Fish Farming in Kona
Come and learn how to grow a garden without soil, where food is free of chemicals, no weeds grow; and you work at waist high level with minimum energy exertion. Your vegetables can grow faster and at higher densities compared to traditional soil gardening.
On September 19th we celebrated and thanked God for a milestone in the start up of a new aquaponics system. Watch the video!
Three generations from our all volunteer staff got in on the act as we prayed then stocked our new concrete fish tank with a trial school of tilapia. The tank is a key component of our newest aquaponic system. It will be used to test things like easy to make filters and solar or gravity powered pumps. We want to make aquaponic systems more available to people in developing world locations. Students and visitors will be able to study the construction and operation of an intermediate size aquaponics system and use it to test innovative ideas that will improve food security in a hungry world. By the way, some scholars believe it was a tilapia that Jesus sent to Peter with a coin as recorded in Matthew 17:27.As these tilapia settle into their new home, staff will monitor water chemistry while finalizing the design and construction of system filter components.
In our quest to learn more about aquaponics, build prototypes to be tested, and then train trainers on teaching them around the world, we have found it important to continue improvements on our current system. Today we will look at one such aspect of improvement we have made in the system and cover the reasons it should be included on larger aquaponics systems. Behold: the clarifier.
As many of you know, one of the great benefits in an aquaponics system is the fish effluence. This can be problematic, however, when solids from this fish waste begin to accumulate in your grow beds, causing a multitude of problems. One remedy is to muck these solids out of the grow beds, but for those that have done it…let’s just say there needs to be a better way. This is where the clarifier comes into play. The idea is simple; take the solids out of the water by implementing a passive system that removes these particles and stores them for use at a later time.
The way that we have accomplished this is to run water from the fish tank to a spillway. The spillway has a series of baffles that allow solids to slow their travel in the water and settle to the bottom where a drain moves them to an outlet pipe. This would be rather effective on its own, but the way it has been designed here is for the water that has passed the baffles to then enter a second spillway and repeat the process. Having a doubled system such as this allows the vast majority of solids to be settled out and gives a much cleaner and clearer water stream. This now “clarified” water is gravity fed into a PVC based aerator and then on to the grow beds.
This has been a huge help in the cleaning of the grow beds while bringing an interesting and new product to bear: settled solids. The pipe in the bottom of the clarifying unit has a valve that can be open or closed to release these larger particles. At the moment we are taking them and laying them out onto a table we have erected. The sun dries the moisture content out and leaves the dried fish waste that can then be bagged, placed in a garden, or used in any number of other ways.
For more information, and to see the clarifier in action, watch the following short video clip: