How quickly does time fly? Since building and testing his innovative toteponics system based on CHOP2 technology we caught up with Aquaponics guru Murray Hallam to ask how its all been going? Murray immediately lights up with his usual enthusiasm, “Can you believe it – its 18 months since we built that first system and its still functioning perfectly well, day in day out.”
The DIY Aquaponics DVD that features how to build this system in detail has also been tremendously successful with aquaponics enthusiasts right around the world enjoying Murray’s laconic style of instruction. So successful that Murray has started building kits for those people who want to buy a CHOP2 system pre-built with all the fittings ready assembled.
You can buy the fitting directly from his website in Australia or from Sylvia Bernstein’s Aquaponics website in the US which has American plumbing parts that are slightly different from the Australian fittings. But both fittings will work just the same.
“We’re selling around three IBC CHOP2 kits a week, going out our door here in Australia!” says Murray.
Murray has a two to four months back order for his quality line of aquaponics system built from fibreglass. Murray says Australians love building and tinkering on weekends with Aquaponics. “Most people with a little handyman skills like to assemble it themselves,” says Murray, but there are others who want everything delivered.
“We cater for everyone.” he says.
“The only thing if you buy our IBC CHOP2 system that you will need to source yourself are the concrete blocks and timber sleepers to hold the tanks in place. These things can be found in any hardware store.” he said.
But are there any problems with assembling the kits? Murray says most people that ring him usually have difficulty locating the pdf instructions that come on the DVD. “We usually explain where to find it and what software they need to view the file on their computer.” he says. “But the response has been great.” Murray says he continually gets fan mail and thank you emails in his inbox.
“If people follow the instructions they will build themselves a quality Aquaponics system.” said Murray. “But they have to follow the instructions. All the measurements and parts needed are on the disk.”
“And if they don’t want to build it they can buy just the parts they require from me.” he said.
Murray has recently created a special CHOP2 Toteponics forum on his website where owners of these systems can upload photos of their systems, shoot the breeze and ask questions. “I gives people tremendous confidence to see their own system producing great vegetables and fish at home.”
When Murray Hallam launched CHOP2 he wasn’t alone from some critics who said his design was flawed because he recirculated the water in the system in an unusual way. “Some people said that the fish would go blind!” laughed Murray, “It’s a total furphy because some of the suspended solids get returned to the fish tank!”
But all the solids are eventually filtered through the growbeds as normal and 18 months later the fish have been harvested and the vegetables replanted.
“We currently have lettuce, asian greens, a mustard bush, tomatoes and an aloe vera plant transplanted from one of my other systems.” he said.
Being an innovator Murray has begun testing the juice from black soldier fly larvae as a source of nutrient for aquaponics. “I’m using it in the same way you would add worm-juice to a system.” He adds. “I want to see how well it performs.”
So are there any secrets under wraps that we can divulge to our readers? Murray teases us with his mischievous grin. “I got a new Aquaponics system design based on CHOP2 – and its a little beauty, but I can’t say anymore!”
Like a lot of Murray’s inventions – he wont release any more information until he knows it works.