I want to introduce to you John Weaver, working with Aquaponics in Canada! John lives with his wife and two sons in Ontario, and is currently serving in the military.
When did you first become interested in Aquaponics?
I first discovered aquaponics in 2009 through a chance encounter with one of Murray Hallam’s videos. I was instantly hooked and tracked down pretty much all the stuff he had put out. Later through forums etc I found a diverse and vibrant community all over the world.
What type of system do you have? Can you describe it?
I have a home made system based initially on Murray Hallam’s CHOP II setup. I started small and scaled it up over the last year or so. I have made some modifications based on additional learning from people on forums etc. I have used the cheapest but strongest components I could locate so it is very much homemade. It currently comprises four media beds and a floating raft bed. I am still using goldfish right now but eventually I would like to grow fish for eating. Its very much a learning phase for me. Being a military family we are going to be posted around so all decisions are made with the knowledge that it will have to be broken down and moved. Hence piping is sealed with Teflon tape rather than glue. So far its worked fine with no leaks.
How long have you had your system?
I have had the system for just over a year in various configurations as I have to bring it indoors during winter and out again in the spring.
What was your biggest disaster?
I pumped the sump dry the one day because I had made the drain from the fish tank so small. The tank overflowed and drained the sump down to the pump.
What was your most exciting moment?
Probably going away for the winter and leaving the whole system in my garage in my neighbors care. When I got back not only was everything functioning and cycling correctly it was stable, no fish losses and the tiny kale plants I left were now these giant trees. Not bad considering it was -25 outside.
What is one tip you’d want to share with beginners?
Patience. Things take time. It takes time to cycle the system. It takes time to build up nutrient levels in the system. Start out with things like lettuce and basil. Gain confidence before planting things that demand greater nutrients like tomatoes or cucumbers.
What do you see as your future in Aquaponics?
I am planning a green house setup as part of our home build in about four years time. This will hopefully allow me to grow the fish component of the system also.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Don’t get suckered in by the salesmen. You can do this yourself using cheap recycled materials and do it well. There is no need to drop thousands on custom made, over priced equipment from internet sites.
If you are interested in seeing John’s system and his updates, you can check out his blog at www.foodfamilyandfuture.com.
*All photos are courtesy of John Weaver and his website.*