I’ll take this Turkey Day to give thanks to another critter deserving of praise, the Channel Catfish. The engine to our aquaponics system, we love how they quietly go about their business, eating the food we give them and passing on their waste to our plants. They are a pretty flexible species, able to withstand water temperatures that would make a Tilapia go ‘shiny side up’ and are fairly non aggressive.

Besides having our catfish in the IBC tote, we been experimenting with catfish also in our deep water culture (DWC) trough. While only 1′ deep, the catfish are doing great and don’t mess with the plant roots at all. It does get a little crowded in there but the previous ‘rule’ of separating fish and veggies can be broken. Now for those with Tilapia, that wouldn’t work because they would destroy the plant roots. Score one more for catfish!

Our next system design might very well take advantage of this experiment and be a single, deeper DWC trough. This approach would simplify construction, nearly eliminate plumbing, cut costs, and reduce potential points of failure.  What’s not to be thankful for about all that? Aquaponics will evolve and we hope become something easier, more foolproof, more sustainable, and more productive.

So on behalf of my future self, I want to thank the venerable catfish as well as this current generation of aquaponics innovators. Lets strive to accomplish more with what we have and never stop learning how to do it better.

Randy Turner