This winter has proved a busy one for Urban Catch, but I’m happy to say we now have our first premises sorted! It will serve as a research and development site for the next year, as well as somewhere to keep our ever-growing collection of fish tanks and work on our next creations. It started from pretty modest beginnings…
…but thanks to a kind donation from the St Enoch Centre, we’ll be growing with 4 Fish Plant systems this year. This will allow us to get experience with larger food-producing systems, as well as test various types of lighting. Here are the systems we’ll be working with for that.
First order of business was to wash the several hundred pounds of clay substrate that came with the systems. Little clay pebbles may be light individually, but they certainly do start to add up in bulk! A rather cold and wet weekend was spent carefully cleaning any dust or loose sediment off the balls, as this could clog up the system later on.
We’ve just begun cycling two of the systems, which means that we’ve begun to cultivate a biofilter in the tanks. The most crucial element of aquaponics is the biofilter, or the bacteria that converts the fish waste (ammonia) into nitrites and then nitrates (fertiliser for the plants). This cane be cultivated in several ways, including adding household ammonia, nominating a few intrepid trailblazer goldfish, or even “Pee-ponics” (I’ll leave that one up to your imagination). However, since we already have a few well-established aquaponics systems, we just used some of the substrate and stones from those to “seed” our new systems. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to establish the bacterial colony this way.
Much more to come in the coming weeks as we get the systems running and the workshop set up!