This is a fun episode as we chat with Diana Fitzsimmons and Amanda Jones from Wairakei Primary School in New Zealand, along with two of their students, Myles and Rose. Listen in as they talk about how they got into doing aquaponics, dealing with fish death, experimenting systems, getting ideas from Murray Hallam, and building an in-line system composed of media beds and clay beds.
They also touch on more related topics such as insulating tanks, solar water heating, and water testing using test tubes. Check out how they dealt with nitrite spikes and staying away from fish death.
Our guests today share about the teaching system in New Zealand, specifically focusing on aquaponics and how it addresses global issues where they intend to fit the aquaponic system setup into New Zealand’s curriculum considering that aquaponics is a very new topic in the country so they hope to expand the knowledge on aquaponics throughout New Zealand.
More discussion on system maintenance during school breaks, the role of bacteria as the unseen good guys, as well as growing fish and experimenting things like raising eels, prawn, shrimps, and crayfish. Lastly, we talk about dealing with regulations, laws, and restrictions involving aquaponics.
Read Full Show Notes
53: Bringing Aquaponics to New Zealand Schools with Diana Fitzsimmons & Amanda Jones from Wairakei Primary School, New Zealand
Here’s what you’ll learn from this episode:
- Check out what they’re growing in the system (lettuce, bok choy, tomatoes, radishes, beets, silver beets, celery)
- Looking into different hydroponics setups until stumbling into aquaponics
- Discover how they designed their system based on Murray Hallam’s DVDs
- Building an in-line system: Sump tank underneath three grow beds and with the fish tank in-line
- What are the clay beds good for growing with?
- Find in what they do keep the tanks insulated
- Restrictions on what types of fish to grow
- Check out what these kids like most about aquaponics
- Also check out what these awesome kids learned about water chemistry!
- Dealing with nitrite spikes in the system and dead fish
- Discover how they’re pushing aquaponics into their teaching system as a part of the solution to global issues
- Listen in to what Rose and Myles say about how easy it is to learn aquaponics
- How do they maintain the system during school holidays?
- Find out how aquaponics is gaining more and more interest on a chemical-free front
- Now who eats the food they’re growing?
- What’s so great about aquaponics in terms of using fish waste and bacteria as the unseen good guys
- The challenge of growing edible fish in New Zealand
- What kinds of fish are they growing?
“Every year, we bring students in the group and they’re all learning and passing on the knowledge all the time to younger ones and they’re all sharing different stages of it.” – Diana Fitzsimmons
“We still get a lot of people calling it hydroponics because there is this lack of understanding around what aquaponics actually is.” – Diana Fitzsimmons
“You can use the fish waste to grow the plants. Fish waste is not something bad but something that you can use to do something.” – Myles
“The contribution that aquaponics can make to food scarcity because of global issues that the aquaponics addresses.” – Diana Fitzsimmons
“97% of the world’s water is salt water.” – Diana Fitzsimmons
“The ability to grow edible fish would make a huge difference for us here in New Zealand.” – Diana Fitzsimmons
Resources/links to websites:
The article about the World’s Largest Aquaponics Project in China’s Third Largest Aquaculture Lake