Sweet Water AQUAPONS

Photos documenting the time I transplanted a lemonbalm plant into the barrelponics system.

I was never quite sure if you could grow a plant in soil and then move it to an aquaponics situation, but apparently you can. With some care, a lot of water to wash off the roots in, and a new and set-up system to move the plant into, you’re good to go.

indoor/outdoor barrelponics

Last month, we winterized Sweet Water by moving some of the outside systems indoors. Since then, we have been making some adjustments to the smaller aquaponics systems. Anytime you move a system and the variables change, you continue using the system by adjusting those variables as needed. Making continual adjustments ensures that your system works as efficiently and as abundantly as possible.

Our barrelponics system is one example of such a system. At the end of the season, we had harvested the large tillapia outdoors. We removed the tomatoes and pepper plants. We drained out the water and removed the grow medium (pebbles and little terra cotta balls) from the grow beds. We took apart the plastic and wooden components and washed them. We moved the system inside and refilled the growbed with medium and the tank with fresh (and dechlorinated) water.

After transplanting the system itself, we made new adjustments for the indoor system to grow as well indoors as it did outdoors. Aquaponics is all about context. We installed an artificial light above the grow beds and put a heater in the water again (we had a heater outdoors in the early part of fall just to make sure the fish were warm enough on cold nights). We repopulated the tank with baby tillapia. We transplanted a lemonbalm plant from the soil into the growbed. We spread seeds, hoping that they would grow. Only a few of them did. Another intern spread more seeds, but still, we had only  few plants in a large area. Adjustments continue.

Alverno Aquapons performing daily tasks at Sweet Water. Pulling out of season plants from an aquaponics system.

-Diana and Jessica (aka…nerd 1 and nerd 2)

Home Stretch

As we proceed into our last month as interns here at Sweet  Water we are all working on many different projects to help sustain the badges project over the winter break until a new set of Alverno interns arrive. We are also making sure that what we leave behind is easily picked up by the future interns. In a previous post you may have read, you see that we will be posting an in-depth tutorial on building an aquaponics system (in both English and Spanish). We are also hard at work learning to conduct proper interviews and how to analyze and organize them. I personally have been working on a Prezi presentation showing how Sweet Water is responding to the global issues of:

  • water conservation
  • soil conservation
  • climate change anad energy use
  • food security
  • economic development
  • health and nutrition
  • international citizen diplomacy

Here is the link http://prezi.com/nuu1pi5ihvmq/how-sweet-water-is-responding-to-global-issues/

Keep an eye out for future posts about our exciting trip through the process of becoming aquapons.

-Diana (explorer of science…aka…intern)


Hello, fellow Aquapons!

There will be a video tutorial posted this Friday November 2nd, 2012 on how to build an aquaponics system. This video will contain detailed instructions as well as the names of websites containing more information on aquaponics systems, and the best part is that it will be in English and Spanish! Tune in this Friday!


The last couple of weeks, we have been moving our systems inside to prepare for the cold Wisconsin winter. These are just a couple of pictures from different stages of the process.

Alicia and I learn about pH testing.

Alveno Interns building a system!

aquapons update

Hello all, I am glad you are reading our aquapons blog. We are hard at work gathering information and sorting out all the existing data. We are getting near starting interviews so we could get more imput beyond the Sweet Water Foundation staff. As interns we are learning a great deal about aquaponics ourselves and we are enjoying becoming aquapons in the process. Keep an eye out on our blog for more picture and updates.