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Love-Aquaponics Ideas

Have you ever wondered what’s possible with aquaponics? Or what all the parts of aquaponics are?
Well, you’re in luck, because today I’m going over a mind map I made to discuss just some of the many options, possibilities, and ideas surrounding aquaponics!

Logan's Aquaponic Mindmap May 2021
Logan’s Aquaponics Mindmap May 2021

You’re listening to Fish Grow Plants—A podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.

[The following is an automated transcription that has been roughly edited.]

Hello, and welcome to Fish Grow Plants. Today’s episode is all about love, the love of aquaponics ideas. Yes, there are many and vary.

I love aquaponics, growing, fish, and plants. I really do. I keep coming back to it all the time. Maybe it appeals to that master of many or Jack of all trades sort of thing going on with me, because there’s so much that aquaponics has to offer. The cool part? You can pick one area, get good at it, and then pick another, and do the same and keep moving around and around and keep going on and on.

Yeah, I like it. It’s fluid. It’s flexible. It’s adaptable. You know, you have all these different options.

To kind of go through these ideas and topics, I thought I would just share a mind map I had with you as the basis for most of this podcast episode.

So what is a mind map first and foremost?

Well, essentially it looks like a bunch of scribble scratch on a piece of paper, but it helps you get your ideas down. It’s like a brainstorming, if you’ve heard of that. You don’t judge any of the ideas. You just write them down, you try to draw pictures and lines, show how things are related and just get your ideas and thoughts down.

So that’s what we’re shooting for today here.

So what does mine start with? Well, I start in the center and I build out. So the center says “Logan’s Aquaponics Mindmap May, 2021”. And hopefully you’re listening to it close to May, but if not, that’s okay. This applies to any time.

So within this center cluster, the major points that I think are related to this mind map of mine, I labeled as research, plants, art, software, community, business, hardware, and fish (I don’t know how fish ended up on the other side there, but visually it looks a little different).

So how does this tie in?

How do I expand on this?

I’m just going to kind of go around those points related to aquaponics and then expand a little more so you know what I’m talking about.

We go from my aquaponics in the center to research, like, what are my goals and where am I going, but beyond there. So as part of that, I consider practicing part of that, which means planting, harvesting, and feeding. I’m planting crops and starting seeds all the time. I’m harvesting stuff, whether it’s cut and come again or whole plants and I’m feeding fish; I’m tending them, checking the water, making sure everything is fine and systems are running and working.

And as another part of the research side, you have learning. You know, to me, I say, I try to start small, and be specific as I can and learn something as I just mentioned earlier and get good at that, and then kind of grow, work into it. Don’t try to take a big leap and then, you know, fall flat and give up, um, been there, done that too!

But also, on the side of learning, you’ve got courses, books, people you know, podcasts, there’s all sorts of things you can do for learning.

Something that I’m kind of interested in directly in research related is how does solar and off grid things tie in for these systems? So if you didn’t have electricity or power in any sense, how could you make that work? So that’s kind of one branch in general of how I break aquaponics ideas down.

For another one, let’s step over to plants here. For me, that’s kind of going clockwise around my little picture here. We have plants and to go through the list that I have on here, we’ve got things like pests, seeds, starting transplanting, grow out, harvest, compost and waste recovery, market, you know, so things of that nature.

Just to kind of go back through it again, you have seeds, you’ve got all the different kinds of seeds and you need to know what works and what doesn’t work. You’ve got to know how to start them when to transplant and how to transplant. You’ve got to know how long you want to grow them out until you hit harvest, because when you hit harvest, then you have your product. You’ll have fresh product you want to sell or process. So, it kind of breaks out. You’ve got a bunch of different options going that way.

And also related to harvest is another arm I’ve stuck off here is handling and storage. You know, if you don’t want to sell it or you don’t want to eat it right away, what do you do with it? And how do you handle it? So that’s a pretty important part, I thought.

So moving on around clockwise, I have art, I listed art on here because I think a lot of what I do, I feel kind of like a craftsman. And I would think if anyone’s in the farming gardening kind of area, they might look at what they do in that way as well. So there’s tons of things like people doing Instagram with their pictures and their videos. I don’t have an artistic bent at all, but like water color. I thought that was a little funny, but watercolor art, drawing pictures, anything is, you know, inspiration that comes from aquaponics. And to me, it’s just live action art. You can go in there and listen to the water, watch the fish move around and see the change in the plants daily. And that’s just beauty to me.

Moving around again, here to the next section, I call it software. Software’s the things that are flexible, fluid, moving. They grow and they change, or they’re not static or solid like a hardware sort of thing. So I include bacteria, fish, plants, water systems. And then I finally get to the computer things down here. But just to go through that software list again, it’s kind of like the bacteria is a whole subject in itself. You could work to try to optimize that, understand it, know where certain bacteria form, why do they form? Where do they grow? And the same with the fish, you can do that with the fish, the plants and the water system. Each one of these is its own little self-contained, uh, mini system, mini course, or a topic that you can dive into.

