Something Fishy

Today’s post is by Luke Gleadall. Luke works with both the Visitor Team and Learning and Engagement, and he is also the project lead on Aquaponics at Manchester Museum. Here is a look at some of the work he has been doing over the last 12 months.

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Something Fishy

We have just past the one year mark of the opening of The Study at Manchester Museum – which was also the same time we installed our aquaponic system. It was a great year working with experts and taking part in lots of training, including a week in Wales at Humble by Nature on a weeklong aquaponic course.

If 20161103_145753you have visited the museum you may have seen the pink glow of the greenhouse on the 3rd floor that was home to our Mint and Carp. The water containing waste (poop) from the carp is pumped through the white towers to water the plants, which rely on the chemicals that would be harmful to fish. The plants take up some the chemicals and the water is returned to the tank. The water goes round the system continuously which keeps harmful chemicals at a safe level for the fish without ever needing to change the water

We originally planted mint as it is very hardy and fast growing and it gave us a lovely looking system very quickly. The Carp are also hardy, resistant to disease, and also a cold water fish so we don’t have to heat out tank like many others do.

This is quite a basic description of the process and if you want to know more there is lots of info on the web.

20161103_145005However, one year on, we have more than enough mint and our carp were getting too big. Armed with a little knowledge I went out to restock our system – so we decided to start a herb garden.

Our first step was to replace the fish – the carp species can grow too big for our tank so we found them a loving home and got some gold fish, also another cold water fish. One of the reasons we chose goldfish is that many people already keep goldfish and we want to show you can do aquaponics in the home; you don’t need exotic fish or fancy equipment. You can do this with goldfish and plant pots!

The next step was a little trial and error with regards to which herbs to grow.

We are currently having success with :

-Basil
-Parsley
-Tarragon
-Chilli
-Oregano
-Rosemary
-Mint

Not going so well:

-Coriander
-Thyme

I will attempt keep this list up to date!

Leafy green plant are great in aquaponics, you can get away with one plant that bares fruit (like our chilli plant) but any more and you will need to start adding supplements to the water, they need different chemicals which are not as available in an aquaponic system

If you would like to find out more please do come and take a look and quiz our staff about it but as I mentioned earlier the web is loaded with info on aquaponics you can quickly pick up enough to give it a go yourselves.

Luke Gleadall

Have a look at some more animal stories from the Visitor Team;
Extinction or Survival? – The Giant Panda
The Bison – Emperor of the Forest
A Plethora of Penguins
‘Oophaga pumilio’ … the Egg Eater!

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