Saturday, November 28, 2015

Aquaponics Workshop & System build for Savour Soil Aquaponics.

A fair few months ago I was asked to put on an Aquaponic Workshop by Michael from Savour Soil Permaculture at Laidley in SE Queensland. Was a bit hesitant at excepting the offer as I haven't had much experience at teaching but must say I'm pleased I did.

The workshop was held last weekend (21st Nov 2005) & covered the basics of setting up an aquaponic system for folks interested in expanding their food production in their backyards or small holdings.

A basic split flow aquaponic system was assembled from recycled components on site for Michael & his family. It made a great teaching aid on the day to help explain some of the basic construction methods & parts of a working aquaponic system. 

Here's a bit of a look at the system as it stands today. 

Must say that I was very pleased with how the system went together.  It's also fantastic to see Michael's family's enthusiasm in learning about the system as well as their eagerness in wanting to stock it with fish & plant it out. 

In the clip above I mentioned a suppliers list of sorts provided to the attendees & have also included it here below for those that might be interested.

Hope you enjoyed the clip & find the info useful.

Suppliers information for SE Queensland & Australia. 

Fish Hatcheries & Feed Suppliers.
I have bought from the first 2 and had no problems whatsoever. Ace Aquaculture has been recommended to me by a few folks that have used them.

When ordering your fingerlings it is a good idea to ask if they sell small amounts of feed for your new swimmers. They grow so fast that it doesn’t pay to buy too much at once.

These folks supply Australian made Ridley aquaculture feed.

Stock smaller 4kg buckets of fish feed.

Farm supply store will also often stock some aquaculture feed as well. It isn't always out on display so it pays to ask the sales folks.

Pumps & Plumbing.
I've bought a few air & water pumps from Guppys Aquarium & found them to have great prices.

I've bought other pumps like the Jebao (the one used in Michael's system) from a few reputable Ebay stores that deal in aquarium goods. It's always an idea to check out their rating before buying from them though.

The "Irrigation Store" is an online based site I buy my bulk PVC, barbed irrigation & bulkhead fittings from. They have a fixed $20 delivery fee on all orders. Works out a lot cheaper than the 2 big box hardware stores,

Valves with removable blue handles are purchased at Trade Link Plumbing supplies for those that are concerned with little (or big) fingers fiddling with the system ;-)

I sell Uniseals, venturis & Root Pouches Australia wide through our small "Bits Out the Back" blog store.
Ordering info can be found in the link below,
OR you can PM me at
OR Email me at
Remind me you’re from the workshop & I’ll work out a bit of a discount for you ;-)

Best place I've found for IBC's is on Gumtree & have picked up a few really cheap ones through there.
Barrels can be found at markets, farm supply stores like Sprengers (, Gumtree & also recycle stores/centres like Reverse garbage (
My preference is for IBC's & barrels that have had food stuffs in them as they are normally easier to clean out.

Growing Media.
If you're in the Ipswich area H2Gro are a local hydroponic store that sell the clay based media & will offer a discount depending on how many bags you're buying,
Last time I checked they were selling 45L bags for $25 each with is almost half the price at other retailers.

If you're after growing medium other than clay many folks recommend road base AKA blue metal here in SE QLD as mentioned in the workshop. Please keep an eye out for contamination like concrete that both Michael & I found in the blue metal at our suppliers.
It's a good idea to do a vinegar test on any rock you want to buy to see if it will raise the pH in your system. You can do this on site at the landscape suppliers with a jar full of white vinegar. Pop a handful of rocks into the vinegar & if it starts to bubble it's best to discard it as it may keep the pH constantly high in the system.

Backup Air System.
I did mention that I've made up my own 12V Backup air system in case of blackout. I followed the plans on the link below.
PLEASE NOTE, any work on 240V electrical circuitry HAS TO BE carried out by a licensed electrician.

Useful Sites, Forums & YouTube Channels.
I have a playlist on our YouTube channel with some of the projects/builds that have gone into our aquaponic & aquaculture systems which may help you out with a few ideas,
I also have other playlists covering different aspects of our urban farm if you’re interested in a look.

Nate Story from Bright Agrotech has some great info on some of the finer points of aquaponics,

Backyard Aquaponics forum is one of the oldest aquaponic forums & has a load of enthusiastic members posting about their own systems & helping others.

Paul Van der Werf from Earthan Edge is one of the world leaders in integrated aquaculture & is a local to boot. Have found his site to be jam packed with ideas on DIY backyard builds, commercial systems & technical help. He has made it a subscription site but is well worth checking out if you're interested in building a small commercial aquaponic system.
His Facebook page has some useful posts as well & is well worth checking out.

Friday, October 30, 2015

2015 Seed Draw / Give Away / Lucky Dip. Chilli, Carrot & Tomatoes.

Hi Folks.
Thought this might interest a few folks that still read my poor neglected blog ;-)
I'm holding a bit of a seed give away through our YouTube channel.
Please check out the description below the clip if you're interested in participating.

