Brad’s Venture into Aquaponics


In 2014 I learned about a sustainable form of food creation called Aquaponics. Essentially you raise fish next to plants and let nature take its course. The fish waste in the form of ammonia converts naturally into bacteria that the plants consume. The plants, in turn, help clear the water for the fish. The best part is that there are no chemicals, bugs, weeding, soil and the crops are 100% natural and organic!

Let’s go back to the start of my journey and give credit where credit is due. I originally learned of the concept from my father-in-law Dale who directed me to my brother-in-law Darryl. In October I flew to San Diego to visit Darryl at his grow light company, Inda-Gro, and quickly decided to try my hand at Aquaponic farming! My first step was to take a 3 day commercial Aquaponics training course at Nelson and Pade up in Montello, Wisconsin in November. The founders of Nelson and Pade played a role in the rebirth of the approach and hold the URL (Egyptians are credited with founding the practice of Aquaponics). They put on an excellent set of classes on fish, plants and everything in between. Not only did I learned a lot but I also realized how much I had to learn and left more determined than ever to give it a shot.

After I returned, I purchased a complete system from Inda-Gro in December, asked for superhuman tolerance from Maria and carved out some free time in January to get it up and running. With Quinn and Alana lending a hand along the way, I was able to get the water pumping through the system in mid-January then started in on growing plants.

Suffice it to say that the first 6 weeks of setup have been a real trial. Through books, blogs, YouTube videos, consultations and old fashion experimenting I’ve learned a lot about electricity, plumbing, lighting, fish and plants. While I’ve lost some fish getting the pH and ammonia levels just right to get the bacteria to grow (and regrow), I’m still excited about getting it right and growing some serious veggies!