Fishy Farm combines horticulture, aquaculture, and vermiculture


November 9, 2010

The Fishy Farm lets users raise fish, vegetables... and worms

The Fishy Farm lets users raise fish, vegetables... and worms

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Oh, choices, choices... do you grow vegetables, raise worms or raise fish? Well, the just-released Fishy Farm is designed to do all three in one hit. The small-scale aquaponic set-up is based around an ecosystem in which fish-waste-infused water fertilizes the veggies and feeds the worms, which in turn filter the water before it returns to the fish. All that users need to do is feed the fish, top up the water, and gobble up the bounty... except for the worms.

The system starts with the fish, who live in an aquarium at the bottom of the system. Although the supplied photos show not-likely-to-be-eaten goldfish and koi, the company suggests that food fish such as tilapia, perch, catfish or rainbow trout could also be kept in there.

The ammonia and effluent-containing water is pumped up to the plant grow bed, at the top of the system. Instead of soil, the bed contains a growing medium composed of expanded clay balls and volcanic rock, which the water easily flows through. The bed is consistently kept full of water, thanks to the proprietary Continuous Ebb and Flow system. As the water passes down through the growing medium, its ammonia is converted into nitrites and nitrates by naturally-occurring microorganisms, providing nitrogen for the plants. Also present in the medium are the worms, which break down residual plant matter and fish effluent into fertilizer for the plants.

In the final step of the process, the purified water is returned to the fish, and is oxygenated via a venturi mechanism.

The whole set-up is a microcosm of what many aquaculturalists and pond-keepers do, in that they pump used fish water through a biofilter that contains a filtration medium, bacteria, and sometimes plants.

Depending on how hungry you are, or just how much you like watching fish, you can chose between Fishy Farms ranging from 50 to 700 gallons (189 to 2,650 L) for US$999 to $2,599.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

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Bruce Miller

This fascinates me.

I like these systems....

Resource efficient.

Mr Stiffy

A cool step above the regular aquarium. If it truly can produce some output in food that would be cool but I suspect there will be a strong hobbyist market at least. Any food produced would come from the equation: fish flakes + electricity + human maintenance time and effort = fish + veggies.

If you could compost some kitchen waste for the worms and maybe feed some of them to the fish you could improve the equation an clever diversion of sunlight to minimize the electricity used would also improve it.

Snake Oil Baron

bring it on, the perfect teaching tool for people in that lifecycle stuff can be fun and that we dont have the kill the planet to eat.

So much talk of non-Synergetic relationships, this is a welcome change.

Andrew Kubicki

"All that users need to do is feed the fish" - not necessarily, one guy I watched recently has the fish living on algae in his sunny backyard (though he doesn't have many fish in there) see

"The bed is consistently kept full of water, thanks to the proprietary Continuous Ebb and Flow system." This is wrong. Ebb and flow is usually by virtue of Bell syphons that drain then refill the beds to a predetermined/set level below the top of the stones, which in any case can be 3/4 inch gravel and not necessarily expanded clay, hydroton etc

"the purified water is returned to the fish, and is oxygenated via a venturi mechanism." Venturi contraptions can be used but bell syphons are in the majority or an air pump running from a solar panel is sometimes used

Victor McDermott
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