An aquaponics system can be much more than plastic tanks. Here we will tackle aquaponics from a new holistic approach. That is to say, we will integrate new functions to the ecosystem. “Holistic aquaponics” is born from a need to go one step further with aquaponics. I want to offer a real aquaponics experience. The aquaponics system is completely integrated into the backyard. It becomes the main point of interest.
 

What are the functions of the holistic aquaponics?

 

A swimming pool

The new aquaponics system offers a complete immersion and allows to have a bath with the fish.
A classic swimming pool is very costly to buy but also to run. The website ” canstarblue” is talking about an annual running budget between $800 and $1,200. The average electricity consumption being between 2,000 and 3,000 kilowatt hours.
Our aquaponics system also offers the option to have a bath. But for an electricity consumption of only 45 kilowatt hours which is 60 times less than the average swimming pool!
But wait our ecosystem also offers other functions:
 

A fish pond

Yes this is a massive difference with the classic plastic container aquaponics systems. The holistic aquaponics looks like an amazing fish pond. Enhancing the aesthetic of your backyard.

Advantages compared to a classic fish pond:

Clear water
A fish pond has a tendency to get green water due to algae development. In the holistic aquaponics system, the grow-beds are filtering the water. Hence, they limit the algae development. Designed properly, the water will be crystal clear.
A good fish pond requires water filtration. With the holistic aquaponics system, the grow-beds are acting as an efficient filtration.
More fish
In a classic fish pond, the quantity of fish is very limited. In an aquaponics system you will be able to stock many more fish. The plants grow-beds will allow an excellent water filtration.
 

A fish farm

Well, like any classic aquaponics system, we can grow fish. However, the quantity and quality of fish is slightly different. Indeed, most classic aquaponics systems are off-ground. Hence, the water temperature is fluctuating with the air temperature. Hence, the water is very cold in winter and very warm in summer. With the holistic aquaponics, the fish pond is in-ground. Hence, the earth around is limiting the temperature fluctuation. this allows to keep a wider range of fish species. For instance here in Melbourne Australia, it can be challenging to keep native fish. Silver perch and catfish have troubles to pass winter as the temperature can get too cold. Rainbow trouts are very difficult to keep over summer. The temperature often reach 22C and above. But, in the holistic aquaponics system, the water temperature has more inertia. We can keep all those species without problem.
 

A garden

This holistic aquaponics system is not only beautiful. it has 5 square meters of grow-bed divided in 2 parts. The quantity of plants to be grown here is significant. As in any aquaponics system, all those plants are growing without any effort. No watering required. Simply harvest and enjoy. It is important to remember that the water consumption is divided by 10 compared to a classic garden.
 

Reconnect with nature

The holistic aquaponics system allows to reconnect with nature. It is really something you must experience! Since I built this beautiful oasis, I see birds coming around every day. And all sorts of birds! I see duck, dove, magpie, common blackbird, rainbow lorikeet, common myna, wattlebirds, lark, and many more. They come around to drink and have a bath in the pond. It is very enjoyable to see them.
 

Create a unique ambiance

The pond creates a very nice atmosphere in the backyard. it’s great to see water. Also, the water from the grow-beds returns to the fish pond through waterfalls. Waterfalls are very pretty, also they create a very enjoyable sound. The bell siphons allow to have the water falls on and off along the day. Hence, they create a nice surprise when they start. Another advantage of the bell siphon is the water-flow. Indeed, since they flush the grow-beds in a relatively short period of time, they allow a nice water flow with plenty of water. Creating this type of water flow with a classic water pump in continue would consume much more power.
 

Experience nature!

The holistic aquaponics system offer a number of very fun experiences. Let’s go through a few of them here:
 

Feeding the fish

In a classic aquaponics system, feeding the fish can be seen as a core. A routine task necessary for the fish growth. With the holistic aquaponics system, the pond is so large and natural that it becomes a really fun experience to feed the fish. Seeing the fish jumping out of the water is very exciting. I worked in fish farms for years and feeding the fish was one of the funniest moments of the day. I now live this experience every day from my backyard. Actually, I built my aquaponics oasis so close to the house that I can feed the fish from the living room. And believe me, I enjoy it every single day!
 

Go fishing in your backyard

With this new type of aquaponics system we can now go fishing in our backyard! I mean, the pond looks so much like a natural pool that we can literally go fishing in our backyard. Here for instance, the pond is made out of a liner, hence we must be very careful. But technically, we can have fun fishing the menu 🙂
 

Swim with fish

This point may not be for everyone but I have a real pleasure swimming with my fish. You may know that I love free-diving. I generally practice in the ocean and occasionally in rivers and lakes. This is the first time I do it in my backyard. it’s another opportunity to observe the fish 🙂
 
 

Some challenges…

With all great things come some challenges:

Sun exposition

In classic aquaponics we cover the fish tank to avoid algae development. While algae are not a problem for the fish, they can cause oxygen fluctuation. Here the fish pond is open. The trick is to build it in a “shady” area. We want to avoid direct sunlight as much as possible. A tree can do the trick (however be careful for the leaves and branches). A fence or wall can also provide a good shade. The ideal is to place the fish tank in the shade and the growbed in full sun.

Catching the fish

In a classic rectangular fish tank, catching the fish is sometimes challenging. However, in a natural pond shape, fishing is often more difficult. Fortunately, I currently have trout which is a well domesticated species. Hence, catching them is not too difficult. In the long term I plan to use a long net with a leaded rope on one side. The technique will be to slide the net on the bottom of the tank to catch the fish.
 

In conclusion

As you understood, I really love my new holistic aquaponics system. it provides me food, joy and happiness everyday. I can only recommend you to switch to this new type of aquaponics system 🙂
You will probably be interested to discover my free six steps training to build and manage an Aquaponics system. Click here to access for free! Thanks and good reading 🙂