Earthships are an off-grid style living environment that has always intrigued me, adding an earthships aquaponic system is even better. The concept is powerful, creating sustainable environments without using non-traditional building materials such as plastic bottles and old tires. An extremely attractive style of building that has had plenty of legal battles to allow the construction of these odd looking homes.
The Earthships aquaponic gardens have been added to their list of self-sustaining growing techniques. It would seem they have embraced them whole heartedly enough to give seminars on their construction and maintenance. The Earthship headquarters recently added an earthships aquaponic system and details the construction of one in the article.
The system was built using an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC tote). These are perfect containers to use for these systems (as long as they are food grade) because they, like tires, are ubiquitous to the planet with a long life span. They are also not very expensive, ranging from about $30 – $80. This fits perfectly into the ethos of Earthship Biotecture because it’s one more way to repurpose garbage and put it into useful function.
When cut down to the appropriate size, the fish holding tank contains about 175 gallons of water with a growing bed of Hydroton (clay pellets) media on top. There are 21 fish in the tank, which are a unique species of Carp commonly found in New Mexico. Believe it or not, the Carp is the most widely consumed fish in the world (thanks Asia!), allowing this system to yield edible protein. The grow bed has a variety of plant starts in it such as tomatoes, basil, broccoli, peppers and parsley.
Incorporating this type of gardening into the Earthship takes it one more step in the direction of sustainability – recycling items that otherwise would be useless garbage. The IBC tote is often the container of choice because they are easily obtainable and can be resurrected into both the fish reservoir and the grow bed as well. This process is detailed in the construction of the Earthships aquaponic system.
Earthships Aquaponic System integrates well with Earthship Conservation Policy
Earthships have been designed to conserve as much as possible, From the actual building materials to the entire design of the system to recycle as much as possible. The Earthships aquaponic system conserves a tremendous amount of water, recycling it over and over through grow bed and purifying it for the fish. The plants grow three times faster and there is no dangerous waste produced that needs to be discarded. Basically it is fish excrement turned into flavourful vegetables. the fish can even be used for the table as well.