Aquaponics Frequently Asked Questions

Is aquaponics ethical?

The best type of aquaponics is when we look after the fish. As with all things, there are good apples and bad apples. Candy has formal training within aquaculture and aquatic husbandry, her ethics and integrity is based on animal welfare. This means she teaches you how to be ethical with your aquatic husbandry. It is important to not over stock or crowd your fish. Finding the balance needed to maintain your aquaponics systems in a healthy way for the fish makes the system ethical.

Is aquaponics sustainable?

Aquaponics is the most sustainable way we have of gardening these days. Our soil is depleted and often contaminated and needs rest and rejuvenation, and gardening adds to its stress. With many areas experiencing water restrictions, droughts and weather extremes that the soil cannot manage, aquaponics is closed loop and not impacting the environment. It helps to remove the stresses.

Aquaponics is a man-made (or woman-made) ecosystem, replicating nature. This is not to be confused with hydroponics, which is an artificial setup using synthetic nutrients to grow veggies. Hydroponics uses no fish or natural ecosystem.

How does aquaponics save water?

Being a closed loop system, water is constantly flowing through each section of the aquaponics system. As a result, it is not running down a drain. The only times you need to top up your aquaponics system, is for water loss due to evaporation and the water used by the plants. No more wasting water. Water in the aquaponics system is recycled and filled with fertiliser from the fish waste, ready for the veggies to use.

What veggies can I grow?

Almost any type of veggies can be grown within aquaponics, including root crops and even small fruit trees. care should be taken in designing an aquaponics system to cater for specifically for these veggies and fruit trees, but it is possible. From broccoli to turnips with everything in between. While you CAN grow almost anything, a pearl of wisdom for you ~ don't grow anything from the mint family. It is more invasive within aquaponics than it is the soil, and will clog your plumbing.

I've never kept fish, can I do aquaponics?

Absolutely! Everything we do in life is a learned skill. That includes caring for fish. We learn how to do it. Starting off small, with fish that are cheaper is a good way to begin if you are nervous. With just a little time you will start shooting for the stars with your desire to relax with your fish.

How big is an aquaponics system?

The hard question to answer, but also the exciting one. You can design an aquaponics system to be as big or small as you like. With the fundamentals in place, you can build something for your desk or kitchen bench or a feature for your loungeroom. Alternatively you can go bigger and fill up your entire spare bedroom, your courtyard area or build it to feed your family and the neighbours too! You build it to the space you have, and the size you want to give it. We do not sell aquaponics kits .With our aquaponics courses you are taught to determine what will work for you. You can design an aquaponics system that will fit in the space you have available, and will be suitable for your needs.

How easy is it to build a DIY aquaponics system?

Keeping aquaponics simple and easy, and braking down the core concepts in my aquaponics courses is my desire for you. Keeping aquaponics simple is the easiest thing you can do. Stay in the flow, and let the ecosystem do the work. Many people tend to complicate aquaponics by altering layouts and adding extra bits. This is fine (I do this too), but it tends to complicate things more. Aquaponics at its roots (pardon the pun), can be extremely simple to build and simpler to run. This is especially the case when you start small and learn how it works.

How much does home aquaponics cost to run?

The main ongoing cost is the water pump, especially for smaller systems. The larger the system, the larger the pump which will increase the cost. The small Courtyard Aquaponics System water pump costs me $10 per year to run. You can check a watts calculator to see what the ongoing electricity cost will be. There will also be costs of seeds, fish food and fish if you plan to eat your fish. If the fish are your 'friends', however, then a one off fish cost is all.

How much does it cost to build a home aquaponics system?

Like anything you start from scratch, there will always be a start-up cost. With some guidance and support, however, especially if you are willing to use recycled items, you can greatly reduce the cost.

I have build small aquaponics systems for under $50AUD.

Designing an aquaponics system smaller will obviously reduce the costs. You can also use recycled materials to be more sustainable and eco-conscious, as well as save money. It is hard to give a definitive price as we don't sell aquaponics kits but show you how to build your own. As you are creating your own DIY aquaponics system you can choose the parts you want, with some guidance. Every backyard aquaponics system I have ever built (15 years worth), have paid for itself so many times over that I've lost count. As a bonus, I usually have veggies spare for the neighbours (which they love).