Good luck to those that enter.



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lemongrass & Ginger Veggies. The fresh flavours of Spring.

Lemongrass and Ginger Veggies. 

Finally got around to harvest the ginger from the aquaponics yesterday. It smelt so sweet and fragrant I had to use some in dinner last night so made up a quick veggie dish on the spot. 
Posted a picture of the meal to our Facebook page where a friend ask for the recipe (Cheers Sarah) so thought I'd share it here too.

The dish was made using all home grown ingredients except for the oil, garlic, sugar and mountain sauce.
The rest of the ingredients included some freshly picked snap peas from the aquaponics as well as a carrot and a lemongrass stalk from wicking barrels. Some leftover cauliflower and broccoli harvested on the weekend were also used.

Some of the measurements and cooking times are just guesstimates as I tend to add things as I go but am sure they're fairly close to the mark ;-)  It was enough to give us 3 adult and one child serves. 

1 lemongrass stalk, chopped VERY finely as it can be very stringy
1 thumb size piece of ginger, chopped finely
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/3 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets and stems sliced
1 large carrot, sliced 3mm thick
2 Tbsp Thai Golden mountain sauce (soy or Ketjap manis would work well too)
1/4 - 1/3  cup of chicken stock
About 1 tsp of raw sugar or honey (I find a bit of sweetness helps to bring out the flavour of the lemongrass)
1/3 head of broccoli, broken into medium florets and stems sliced
A few small handfuls of snap/snow peas

  • Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in hot wok then add garlic, ginger and lemongrass, stir for 2 minutes
  • Add in cauliflower, carrot and sliced stems, stir fry for 2-3 minutes
  • Add in sauce and ½ the stock and cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring
  • Taste sauce in bottom of wok (careful not to burn yourself) and if it needs sweetening add sugar/honey to taste (probably won't need any if using  Ketjap manis)
  • Add in in broccoli and peas, Stir and add in more stock if wok is drying out
  • Cover for a few minutes to lightly steam broccoli and peas
  • Toss veggies through the sauce in the base of the wok and serve.

The fresh flavours of the lemongrass and ginger together make a fantastic combination. Must say that I impressed myself with this one and will be making it again very soon. The one stand out flavour that was missing for me was Thai basil. The girls have suggested that I add some finely sliced beef and chopped green onion stems to the next batch too.  

Would love to know what you think if you have a crack at making this yourself.
Cheers and have a great one.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Front Yard Veggie Patch. Feeding the wicking beds & a small harvest.

It's mid Winter here in the patch so last weekend I knocked over a few jobs that needed doing before the weather starts to warm up.
The asparagus plants got a good trim & the beds were feed some home made compost & aged horse manure. Also planted out a few extra broccoli to see if we can squeeze in another crop before summer.

This weekend it will be a few beds out the back that get the same treatment. Also have some ginger & turmeric to harvest so am looking forward to that.
Cheers all.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Aquaponic update vlog with lazy fish & winter tomatoes.

Has been nearly 3 months since the last aquaponic vlog update so here you go folks.
Winter has struck here & the fish are starting to get a tad lazy due to the cold water but the plants are still growing strong.

The tomatoes have had another trim today with a few branches strung up due to the weight of the new fruit forming.
Have noticed that the water level is dropping a bit more than normal so shall be investigating to see if there are any leaks developing on the pipe work. I'm hoping that it's just just the growth spurt we've seen over the past week or so that is causing the increased water usage.

Best be off & start working in the patch.
Cheers & all the best folks.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A wander through our Subtropical Veggie Patch. The early Winter edition 2015.

Hi folks. 
Had a few people ask how things are going in the veggie patch & finally managed to do a "quick" clip on the hoop house section of our veggie patch. Funnily enough our Winter veggie patch here in the Subtropics looks very similar to many friends that are growing in North America, the UK & Europe at the moment.

Am looking forward to harvesting the first of our winter veg like cauliflower & broccoli. Still have a few summer crops that need to be harvested like the yacon, turmeric & ginger as they take a bit longer to mature in our climate.  Hope to post some harvest clips on them soon.
Hope everyone else is having a great season,

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A wander through the small urban farm, May 3rd 2015.. Happy Permaculture day all..

Hi there folks..
Has been a few months since a post was made on this poor neglected blog, so here you go..
Took the camera for a walk around the yard yesterday to do a bit of an update on the various gardens in the patch..  Didn't show much of the aquaponics as that would of turned it into an epic ;-)

Am looking forward to the upcoming changes & sorting out some more fruit trees for both the front & back yards.. Once the PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate course) has been completed I hope to have time to sort out a workable plan with Bianca so we can get cracking..

Hope to have a few more updates posted here in coming weeks..
Cheers all..