Today I get to introduce you to a friend of mine and one of the aquaponics world's most interesting young voices. Alex Veidel helped hundreds of aquapons design and operate their systems through is role as moderator at the Aquaponic Source Forum. His fascination with all things biological serves as an inspiration and source of insight for many of us throughout the community. As an indoor grower, he brings a fresh perspective to Frosty Fish that many readers have been clamoring for. You'll be hearing from Alex from time to time. I'd encourage you to give him a warm welcome in the comments section and feel free to post your questions about indoor growing, pests, worms, or tiny houses. Enjoy!
Hi, my name is Alex Veidel, and I’m an aquaponics enthusiast. I currently reside in Elgin, Illinois, where my wife Korie and I spend our days living in a little 8’x18′ house on wheels that we call home.
As a gardening hobbyist, I’ve been studying aquaponics for the last three years. My current aquaponic system has a volume of 600 gallons, with of 42 sq. ft. of grow space, coupled with a 300 gallon tank housing around 40 Blue Tilapia. Because of the cold winters here in Illinois, I opted for growing in a garage indoors
I first heard about aquaponics through an article a friend had sent me about backyard recirculating aquaculture systems. The idea of raising fish in my own backyard intrigued me, and after some further research, I found out about that I could combine my desire to garden and raise fish at the same time. I was hooked (no pun intended), so I purchased a few books and began my aquaponic journey.
While I originally started growing aquaponically out of some poorly defined desire for a “self-sustainable” life, aquaponics has grown to be much more than that to me. I had originally dreamed of running an commercial aquaponics system and becoming a local business that would grow food for others, but instead aquaponics has become a hobby. But not just a hobby.
To me, Aquaponics is a canvas: a beautiful, empty canvas that I can observe, test, and think about. It’s a billboard for projecting and putting order to all of my thoughts and opinions on how the world works.
Studying aquaponics has taught me about ecosystems, about how nature thrives on a diversity of life. I’ve learned how to foster populations of beneficial microorganisms and how these microorganisms are utterly essential to the future of food production. In short, aquaponics has altered the way I view the world and has brought much beneficial change to me as a person. Because of what my studies has done for me, I put immense value in aquaponics as a tool for education for any grower. I approach it as a platform for growing the mind, perhaps even more than as a platform for growing plants.
Having been an aquaponic grower for 3 years and running, I’ll be able to help beginners navigate through and prevent some mistakes the aquaponic grower commonly makes when starting out on their aquaponic journey. Being an indoor gardener, I’ll be able provide insight into a few of the peculiar problems that indoor growers have, such as lighting or dealing with high humidity.
Since not all information that is applicable to the outdoor grower is directly applicable to the one gardening in an indoor facility, I’ll also be able to help the reader adapt ideas and concepts to an indoor environment.
However, my hope in any post is to help the reader to find the information he needs to take the next step in his aquaponic journey; to take him beyond “how to do this” and “how to do that” and into the “why”. For when we delve into the “why” of anything, that is when we truly begin to learn.
To keep up with what’s happening in my aquaponic world, check out my Facebook page.