What are the best fish for aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a freshwater ecosystem, so you need to use freshwater fish. If you have your aquaponics system outside, choose a fish that is local to your area, otherwise they may be affected by temperature issues. If you want an indoors home aquaponics system, then there are a lot of options for fish choice. With the ornamental fish there are so many options available from guppies to crayfish.

How much room do I need?

One of the best things about aquaponics is that you build it to the size that YOU have available. Some people have a big yard and build a big aquaponics system. Some people rent and pop a mini aquaponics system on their benchtop.

Keep the fundamentals the same, the key elements, then build and design to your needs. This is what makes aquaponics incredible.

What is the difference between hydroponics and aquaponics?

Hydroponics is an artificial form of gardening. It generally occurs in a artificial environment in order to reduce pests, and it uses synthetic nutrients to grow fruit or veggies.

Aquaponics on the other hand, is an ecosystem that is intended to replicate nature. It is filled with living parts that each function to support each other and the whole system. Read more in our What is Aquaponics page.

Simple Courtyard Aquaponics Course

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this course for?

It's for anyone who wants to take control of their life and grow healthy food. It is perfect for those in small spaces, as well as those who want to start small and 'kick the tyres'. Everything you need to know, is included to ensure you have the best opportunity.

Can I do this course with no DIY experience?

This is the best question, as to be good with DIY, you have to start somewhere. This course (and bonuses) have been designed for people with NO DIY experience, walking you through everything step by step

Can You Build the Aquaponics System for me and ship it?

This is a common question, and the answer is no I cannot build it and ship it out. I teach you how to source recycled materials, to save landfill, and be sustainable.

I cannot ship out 200L drums to people without the shipping cost being more than it costs to build it yourself.

This course was designed for those who are not confident with tools, to use small power tools. Any handyman can build this for you in an hour or so.

The rest of the course teaches you how to look after it, what fish, plants and care you need to do.

How long does it take to build?

That's the best part about this design, it is small and easy to build in an afternoon. No need to wait weeks trying to build this. Simple, easy and Low Maintenance.

How much room does the Courtyard System take up?

This will depend a little bit on what you do for the stand, however if you follow my deign, it is 1.5m wide, 0.6m deep and the system itself is 1m high ~ plus the height of the veggies.

This is perfect for small spaces. I have mine right outside my backdoor and it is the perfect way to start a herb garden easily.

How much does the parts cost to setup?

When we start anything new, there is always a set-up cost involved.

Within this course, I encourage you to source your parts second hand, and recycle where possible. This will reduce the cost of the aquaponics system.

With second hand parts and time, I have been able to build this aquaponics system for under $100AUD.

Ultimately the question needs to be, is it worth it ~ paying for the course and the parts to build it.

How much do you spend on your herbs? Greens? Your food bill each week? What does your health mean to you, to grow healthy food?

Unlike container gardening where you have to keep buying fertiliser, compost, and soil ~ the only only cost is the water pump, and I show you how to work that out. I run mine for $20AUD per year.

For this, I have healthy herbs year round in this system as well as the occasional broccoli, corn, tomato, zucchini, and capsicums.

Does this the Simple Courtyard Aquaponics System cost a lot to run?

That's the best part. The water pump in my Courtyard Aquaponics System costs $10 per year to run. When you go to bigger systems, the costs get more expensive, but this small system is very economical.

Is this course for me?

That depends really. Are you the type of person who completes the training and is goes out and gets what you need AND builds it? Then yes, this course is for you. If the answer is no, then you will be disappointed. Only you can get the results you are looking for, you have to take the next steps.

Can't I just find this all out on YouTube?

A common mis-conception is that YouTube gives you all the answers. It doesn't, and you never know who you are getting the information from. Will it last, and is it right.

I have formal training in aquaculture as well as work in commercial aquaculture and aquaponics, plus 15 years backyard aquaponics experience.

I don't know everything, but I do know a lot.

Building an aquaponics system is fairly easy and yes, you can pick that up on YouTube with enough research.

