Filip Toška runs an aquaponic farm, Hausnatura, on the first floor of a former telephone exchange in Bratislava’s Petržalka district (Slovakia), growing salads and herbs.
“Building a hydroponic farm is easy, but to maintain the entire system so that the plants have everything they need and will grow is very difficult,” said Toška. “There’s a whole science behind it.”
From fish to nutrient solution
Toška built his first aquaponic growing system in the basement of a block of flats in Petržalka more than ten years ago. One of his inspirations was Australian farmer Murray Hallam, who makes aquaponic farms that people can set up in the garden or on the balcony of their own homes.
Toška’s system comprised a tank in which he kept fish and, in the other part of the system, grew tomatoes, strawberries, and cucumbers at first for his own consumption.
“There’s a lot of potential in this system as the measurement of temperature, humidity, and other parameters can be very well automated,” explained Toška, who is a graduate of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics.
Not long afterwards, and with the help of a Slovak investor, he set up the Hausnatura farm. He no longer breeds fish – he says aquaponic cultivation created problems in reacting to surges or falls in demand for the farm’s vegetables – and has switched to hydroponics.
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