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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lights, Camera, Basil!

The Aquaponic Garden with Grow Lights (20,000 Lumens)

The lights have arrived!

I've got the system set up now so the lights are on a timer, and the pump plugs into the light, so it will come on when the lights come on.

The water is crazy clear right now. It's so fun to watch the fish darting around! Plants move and grow too, but they're not as exciting to watch. I'll be interested to see how much they grow with the lights!

The only two herbs they had at the grocery store were basil and mint. I bought a basil and transplanted four of the plantlings into my growbed. The rest will go up to the kitchen for now.

I didn't buy the mint, because mint is crazy. I might set up a "windowfarm" next to the aquaponics units and risk mint in those. Mint is very aggressive and develops roots like there's no tomorrow.

I think if the world were struck by some disaster that wiped out almost all plant life, mint would be amongst the plants that survived. However, no need to give mint a place in my garden.

In other news, I haven't heard from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. They're the folks who need to inspect my setup prior to me getting a license and purchasing tilapia.

I'm tentatively planning to go with 25 male fingerlings from That way I shouldn't have to start off dealing with the issues of breeding females, fingers crossed! 25 male fingerings will run me $102, which includes shipping.

My approximate costs to date have been:

$150 for tank and grow bed
$141 for the grow lights
$12 for gravel
$30 for the air pump
$45 for the water pump
$20 for the plumbing
$80 for the shelving unit
$15 for incidentals (e.g., metal tape, 2'x4' sheets of thin luaun plywood)
$30 for vermiculite, seeds, and plants
$22 for licenses
$30 for water testing kit

So my total outlay has been $575. Add fish ($102) and food ($20) and we're just under $700. With care, you might be able to knock the price down even lower than that.

If you didn't have a drill, bits (1/4", 1/2", & 1"), a door knob hole saw, and a saw, you'd have to purchase (or borrow) these. I've got a timer and am decorating to hide the industrial black plastic, but those aren't necessary expenses.

Color me happy!

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