FISH, OR A HOT TUB SURROUNDED BY FLOWERS?
Imagine immersing yourself in the warmth of a hot tub while surrounded by flowers, and just sitting back and relaxing and unwinding after a busy day. Or you might enjoy your hot tub even more on a cold, gray, winter day when the ground is covered with snow, and the birds are silent, and all the sounds of summer--crickets, tree frogs, the buzz of bees--have died, yet in your vegetable beds hardy herbs and leafy vegetables thrive. Pampering yourself with a hot tub instead of a fish tank also promotes a healthy lifestyle. But if you are a dyed-in-the-wool, back-to-the-lander, you will want fish.
The 850-gallon fish tank in the center of the Biodome Garden serves as a habitat for fish and other aquatic animals, as well as aquatic animal feed. Plant life, algae, plankton, minnows, insect larvae, tadpoles, earthworms, water insects, vegetable cuttings and garden insect pests make up only a small portion of the available aquatic animal food. Pelleted fish food can also be substituted for natural fish foods. Some fish and other aquatic animals do well in an enclosed environment, others not so well. Through experimentation you can determine which aquatic animals survive and thrive in your climate zone and environment. THE BIODOME GARDEN BOOK includes species of aquatic animals that are known to thrive within ponds and large aquariums--a variety of freshwater fish, clams, oysters, crayfish, lobsters--as well as links to where they can be purchased. However, most varieties of aquatic animals will not survive in stagnant water, so a system of clarification and circulation must be set in place. Photographs and a detailed diagram in THE BIODOME GARDEN BOOK shows how to construct a Biofilter capable of filtering the water while also maintaining a proper pH balance.
Hydroponic troughs positioned over the fish tank help utilize all available space, for healthy, hardy plants that root into pea gravel and get their nutrients from water from the fish tank that is pumped through the through the troughs and runs back into the tank. Alternately, a system of wicking can be used, with plants rooting directly into the soil and wicks in the soil dropping into the water. Both systems are effective, and both are discussed in more detail in THE BIODOME GARDEN BOOK. Currently, an 8" wide, circular hydroponic vegetable ring is being designed to sit on the top perimeter of the fish tank. Availability is yet undetermined.
THE GREAT-GRANDADDY OF ALL: It's said that Koi can live 200 years, but typically, in a pond, they live twenty-five to forty years. So if you decide to stock your tank with pet fish, they might be with you for a very long time. And they can be taught to feed from your hand. The one below is about eighteen inches long from nose to tip of tail.
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