BUT, understanding how it runs, how to interpret the water quality results, prevent fish stress and disease, understanding the balance of the system, and learning from someone who understands that every climate is different, every system is different, and how people look after things are different.

This is the knowledge you are paying for. How to get it right, the first time.

Is aquaponics for me?

Aquaponics can be for anyone who wants to do it. Often the issue is 'how do I learn this', and if you are willing to learn, aquaponics is a great way to garden, or to ADD to your current garden. It is the best solution for those in small spaces, with terrible soil, or water restrictions ~ and it is something everyone can learn.

Can I do this if I have never kept fish?

Absolutely. Everything in life is a learned skill, including looking after fish. There are many lessons within this course that help you to understand fish care basics so you get a good foundation.

Is Aquaponics Smelly?

One of the most common questions! Aquaponics doesn't smell 'fishy', that is a saltwater smell. Aquaponics is freshwater. A healthy aquaponics system, smells healthy. Ideally what you will be smelling is the herbs and veggies that you have growing.

Is training for the 'Fish Window' included in the course?

This is a more advanced training using a heat gun, and it is not included in the Simple Courtyard Aquaponics Course. The training is available as a 'One Time Offer' in the next step.

NDIS Specific Information

How Does This Program Increase Capacity?

This online, self paced program helps to develop skills to be able to live more independently (growing your own food).

This may help you develop skills for employment (fish care, routines, structures, responsibility, problem solving, following instructions) if it is aligned with your goals.

Improving life choices helping you learn how to have responsibility of gold fish and choosing healthy food options.

Increase independence by learning how to grow healthy food at home.

Is This An Activity A Support Worker Can Help With?

This is a perfect, ongoing activity that you can be doing with your support worker. From watching the videos together, taking notes, learning how to sustainably source the parts you need (Most can be got at a hardware store ~ reducing costs, Marketplace and a landscaper), building it, selecting fish, and caring for the fish and lpants. Harvesting the veggies.

How Does This Make Learning New Life Skills Easier?

It's an online program that you can watch in your own time, your own safe space when you are in the right space. It gently pushes you out of your comfort zone to learn something new, gain new skills, in a time and place that feels comfortable for you. You don't need to force yourself to function to fit in with someone else's time. You get to be active within the online Facebook group when you choose. It's self paced so you choose when you watch it and when you build it. With the help of your support worker, it is easy to maintain once built

How Is This Reasonable & Necessary?

The first question, is does the program align with the NDIS goals of the participant?

This program is designed by a participant with lived experience with autism, PTSD, anxiety and depression, with the intention to help other participants achieve their NDIS and life goals.

Common goals have been focused on with the development of the program such as:

Development of daily living skills

Increasing Motor Skills

Increasing Executive functioning

Ability to follow instructions

Maintain attention for task completion

Independent living skills by growing food

Social interaction and connecting with others in the community

Is This Program Value For Money?

Unlike programs with set days/ times that may not suit when a participant is most functional, this self-paced, online program is available from the participants safe place, to do when they have the capacity to absorb the videos.

This makes it more valuable ~ as the participant chooses when they can be mentally present to learn.

This program provides lessons to practice skills ongoing in the home environment.

It is ongoing value and learning to manage for the participant.

The program assists the participant to learn new skills, and increase their confidence in life.

This program covers everything A-Z in a simple to understand way to build and look after your aquaponics system. There is no guess work, just simple guidance.

What Are The Costs Of The Program?

The online program cost $610, which includes a fish keeping package that will be shipped to the participant.

The cost of building the aquaponics system can be covered in under $100 for parts, sourced with the help of a support workers.

What If There Is Trouble Building The Aquaponics System?

Any handyman or maintenance person will have the tools and can help to physically build the aquaponics system if needed. This should only take an hour for experienced people with tools.

What if there are problems / questions about the program?

This is the purpose of the NDIS specific Facebook Group that participant will have access to. They can post anonymously if they want, and can ask questions about the building, running and care for the fish and veggies.


Copyright 2023 | Candy Alexander | All Rights Reserved Email: ask@theaquaponicslady.com