I still haven't added the tilapia to the aquaponics system, but I think the tank may have nearly finished cycling this weekend. In the few weeks we've had them, the females have gotten a little bigger but the males have more than tripled in size.
Grow bed about 2 weeks after planting seeds
The plants are doing fantastic in the grow bed. I've been adding small amounts of fish emulsion both to help with the tank cycling and also to provide some nutrients for the growing plants. This picture is about 10 days worth of growth from the last post's picture.
Finally, I've made a tiny pond on the tiny farm! This roughly 45 gallon pond will serve to grow duckweed to help feed the tilapia. I'm hoping to eventually grow 100% of the food for the tilapia on the property. To build it (after my usual sticking my shovel through some irrigation lines and repairing them) I used leftover pond liner from the aquaponics set up, rocks that were already on the property, plants that came free with my tilapia, a handful of duckweed from the fish store ($1.30) and a pair of gambusia fish to eat mosquito larvae ($2.49). Total cost: about $4. I could have gotten the gambusia free from friends with ponds or the city of Phoenix, but this particular fish store (Phoenix Tropical Fish) took the time to really help me with questions a few weeks back so I thought I'd give them some business, even if it's just a couple bucks.
Pond area: BEFORE
I'll add some plants around the outside of the pond when the weather cools down a bit. The duckweed is spreading rapidly and the water hyacinths are blooming, so it's been a pretty good payoff for a few hours of very sweaty digging and rock piling.