Cafeponics: bathtub aquaponics system for a Darwin cafe

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Here’s another of Floyd’s aquaponics systems that have been designed to merge economy with beauty and food production, using mostly recycled materials.

This system was made for a Darwin Cafe, to help create a customer-friendly courtyard that was serviceable yet green with the trickling sound of water, all the while producing fresh herbs for the cafe…

Making the frames for the bathtub growbeds
Pump and beginnings of the plumbing
Grow beds with bell siphon installed (Thanks to ‘Aquaman’ – Charlie from Ecolicious, you’re a legend!)
Gravel in, here is the bell siphon… Floyd used terracotta saucers to hide it all and stop gravel getting in and blocking it
The back end
1 of the 2 400L pots Floyd used. This shows the large holes drilled to accommodate the overflow points which feeds the sump
Almost done….big table in place…people come and eat amazing vegetarian food here and they are surrounded by flowing water and fish and food! What a great place to have lunch…
Finished! Well, almost, we need to wait for a few months for the bacteria colony to build up and really get things cranking….but the seedlings are in, we have 25 gold fish swimming around in the pot you can see, the other has no fish yet…will be Jade Perch or sleepy cod or something like that soonish….
Plants are much bigger now…they were tiny when they went in…there’s chillies and lots of salad and coriander and parsley and rocket and capsicum and tomato

And who is that hidden by the shadows? Hey Costa! Nice to have you in Darwin mate.

One of the small-but-big advantages of growing in an aquaponcs system is the pest factor… because there’s no soil, there’s far lest places for slugs and such to hide. Also due to the lack of soil, there’s no weeds. At all. Which makes for a great low-maintenance system where all nutrient cycling through the system is going where you want it to go – into the food bearing plants.

All up, this is a great little low-maintenance system for the Cafe that will bear food while providing a beautiful nook for outside eaters, surrounded by herbs, veggies, fish ponds and the sound of falling water. Nice one.

Floyd build this system based on his experience helping Charlie of Ecolicious install a DIY bathtub aquaponics system at Alexandria Park Community Garden in Sydney, which is still rocking along over two years later.

Alexandria aquaponics install by Charlie of Ecolicious with Milkwood interns Adam, Ryan and Floyd helping it happen
Alexandria aquaponics 2 years on – about to harvest some great cabbages (as well as the ongoing supply of herbs) from a beautiful, productive and kid-friendly system

Armed with this practical knowledge and his can-do attitude, Floyd has gone onto design and install aquaponics systems wherever he’s at, whether that be Darwin, Thailand or Barcelona.

Vertical patio aquaponics system in Darwin (shortly after install) – click image for post on this build
Floyd’s crop circle aquaponics system in Thailand – photo by Sittisak Kidsadapuun
Floyd teaching an Aquaponics install workshop at RegenAG Barcelona – photo by Nat Corredoira

And now Floyd’s moved with his fabulous wife Gianna to Milkwood. Hmm. Something tells me we might be arcing up to aquaponics at this farm sometime soon…

Our next Backyard Aquaponics course is coming up in Sydney in February, and Floyd will be joining Charlie from Ecolicious for two days of intensive learning to help students design and prep to build their own aquaponics system.

>> More posts about bathtub aquaponics systems far and wide

All photos unless otherwise stated by Floyd Constable

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