The preparations of an aquaponics experiment by marine biologist Tom van ’t Hof reached its final phase with support from the Organoponics Garden on The Level, managed by Foundation Social Workplace Saba, and Comprehensive School students.
Aquaponics is an integration of aquaculture and hydroponics; a combination of fish and plant culture. Fish waste contains mostly ammonia, which is toxic in higher concentrations. In aquaponics systems the water from a fish tank is circulated through grow beds filled with gravel where bacteria convert ammonia into nitrates. The nitrates are plant food. Water from the grow beds drains into a sump tank and is then pumped back into the fish tank.
Van’t Hof said he only needs fish to complete the system. The fish tank is provisionally stocked with guppies, but these will be replaced with tilapia, an easy to grow food fish. Within a few months the grow beds should flourish with herbs and vegetables.
Van ’t Hof succeeded, with quite some difficulties, in obtaining all needed equipment. The last prep work was to fill all ten containers with gravel.
As part of their educational programme, Comprehensive School students, who are also trained at the Organoponics garden, assisted in transporting gravel and filling containers. They also received information about this gardening experiment that is unique for Saba.
Organoponics Garden manager Otto Manuel Anderez, assisted by worker Alexter, showed the pupils how to transport gravel. Anderez used all his tutorial capacities to explain the experiment and Van ’t Hoff provided information about this way of growing vegetables. Heleen Cornet offered the workers a chocolate cake and drinks after all the hard work.
Source: “The Daily Herald” 2012-09-08