These photographs show the set up of the new system in a bright, sunny window in the elementary school building of Yokohama International School.
The system will be used in many of the classes to demonstrate living organisms, lifecycles, ecosystems, the environment as well as lessons such as maths, biology and physics. All the children will be able to learn from the system and love seeing how it all fits together.
Planting and fish will be following very soon, ready to kickstart the system and start creating a living ecology, with plants, microbes and fish all working together for each others benefit.
This aquaponic system is made from a 220 litre fish tank, and a 200 litre grow bed. Both the fish tank and the grow bed have been surrounded with solid wood frames to provide extra protection, and to make it look more attractive!
The grow bed is filled with lava rock (karuishi in Japanese) which is lightweight and porous, providing excellent water retention and wicking, as well as a huge surface area for the beneficial bacteria to colonise.
We have used a high quality 1000 litres per hour pump that will run on a timer. We are using a simple timed flood and drain method with this system, with the pump coming on for 15 minutes and then off for 30 minutes. During the off period the water will drain back into the tank via 2 small holes drilled into the standpipe in the grow bed.
The system is powered by a handful of goldfish and a few billion bacteria - all helped along by lots of willing students!