Saturday September 21st our monthly meeting took place at Aqua Growers in Livonia. Jim Gill, the president, gave us a tour of the facility which houses eight 2400 gallon tilapia rearing tanks and over 1,000 square feet of raft style grow beds.
Tilapia are used in aquaponics because of their fast growth, resilience, and being resistant to disease. We learned that the unfiltered tank/pond water is used to irrigate and fertilize beets, basil, rosemary, peppers, green onions, and eggplant.
Enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and inventive, Jim demonstrated various processes of his own design. Club members took note of the fact that koi and goldfish ponds could be engineered to provide irrigation and fertilization during the summer months to grow a whole spectrum of vegetables. Aqua Growers is an indoor facility and relies on grow lights and thus there is the cost of electricity.
Various members voiced their enthusiasm for combining aquaculture (the growing of fish) and hydroponics (the growing of plants in water) into a self-sustaining system where the fish and plants exist in a symbiotic environment.
Jim offered to give seminar Spring 2014 to club members so that we might learn how to harness the fertile water of our ponds and filtering systems to produce homegrown hydroponic vegetables.