Aquaponics Outreach – Visit with Rick Frey

If you do not already know, aquaponics is a form of hydroponics that aims to be self-sufficient by using fish as a source of nutrients.  In essence, the fish grow in a reservoir and create waste, mostly in the form of ammonia.  Microbes then turn the ammonia into nitrites, and then nitrates, food for the plants.  This is excellent for leafy greens which want large amounts of nitrogen.

Plants and Fish Tank

Plants and Fish Tank in an Aquaponic System

To do some research, we toured an aquaponics system.  Rick Frey showed and explained his system to us.  It was awesome!

Rick custom-built an aquaponic garden inside a greenhouse.  He is growing Tilapia and Goldfish to produce nutrients for his plants.  He explained how the nutrition from the fish is not complete, making it more difficult to grow plants like tomatoes.  Tomatoes want to have lots of other micronutrients that the fish don’t provide enough of.  For plants like lettuce, that want to grow green and leafy, aquaponics works very well.  So, depending on the plant, Rick believes that he would would need to supplement the nutrients produced by the fish.

inside of greenhouse

Inside of Rick’s greenhouse

You can see some of the other pictures we took in the gallery below:

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