Senior Kevin Jiang and Junior Brandon Dee both have a BFF…a backyard fish farm. And, like some BFFs, of the other variety, they require much attention and constant care.
“I feed the fish duckweed twice a day and change the water every Sunday,” Dee said.
The original idea of creating a fish farm started when APES teacher Mr. Dorr spurred the students’ thinking at the beginning of the year for a project that would take place in the third trimester.
“The purpose of the project was to go out into the community to create your own experiment to demonstrate sustainability and to benefit the environment,” Jiang said. “Mr. Dorr talked a lot about how tilapia is very sustainable and very easy to grow. Since this project is focused on finding sustainable options, I thought, why not.”
Although Dee had not originally planned on creating a tilapia farm, he eventually warmed to the idea.
“To be honest, I chose this project because my sister told me my original project was lame and introduced me to the idea of starting an aquaponics system, which after doing some research on it, I saw that it was really interesting,” Dee said, “The project is a combination of an aquaculture and a hydroponic where I grow plants and fish together.”
In order to ensure that each of their backyard fish farms went off without a hitch, the two APES students sought help from professionals, one in particular, Tilapia Mama. Tilapia Mama is a fellow San Diegan who has been dedicated to raising and breeding tilapia in her home for ten years.
“It was very interesting in that I learned some valuable information about managing an aquaponics system and bought fish from a woman at her house,” Dee said.
Even though these farms both have the same beginnings, they each have or are soon to have very different endings.
“I haven’t decided [what I’m going to do with them] yet but until they are fully grown they will remain as pets,” Dee said.
Whereas, Jiang plans to take a different route, using the fish as food.
“It was a great project, simple and fun,” Jiang said, “It would be fun to start at a local elementary school, where you could grow your own food. It takes a little longer than most foods I guess. But it’s always rewarding to eat the own food you grow.”