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Upcycled Aquaponics Workshop with The Bio Foundry


  • Makers Place Shop 39 ground fl, Italian forum 19-23 Norton St Leichhardt, NSW, 2040 Australia (map)

Join us for a day of building up-cycled aquaponics, as we convert pallets & drums into beautiful high-producing urban gardens! We'll run through the principles of aquaponics, how to safely up-cycle wood for outside use, and how to maintain a system. There's a free option for the course if you just want to attend and participate without taking the system home at the end of the day. We've happily prepare the collect and prepare the wood if you don't have the equipment to restore wood!

This workshop is a collaboration between BioFoundry, Sydney's first open access molecular biology lab and Biohack Space, ThreeFarm and Makers Place. The workshop is part of an initiative to get Makers and Hobbiest sharing their passions with their communities! 

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What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a food production system that combines hydroponics and aquaculture. By replicating how nutrients are recycled in the environment, plants grow in a substrate which is being cycled with water from a fish tank. Not only do the plants grow several times quicker, but the fish waste is being taken up by the plants in a closed loop system.

Aquaponics is an extremely sustainable way of producing large amount of plants. Because the plant roots are bathed in nutrierts and water with little energy needed for root growth, plants grow several times faster than standard soil growth. Unlike normal hydroponics, the nutrients coming from fish waste reduce the need to use expensive and environmentally unsustainable fertilisers. 

Why Up-Cycled?

 There is a global movement of sustainability which rejects our reliance on landfill and wastage for more environmentally sustainable methods of production. While wood is the most convenient and versatile method for building, the detrimental effects of deforestation are obvious. To many people, wooden pallets are the epitome of the problem, as you can't look anywhere without seeing decaying pallets destined for the tip. However, using pallets as building materials can be quite difficult given the wide variety of types, issues of contamination, and turning the wood into something that you'd like to have around the house.

In the course we're using European Standard hardwood pallets which are heat treated and not treated with chemicals. Each piece of wood is cut to size, sanded a few times, cleaned, disinfected and varnished with a few layers of linseed oil to keep the moisture out & bring out the colour of the wood.

The System

We recognise that many people don't have all the tools or time to prepare the wood into the parts of the Aquaponic system, so we've done it for you. Here's a quick list of what's included:

  • All the wood, cut, sanded & varnished! (upcycled)
  • Growbed & Fishtank (upcycled)
  • Pump
  • Plumbing
  • Screws
  • An afternoon of help putting them together

The only things not included is the grow media, fish, and plants as different people will have different preferences.

If you just want to come along and learn, then jump in now and secure one of the limited "by donation" tickets. The paid ticket options provides everything from the "by donation" ticket AND you can keep this amazing upcycled, DIY home aquaponics system!

The Course

 9am - 12:30:

  • Introduction to Aquaponics

  • Understanding Aquaponics

  • Water Quality

  • Designing a System

  • Bacteria in Aquaponics

  • Plants in Aquaponics

  • Fish in Aquaponics

12:30 - 1:00:

Lunch for paid ticket holders (provided by Lentil as Anything)

1:00 - 5:00: Practical Build Sessions

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More Information:

For more info check out the Biofoundry Website or shoot Peter Simpson-Young an email! 

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