This past Summer we experimented with a prototype vertical aquaponic system – The Cultivator 1.0 – on the Cultivate the City rooftop farm by H Street, NE.
Re-used food grade 55-gal barrels cut in half served as containers for the fish tank, grow bed, and sump tank.
The Cultivator 1.0 is intended to make the most of vertical space in our dense urban environment by stacking the containers. The vertical arrangement also makes water-flow more convenient.
Was the Cultivator 1.0 successful? stay tuned to find out!
ALSO: Are you considering a career in the growing sustainable agriculture movement? Anacostia Aquaponics is looking for dedicated Team Members and Interns for 2019. Click the link to find out more 🙂
Summer 2018 — students in the IDEA PCS Summer Bridge Program learned about aquaponics as an efficient and sustainable way to produce food in an urban environment.
Students helped out by feeding the fish in the 150-gallon aquaponic system.
We just installed our new aquaponic system, The Hootie 2.0, at Iona Senior Services near American U. in NW DC.
The Hootie 2.0 can accommodate up to 8 medium size (.5lb) goldfish or other ornamentals. The fish waste will support a constant growth of herbs and several heads of leafy greens at a time.
The Hootie 2.0 features:
- a 29 gallon fish tank;
- a roll-out plant growbed for easy fishtank access;
- hidden shelf space for electrical connections, an aerator pump, and supply storage;
- adjustable height T5 floursecent light fixtures; and
- an automatic bell-siphon drain in the growbed to increase system oxygenation and circulate water.
Thank You Ashlea Steiner at Iona Senior Services for the opportunity!
And Thank You John Favaloro at Avanti Woodworks for the great craftsmanship and creative problem-solving!
We found a dirty old crayfish at UDC’s Firebird Farm. We cleaned him up and sent him on his way.
Crayfish are a viable aquaponic crustacean, more popular in Southeast Asia and Australia. Check out Affnan’s description of “Crayponics”.
Affnan also has one of the best bell siphon descriptions, he so cray?
Working with Neto Construction in Sterling, VA on the next model of our indoor aquaponic system, the Hootie 2.0.
It has a 55-gallon fishtank on wheels for roll-out easy access. (See Hootie 1.0)
Here we see Danny Neto cutting some Ultra-Skrim FGC liner, a great product from Global Plastic Sheeting. It’s handy for aquaponics because it’s:
1) very puncture/tear resistant;
3) food grade; and
4) only 13 microns thick, whoa baby!!!
Here are Julie, Hala, and Cheryl getting ready to brew some vermicompost tea at our aquaponics meetup last night. Cheryl looks to be digging under a bed of newspaper to find our squiggly friends below.
About 10 or 15 local aquaponics enthusiasts came by to participate last night. We tested the system water for pH, ammonia, and nitrates and discussed the results; we chatted about fish feeding ratios; we brewed vermicompost tea and discussed applications for aquaponic systems; and we added worms to the media bed.
Thanks everybody who came out to visit and share your knowledge. We’ll be posting more practical info about vermicompost tea applications in aquaponics, stay tuned!
Here are some Cultivate the City rascals, with whom we shared a table at the 2017 Rooting DC Conference last Saturday.
Rooting DC is an annual forum for urban ag folks looking to make DC’s food system healthier. Click to see Rooting DC’s great map of the DC Food System… Hey, we gotta put some aquaponic systems on that map!
Anacostia Aquaponics gave a short “intro to aquaponics” presentation. We also ran into a lot of old friends, and made some new ones. It’s likely that Rooting DC pollinated even more urban agriculture collaborations, stay tuned! 🙂
Scott has been running this system in his backyard in NE DC for over two years. Below is the fishtank, a submerged IBC Tote with cover. Scott estimates he has about 10 Bullhead Catfish and over 50 Blue Gill, some of which have been here almost three years! He and his family have eaten about 15 of their own fish grown in their own DC backyard… Gnarly! (He says the Blue Gill are much tastier.)
Up top is the grow bed. Scott estimates that during the warmer months it produces about a salad a day for his family. Wow, great numbers. And he uses rainwater from his roof, very environmentally friendly! (and lower pH)
As pictured, the system is operating under the tarp for winter. It expands out during the rest of the year, and Scott is continually adding growbeds.
Here’s a link to his forum thread in case you are interested in more info: Scott’s aquaponic forum thread.
Danielle, Jayson, and Kemani testing to see if the water is ready to support fish in the J.O. Wilson Elementary School aquaponics system in Washington, DC.