This chapter describes how to build a simple, inexpensive and compact aquaculture system. It fits Into a four foot by four foot space, runs off of one double-outlet air pump, and
easy to maintain. This is an ideal system to learn aboutaquaculture without spending a lot of money. The system described in this chapter has been built by ordinary people livingin Toronto, Chicago, Little Rock, and Milwaukee. They didn't know much about aquaculture or even plumbing, but theyshared a willigness to try something new and were successful.
HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS
The following is a quick account of the processes that occur in this recirculating system. Look for sources of additionalinformation about how such systems work in the Resources Chapter.This system mimics natural cycles. The sun (or artificial light) shines into the plant tank, causing aquatic plants and algaeto grow These plants and algae flow into the
(or are cut and fed) where herbivorous fish cat them. After digestion, the fish excrete ammonia (a sort of urine) and produce feces. These are partially broken down by snails andother invertebrates in the bottom of the fish tank and then pumped 'into the b1ofilter tank.In the
specialized bacteria break down toxic ammonia into fairly harmless nitrates, which can be taken upby plants. Other bacteria and micro-organisms break down other waste products into forms that plants can use. Particlesof waste are trapped by rocks and shells where they are eaten by invertebrates or broken down by other microorganisms.This tank acts like an aquatic compost pile, converting wastes into fertilizer for the plants.