OK folks, once again we have an article written and contributed by a member of our forum who shall remain anonymous and it states how he personally has fears of not being able to construct an Aquaponics system and keep it running properly.  The issue here is “FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN” and I feel it is the worst kind of fear.  It can paralyze an individual into non-action and the longer it last the stronger it becomes.  My opinion is that it can only be defeated by “ACTION”.

So with that in mind, if you decide to write a comment, be sure it is constructive and helpful not only to the contributor of this article but also to the readers of the Aquaponics Magazine Forum around the world.  JCO

A graphics of an Aquaponics setup

Having grown up in Northeastern Wisconsin, Friday yellow perch fish fries have a special place in my heart.  I miss them.  I can’t ever find perch for sale where I live now, and I’ve never been much of a fisherman.  Since I have discovered the technology of Aquaponics I realize it holds the prospect of raising our own as well as producing vegetables for my families table, but so far, we’ve balked.  I’m envisioning a system with a reservoir and pumps in our basement, with hydroponic troughs strung over our back porch roof.  I’m just concerned that we might not be up to the task.

It’s not like we’re averse to the demands of raising animals.  In fact, in addition to the small garden plots in our tiny urban yard, we have laying hens, a few ducks, two small pens for quails and partridges, a honeybee hive, and a rabbit hutch – all housed and managed in a way that promotes their health, and prevents problems that would bother our neighbors such as noise and odors, etc.  We sometimes jokingly refer to our home as our “micro-farm”.  An Aquaponics system, though, is daunting for several reasons.

1.  Will I be able to keep it all alive?  The closest thing I’ve had to an aquaculture system was when I had an aquarium when I was a teenager.  I wasn’t very good at keeping my fish healthy then, so I’m concerned that even if I manage not to kill them all outright, they won’t be healthy enough to grow and reproduce?.

2.  Our growing season is so short!  Living in a northern city, our growing season is less than 190 days.  For about half the year, it’s not Practical/possible to grow plants outdoors.  I could devote part of our 800 square foot garage to artificial lighting during the winter, but that seems like it would be really expensive for electricity, lighting, and an indoor set of troughs for plants.  I don’t even know if it would be possible to use the outside parts in summer, and inside parts only in winter.

3.  Who will take care of the system while we’re away?  Keeping fish and growing Hydroponic plans seem like it would involve entirely different skill sets than what is needed for keeping birds and mammals.  We love to learn, so we’re not afraid of that, but the “learning curve” for our house sitters is steep enough, and adding yet another skill set might be more than a reasonable person might be able to handle without a lot of practice.

4.  Does this stuff really work on a small scale?  Unlike chicken coops and rabbit hutches, Aquaponics seems like it’s a relatively new phenomenon, with few people who actually know how to do it.  This sounds like I’d be in really uncharted territory – not that that’s an entirely bad thing!

I love thinking about the day where I walk down to my basement some cold February Friday evening to net a couple of perch for the deep fryer and pick some greens and tomatoes for a salad.  Someday, maybe…

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