is the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a
re-circulating system. Growing
Aquaponics is the method of
growing crops and fish together in a re-circulating system. In the Growing Power aquaponics model crops
grow vertically on raised beds.
Types of fish we grow:
Yellow Perch is a species of perch found in the United States and Canada and is a glacial lakes species. They prefer cooler water which makes them ideal to raise in our hoop houses at Growing Power. These full-bodied fish are a favorite with chefs due to their white, flaky, delicious meat.
Yellow Perch are also in short supply. Lake Michigan's yellow perch numbers have decreased 80 percent since 1990. States surrounding the Lake Michigan have put regulations on yellow perch fishing. For instance, Wisconsin banned commercial fishing for yellow perch in Lake Michigan in 1997.
What does Perch eat? In nature, Yellow
Perch are primarily bottom feeders and eat almost anything, but prefer
minnows, insect larvae, plankton, and worms. At
Growing Power, our perch eat a combination of commercial
feed and worms.
found in Africa, Tilapia has been farmed for more than 2,500 years. Tilapia is a perfect fish for aquaponics
because of its rapid growth, large size, and because it tastes great. This hardy fish can adapt to most any
condition with the exception of water temperature.
Tilapia prefer warm water - at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
It takes about 9 months for our Tilapia to grow to a
harvestable size, about 1.5 pounds.
What does Tilapia eat? At Growing Power, we feed our fish duckweed,
ground-up salad greens from the greenhouse, worms, and Tilapia love to
eat algae from the side of the tank.
Why do we use compost in our
We fill our growing pots with a
mixture of coir and compost.
The coir is made from discarded coconut husks and helps
wick water to the plant's root system. The
compost provides extra nutrient to grow an abundance of crops within
the system. Traditional hydroponic
growing, or growing without soil, relies on fish waste alone to
fertilize the crops. The problem is, you
can only grow crops with lower nutritional needs such as basil. For example, in most traditional hydroponic
systems, Boron is found in very low quantities. Boron
is essential for flower development in crops - tomatoes, peppers, and
cucumbers - which means that production for these kinds of crops is
very low in hydroponic systems. At Growing
Power, we solved this problem by adding nutrient rich compost to the
pots in our system. Still have doubts? Come by the farm and try one of our tomatoes
grown in our aquaponics system. Satisfaction
Interested in learning more? Come to Milwaukee and learn how to build your own system at a Growing Power's workshop.
Milwaukee Headquarters: 5500 W. Silver Spring Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53218
Tel. 414.527.1546 / Fax 414.527.1908
Chicago Projects Office: 3333 S. Iron Street, Chicago, IL 60608