And then lastly is the computer stuff, which, you know, we understand is the standard software jargon these days with your online stuff, your databases, and then farm and garden software to help you plant layout and get your whole system and garden going.

Moving on to the next topic. Maybe you call it like moving around the clock for me, the way I drew it, but it is community. The idea for aquaponics that came up for me is that you can share, you can educate, you can have a literal community garden, you can share that community love, and you can have a massive amount of contribution because of all of those, not just a physical garden, but if you’re sharing what you know, you’re sharing how to do things, all that is giving back to people to help them grow and be better themselves. So I think that’s awesome.

The next section is kind of related, kind of not, you know, depending on what you think. Business, and the business side of it (aquaponics) to me has bunch of things, but I kind of kept it short here. You’ve got your produce, like your fish and your plants that are the main produce that comes out of aquaponics. And then you have products that you process and actually develop, as kind of a side from the aquaponics, but it’s fed (kind of pun intended) from the aquaponics. You could also do information. You could do tours and education and you can do art, like I mentioned earlier. So kind of depending on where you fall on the spectrum, in terms of business and business styles, there’s a lot of different options and ideas that you can dig into.

The next section I did was hardware. And this is probably what got me going a lot too, because when I was younger, I just loved hardware, like engineering type stuff, putting it all together, see where it goes.

What do we get? You know, so we’ve got tanks and troughs that deal with liners and you know, how do you keep water together? You’ve got pumps. How do you move the water blowers and air stones and pumps? How do you keep things oxygenated and moving around and keep the DO level up.

Screws, nuts, and bolts, all the things that hold all these parts together, you’ve got to have them or know how to use them and get them together. And that’s part of construction, which is a sub point down from that. And then tools. You have to have tools to deal with all that stuff. You have to have testing tools, power tools, and hand tools, all of them interplay to make it all come together. And that’s some of the beauty that I like in it, but it’s all these different ideas coming together to make aquaponics what it is.

Okay. The next section is water and water seems kind of short and simple, but it’s literally the lifeblood of what makes aquaponics function. You’ve got water quality because without the water quality, you know, everything’s going to suffer if not just outright die and not work. And then you’ve got to test that water and monitor that water to make sure it stays up. You’ve got to filter and make sure that the water you’re inputting is good and clean. And you have to reclaim and reuse that water in the literal cycle that your pump is moving around. Or if you’re taking anything out, if you decouple it, or if you’re using it for, um, products and plants on the side, you’ve got to monitor all this. But each one again is its own idea, its own little section that you can dive into and really try to understand all that. So water the lifeblood again, very center.

Moving on around, the last section I have on here is fish. I don’t know why, it just ended up being placed on the paper that way. But with fish you’ve got fish type. You know, you could choose any kind of fish in the world, really, depending on your location, the legality, you know, what they’re made for what you want to do. You’ve got to know where you’re going and why you want it to get there. Um, you got to know the tank system and size. And you need to know the requirements, like what kind of dissolved oxygen do they need? What kind of food is best for them? What kind of temperature range water-wise and air temp, you know, all this is going to influence it, but all these ideas tie into your fish, not just knowing, Oh, I want to goldfish or, Oh, I want tilapia. You’ve got all the other parameters and thoughts that you can go into.

And that’s what I love about it. Having all these ideas available to you and that’s what the mind map for me does—make it visual. And so what I would do is sit here and start drawing lines. You can see somehow I did. I tried not to make it ugly. Usually when I do this, I have a bunch of colors and things, but it gets harder to read, especially if you don’t understand my handwriting, but I hope all these ideas that I’ve laid out here in general will kind of spark your imagination.

So if you feel, Oh, I like this, or I like that, maybe try mine map, try to lay it out, share those thoughts. Even if it’s just with yourself, you know, you can get them out and get them organized and go, Oh, I really liked that. And I see how this ties in and that ties in. So everything’s, um, integrated in some sense, and you’ve got a path forward, at least that’s how it works for me. So I hope this has been an exciting, eye opening episode to get your juices flowing for all the possibilities that you have with aquaponics.

QUESTIONS/FEEDBACK:

Questions! Let me have them! Do you need clarification, more information, or maybe you just have a tangent thought—send all your thoughts my way. See the website fishgrowplants.com for episode details, or just fire off an email to fishgrowplants@loganschoolcraft.com and I’ll get back to you.

THANK YOU’S/GRATITUDE:

So, was this episode good, bad, ugly, or other? Let me know! Comment, email, smoke-signals it doesn’t matter! I love to hear from you. Your feedback is immense, and I am always grateful for it. Likewise, thank you for taking the time to listen and share your thoughts. Have a wonderful day.

This has been another episode of Fish Grow Plants—the podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.

https://fishgrowplants.libsyn.com/love-aquaponics-ideas

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