Food -> Water

Our Aquaponics System with Crawdads and Tilapia


We are going to share with you an overview of one of our aquaponic systems. We use aquaponics here on the farm as an alternative growing method, and we really love how sustainable and how much diversity they can give us, in terms of output.

So in this specific aquaponic system, we are growing crawdads and we have our crawdads in here and they have full run of this water area. And to our surprise, a few weeks ago, we found that we also have baby tilapia living in here, which probably came in the form of eggs, attached to the water lettuce that we took from a different system.

So that’s exciting. And that’s something. Once they get a little bit bigger that we’ll have to move them, but for now, this is a great place for them to just get large, without competition from larger fish, we use water lettuce in our aquaponic systems as a water cover, and this helps give shade to the fish, keeping them a little bit cooler, and then the crawdads actually eat the water lettuce. So it’s a constant food source that they have here.


Then up here in this bed, we have lava rock and we’re growing pennywort and our water spinach just started to come in. So that’s really exciting. And both of these are great salads and eaten fresh.

The idea behind aquaponics is that the plants filter the water. So you have the fish or the crawdads in this case, that poop. And then that flows through the system, fertilizing the plants in an exchange. The plants filter the water by using that poop so you don’t have high ammonia concentrate in just all of that, staying in your water.

This system works great. Pennywort is an amazing addition to aquaponic systems. It’ll suck up anything. It’s a really great filter plant. So we like to add this in at least some area of our aquaponic system.

Then as you can see over here, our filter is located in here and filters are always important. Whenever you have aquatic life like fish and crawdads to just keep the water circulating and that powers the water movement through the whole system. And then we also have a bubbler which just creates extra oxygen, which is also crucial because you never want just sitting water.

So the idea is that the water flows up through the table and then comes up here to this bed, which is currently empty, but we plant things like tomatoes or cucumbers in the lava rock up here. And then it drops down to this bed where we have duck weed growing and duck weed is also great at filtering the water, making sure it’s nice and clean for when it returns back to the fish.

And the great thing about duckweed and pennywort too, is how fast they grow. And they’ll just, you can take it out one day and it’ll be completely replenished by the next. So it’s a really amazing crop for aquaponic systems and our chickens and ducks love to eat it too.

When we’re planting in our aquaponic systems, we just want to make areas where we don’t want the leaves of our transplants to be touching the water. We just want the roots to be embedded in the water. So I just have a few okra here that I’m just gonna be transplanting. There we go. And just like that. Hopefully these little okra will take, and then they will also help with the filtration of our aquaponic system.

This has been a quick overview of one of our aquaponic systems here at the urban farm. I hope that this overview gave you an idea about how we set up our system and why it’s an essential part of our growing operation here on the farm aquaponic systems can be to whatever skill fits in your life. But for us, this is a great system in order to raise crawdads and apparently little tilapia.

If you have any more questions about our aquaponic systems, make sure to ask them in the comment section on YouTube and also make sure to subscribe so you can get more content like this.


  • Lynette’s mission is to translate financial noise into understandable language and enable educated, independent choices. All her work is fact and evidence based and she shares these tools openly. She believes strongly that we need to be as independent as possible and at the same time, we need to come together in community to survive and thrive through any financial crisis.

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