I am not surprised at how many people have never heard about "Aquaponics." Up until about a year ago, I was running on a nearly parallel path until I decided to look online and see if anyone else was doing something like this. As I mentioned before, many of you have done much of the leg work and I am now catching up to speed. But I am surprised at the wariness and stigma that many have of hydroponics, therefore, aquaponics by association. So I am doing a little project to see if I can win over some people in a cross section demographic experiment.
I am building several mini-aquaponics units, about 2'x2'x3'high. I will be building them to a furniture grade aesthetic standard (here is where I get to put that 25 years of cabinet making to use), using a custom made glass tank, some in oak, and some in a cherry wood, that would blend attractively into any home. Then I am going to place these in several middle and upper class households, (I have several volunteers) to see the response and results given by various shades of green thumbs.
I have access to hoards of free glass, so the tanks are free, and I have years of scrap wood accumulated from my days as a commercial and residential cabinet maker to clear out of the shop. So the cost is basically that of the liner in the media bed, a little plumbing, pump, and aerator. I want to see what their overall impression is and of course see if it leads to a greater interest, or remains at the novelty level.
Someone questioned, "Do aquaponics systems have to be ugly?," so I think because of the stage of the industry, and the little importance that aesthetics play to some people, and because "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" giving AP a makeover that would blend into any living room or kitchen might change the attitudes of some individuals.
I will post pics of the units that I will be producing, looking for your critique. I want your aesthetic and mechanical opinions so I can refine the ones that will go out to "the public." I have aleady started cutting out the glass for the tanks, and will be machining the cabinetry this morning, so I should have some production pics in the next day or so. The units will be a flood and drain system, fish tank for viewing in the front, and a sump tank to the rear that is relatively obscured from view. The whole unit is on wheels, and will disassemble in seconds for accessibility to all components and ease of cleaning and maintenance.
I appreciate your assistance, with this little project, and hope, with your assistance, to bring some awareness to our passion.