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I did aquaponic farming for 10 years here what I learned

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”

Paulo Coelho

NFT growbed of aquaponics

My progress so far

Ten years of aquaponic farming at different intensities but everyday has tough me a lot and I have been looking at aquaponics and how to encourage more people on my island to use aquaponics. To this end I have discovered some interesting things about aquaponics.
• Converted a traditional 9 acre commercial farm to aquaponics
• Build nursery for ornamental plants
• Design build maintain an owner operated aquaponic system
• Build numerous backyard aquaponics systems
• Teach aquaponics and aquaculture in schools
• Write a book for teaching aquaponics in secondary schools
• Give tours to large groups of people on research aquaponic farm
• Build design and maintain 10,000 gallon Research aquaponic farm
• Build and maintain commercial aquaponics systems indoors
• Install and maintain ornamental fish ponds
• Design and Build acrylic fish tanks for sale
I have found some very important things that I hope others will notice and start to recognize as well. The following is a list of things that are important or even instrumental in moving the industry forward.

Aquaponics is food production

Aquaponics has a magical quality of attracting people from all occupations except farming. Aquaponics is often seen as something to tinker with and to perfect and to get working while you learn the principals of the life cycle; it is one of those things that you can find the section of society that has power tools

Young child doing household chores in aquaponics

How to know if you’re doing it right? (The Hinkson scale)

There has to be a form of efficiency guide to aquaponics to see how efficient a system can be. Or if you can be better at designing and use energy more efficiently. This is simply how much watts you are consuming to make a gram of calories for consumption.
Why is this important?
The only way to improve aquaponic design is to measure how well you are doing it and how you can be better. This is the first time in modern history that you can account for the energy throughout the whole value chain of plant based food production.
How to calculate?
The origin of the measurement is from Indoor grower’s use of lights they and had to find ways to improve the output and to measure each other success.

How to get dirt lovers to convert

When upgrading from dirt to aquaponics, priority is to utilize materials from on-site, the aim is to keep this as simple and cost effective as possible.

Clearly defining expectations and limitations

when upgrading a farm it has a program set that works, and it is usually all in the growers head you must document that program to highlight the changes. The changes to be made are as follows;


When switching over to the new system your fertilization program is the biggest change, you’re going to have to heavily rely on foliar feeding until bio filtration and root zone activity is converting fish waste to plant food efficiently enough, once done right it should take one growing season.

Pest control

This should be the first to change in a smooth transition as you have to start with the pest management first change that to an organic regimen and find a system that works.

Plant propagation

This aspect of a farm very little usually changes


With this info it is possible to keep a farm/garden in the green during the whole upgrade. If you’re interested in upgrading your commercial farm in the most financially viable way, be sure to contact me for a quote.

water lettuce grown in aquaponic system

Aquaponics is better than hydroponics

The fact remains that hydroponics depends heavily on the same industrial machine that creates agro chemicals to create the chemical fertilizers that are used to feed the plants in the system. It is impossible to keep these systems running long term because hydro chemicals are salts and salts as we know from cooking if you keep putting them in they will change the pot and this is why growers dump out the solution and start again. This will destroy your immediate surroundings and case damage to your farm by attracting pest or weeds. You can store chemicals for a while but the nature is to suck up moisture out of the air so even the best storage will have a shelf life. Aquaponic is eternal.

water lettuces growing as filtration for wicking bed

Decoupling is a natural progression

Once the size of a system reaches around 10,000 gallons a single loop is no longer practical as the water become difficult to manage both physical and chemically. So you have to break it up into different loops that you can control more efficiently and then you can connect the loops in parallel like how electrical batteries are done. What this does is to capitalize on the power of diffusion and lets you make smaller changes to a smaller flow and these effects the total water volume over time rather than having to alter the total water flow the same time.

Original aquaponic machine backyard system

User friendliness should be first in design

Current aquaponic systems are bare bones and only concerned with the life support functions involved. I have started to also look at human interface of aquaponics to create a more enjoyable experience and to increases long term viability of the aquaponic systems.

young child recording water quality parameters


Equal parts technology enthusiast, carpenter, kitchen designer, farmer, capitalist, domesticated father and tree-hugger, I dissected and negotiated myself into a life that brings me both pleasure and pain upon coming to the realization that I cannot save mother earth from Human nature and my only recourse is to do more good than harm through Aquaponics. All of my work can be found here in these 12 main and the supporting pages I use to valiantly put forth this hypothesis.

Damian HInkson

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