homesteading, prepping, survival, solar power, wind power, renewable energy, permaculture, hydroponics, recycling, DIY projects, and natural building.



I missed out on contributing to this eco fish tank idea when it launched on Kickstarter but now that it’s a success and the product has been developed I can see why it did so well.
The Aqua Farm is small so only really suitable for growing herbs but it’d make a fun addition to the kitchen or for your kids to get their first taste of growing their own produce.
The recent build in Iraq was for Yazidis living in a refugee camp outside of Mosul after running from ISIS. With drought and water restrictions, confined growing areas, chemical abuse and genetically modified produce, aquaponics is a gardening method worth looking into. I am in awe with what the Hughey’s are doing and completely inspired by their inventions, not to mention their humanitarian efforts, and would like to share a recent interview with Travis Hughey about Aquaponics.
I honestly think a better description is, Aquaponics is a form of recirculating aquaculture where a modified biofilter serves as a place to grow vegetables from the excess nitrates produced by beneficial bacteria that convert the waste from the fish to plant food. Some people raise food fish such as tilapia, bream, catfish and ornamental species such as goldfish, koi, etc.
I’ve always said, if you have good soil and reliable rains then you have no need for Aquaponics. In cooler climates you will have to choose different fish and vegetables than here in the south but as with any place, some things are more easily grown than others. Unlike hydroponics, which uses commercially produced chemical salt solutions; Aquaponics uses chemicals derived from bio-conversion of feeds via metabolism. The water in an aquaponics system is re-used up to 300 times before transpiring through the leaves of the foliage. The first camp argues for the Aztecs who grew crops on artificial agricultural islands in harmony with fish who were reared alongside these islands where the architects of aquaponics. In their aquaculture system they grew a wide variety of crops such as maize, squash and other plants in tandem with rearing fish for food too.
The opposing camps in the history of aquaponics camp favor the ancient Chinese of the 6thcentury. In this arrangement the finfish were fed with duck droppings whilst the catfish were fed with the waste from the finfish. This seems like perfect harmony to me and it’s why the Chinese get my vote as founders of aquaponics. By using affiliate links, you are helping support The Coastal Homestead and the Free Programs that Low Country Healthy Living offer.
Copyright on ALL content, including text, recipes and photography, is All Rights Reserved and may not be used, reposted or re-distributed without express written permission from the author. It’s a scaled down version of the system Will Allen over at Growing Power Inc uses to grow 1 Million pounds of food on his 3 acre farm in Milwaukee, WI.


Building one for yourself is relatively simple, and will allow you to grow your own food at home for a fraction of the cost of buying it from your grocery store. Growing Power uses the heat from compost piles to heat their greenhouses and they grow all year in Milwaukee, WI.
Then the plants do their thing and clean the water so the fish can live a happy clean life. Travis was sent in to design a system made from local materials (one of his specialties) for a team to replicate for the next 6 months to help feed the refugees.
Basically you feed the fish, the fish feed the bacteria, the bacteria feed the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish. With tilapia it does happen occasionally but if one wants to breed tilapia a better choice is stand-alone breeding tanks.
If, however, either one of these is in short supply, Aquaponics can have you growing food in places where it would be problematic.
A model twice the size (for those needing more capacity) and one ? size (for apartment dwellers) is in the development stage. A greenhouse can expand your capabilities greatly by increasing the growing system in any zone.
The whole system uses just a single pump and uses very little energy to pump nutrient rich water up to the gravel bed on top for filtration. Travis has been doing aquaponics for over 10 years and is the inventor of Barrel-ponics® (a DIY aquaponics system) and the designer of “My Aqua Farm” designed for the retail market. It’s different in that it uses no soil, no industrially derived chemical fertilizers and no pesticides can be used.
Organic feeds are available and a somewhat higher in cost than commercial feeds but can be bought in smaller quantities for the home owner. The upper bed is slightly angled so the water can slowly drain down to the second bed below. I have tanks (18 IBC totes) indoors that I keep the fingerlings warm enough to survive the winter and ready for sale in spring. It’s designed to look good at your home and last decades producing fish and fruits and vegetables for your family.



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