Veggies and herbs thrive in our new aquaponics system

Hey, fishy, fishy!

The tilapia fish are still alive and swimming and the plants that are growing in the nutrient laden water are growing quite well. I have to say the sound of water circulating right outside the kitchen is a very soothing , pleasant sound. This summer, I look forward to our canning escapades, with the back door wide open, the soft afternoon breeze, and the trickling sound of water (does good job at drowning out the traffic from the 11 lane freeway that runs but yards behind the urban homestead). Not only did we bring another element to the urban homestead, we created another productive micro climate in what was an under utilized part of the urban homestead. (Check out Farming With Fish)

When growing in an urban environment it’s all about using space wisely and we are still revamping and redefining our space ( Check out “The Four P’s:” Production, purpose being practical but pretty and best of all – personal)

From three plant species in one 3′ x 8 ” space we’ve quadrupled the plant species and added an animal one to boot!

Where there were once three wine barrels with citrus, there are now 25 fish and plants like water chestnuts, watercress and arrowroot.   Growing vertical ly along side the fish tank are herbs (mints, parsley), veggies (tomatoes, kale, chard, celery) and edible flowers (nasturtiums).

For those of you who are curious about the water use (because water is a BIG concern for us!): Aquaponics systems require only small amounts of water to replenish — they use up to 90 percent less water than soil-based methods of farming. Plus, any water change is used to fertilize the garden via underground irrigation.

The whole set up is really looking nice; but we are still working out the kinks of the system and experimenting with different plants to see what grows best. Also, regular commercial fish feeds are not organic and usually have hormones, corn, soy, fish meal, and/or artificial colors, etc. We are trying out several different kinds of organic food to see what the tilapia like or dislike.

Now fish, fish are hard to photograph, they like to swim underwater for some reason, so you’ll just have to use your imagination on this one!

Another step in our journey towards self sufFISHency. 😉


  1. Chris says:

    You all never cease to amaze me! The photograph of the veggies is just magnificent. I am very intrigued by all of this as we hope to convert our old attached 1950’s southern exposure sunroom into a functioning grow OG 365 greenhouse with passive solar to help heat our little cottage. My little herb garden surrounds the sunroom outside so you have my wheels spinning. We’ll be attending a NOFA MA workshop on this in August. I’ll be sure to ask how hydroponics may play into how we could make this all happen. Thank you, thank you for this information and the beautiful photo!

  2. Becky says:

    This is PHENOMENAL! May I ask where you purchased the talapia???

    • Anais says:

      @Becky: From a local guy here in LA – he’s now sold out!

  3. Carolyn says:

    The greens in the pic are beautiful. We are in the process of setting up a small aquaponics system and are trying to get around using plastics for the grow tubs for plants. What sort of container did you all use for the veggies?

  4. amy manning says:

    Intriguing. I have a seasonal pond on my property that we want to do something with someday, after all the blackberries and such are cleared out by the goats. My neighbor farms trout.

  5. Cassy says:

    Hey!! I’m Really Interested In The Fish Aquaponics! I would Love to get started on it. Is Yours Completely Outside? Can I use the water straight from fish tank to the garden? (anything in a garden?) What are you feeding your fish exactly right now? i would love Organic but its to expensive.. i do not want the hormones thats for sure!

  6. jill says:

    I love your blog and all the fun things you are doing. I noticed this post is from a few years ago are you still doing aquaponics as well?

  7. atara horowitz says:

    Hi, We are from Israel and we’ll be in LA on the second week of August. Will it be possible to see some of your systems?

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