Episode-622- Tawnya Sawyer on Aquaponics

Tawyna Sawyer of Colorado Aquaponics

Today we are joined by Tawnya Sawyer of Colorado Aquaponics.  Tawnya is a Colorado native who grew up in the mountains raising plants and animals for food.

Tawnya is passionate about changing both the quality of the food available and the demands placed on natural resources for food production.

Colorado Aquaponics grows local food, designs and builds aquaponics systems, provides project management services and delivers educational programs.  They provide services to individuals, families and communities who want to take charge of their own sustainable food production.

Join Tawnya and I Today as we discuss…

  • How aquaponics differs from aquaculture and hydroponics
  • How aquaponics moves you closer to a “closed loop system”
  • Species of fish to consider for your aquaponics system
  • Timer based vs flush and drain systems
  • The need for back up systems to prevent fish loss
  • The advantages of fish as a protein source over small mammals
  • Using aquaponics for backyard and hobby producers
  • Heating options for fish that require it such as tilapia
  • Acquiring fish from a hatchery vs. breeding your own
  • Self provided food options such as duckweed, worms and black solider larva

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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18 Responses to Episode-622- Tawnya Sawyer on Aquaponics

  1. Wow, really smart lady! Thanks.

  2. Fascinating. Would love to try this… Thank you!

  3. Awesome guest, Jack! She knows her stuff, she conveys high-level information with utter ease, and is always very human and accessible while speaking. She actually strikes me as the kind of guest who would probably be interviewed on the NPR news show “Fresh Air.” (Not kidding.) And I know how much you LOVE listening to “Fresh Air.” (Okay, NOW I’m kidding.)

    Definitely ask her back some time soon.

  4. Can you tell us how you kill fish? You said you’d put it in the show notes, but I don’t see it. Thanks. Great interview.

  5. I’m guessing it has something to do with a .45 and pepper spray. Tenderize and season them all at once!

    Seriously though, awesome show. All my questions were answered.


    • Modern Survival

      @Jason nope.

      @ShellyB, I have an old hickory handle for a hammer, the top cracked and I just cut the cracked part off. I have a lanyard around the top side where the hammer head used to be. I call it my “catfish fixer” one good crack between the eyes and they just straiten out and it is kind of over. Based on the effect on large channel cats I figure it will do a good job of “fixin” tilapia despite Tawnya’s warnings about their ability to survive.

  6. Awesome. I caught my first catfish last fall and have been loathe to go fishing again since then because of 3 failed attempts at shoving a knife through its brain to kill it. Poor fish died a long slow death. 🙁

  7. Awesome show, Jack.

    I listen to every podcast once. This was so great and had so much information that I am in the process of listening to it for a second time.

    I want to give it a try but want to start with a small system. So if anyone has a good write up on that little system that she spoke about feeding her family a salad 5 days a week, I’d love to see it.

  8. She mentioned that if you leave mating aged fish together you’d end up with a bunch of babies and would have to give them away. Is there a reason they can’t be used as fertilizer in the garden or as chicken/duck feed?

  9. Awesome show. I almost skipped it thinking
    that it wouldn’t be something I’d be interested in.
    I am really exited to start researching this for
    my backyard.

  10. I wanted to build a greenhouse for aquaponics, but my wife overruled me on that one. She said it was too much expense for something I’ve never done before. But,Tawnya mentioned a goldfish aquarium and lettuce. I’ve talked my wife into a smaller set up, in the house. An old tank from her folks (after cleaning), some fish from the pet store, parts I have from an uncompleted hydroponics set, spinach seeds and grow lights. I’ve even got an old microwave cart I’m going to set all this up on. Hoping to have this all put together soon. Wish me luck!

    • Good luck with your setup. When you get it all set up, please share with the rest of us. That’s exactly what I’m looking to do.

  11. Great show Jack, Tanya is a great guest. I’m interested in aquaponics and have started a greenhouse and have an old hot tub. After hearing about the temperature range for tilapia I’m going to build an adjacent shade structure for the fish. I don’t want them to bake in the Texas sun. I’ll save that for the kitchen. Thanks the show was a school of info.

  12. I am a bit behind, but I wanted to say that this has been one of the top ten shows….

  13. zackandjen2004

    Would it be possible to get Tanya on again? Perhaps for a more specific show on troubleshooting or system design? GREAT guest. This show is definitely on the greatest hits list.

  14. Very informative, but, most of us are already sold on aquaculture and would like more information as to how to actually set up these systems. ie the mechanics of it..What is required how to do the ebb n flow and how and where to add the lines. oxygenator more details on how to heat, etc.. Please have her back she is a wealth of information.