*Please note that these pages are under construction, stuff may change at random and without warning! 

 Gunagulla Econatural Garden

Updated 16/4/2020

Gunagulla, Loomberah NSW - Live Weather

Aquaponics at Gunagulla

9500 litre aquaponics fish tank in spring 2016

 The 9500 litre tank of the larger aquaponics system can hold a few hundred Rainbow Trout. Generally fingerlings are collected from Arc-en-Ciel at Hanging Rock in late summer, and grown until December, but with a water chiller, they have been kept over summer, for a 2nd year of growing.
The ~2.3kW (input, COP ~2 - 3.5, depending on conditions) chiller is run in hot weather to keep the water temperature in the safe range for the trout. In very hot weather it needs to run for long hours, solar powered of course! In recent years summer temperatures have been at record high levels, so keeping trout over summer is becoming difficult, even with up to 10 hours of chiller operation per day.

The trout are harvested by catching them in a net, usually in the dark, and then tickled on the tummy until they don't try to escape, at which point they can be lifted out of the water with minimal struggling, and then whacked on the head with a rolling pin. This less stressful method of dispatch (no thrashing about trying to escape from my hands) leads to better tasting fish, and less stress on the person doing the harvesting too, except when I whack my thumb! The trout are generally in the 500g to 1kg range after 9-10 months, but much larger after a 2nd year of growth, as can be seen below:

 Holding a 2.5kg Rainbow Trout
A 2.5kg trout harvested in November 2018, after 21 months in the tank.

A pair of trout harvested on 17th December 2015

A batch of trout harvested on 4th November 2016, ready for freezing

Seasonal Trout recipes can be found here

BBQ'd large trout (52cm, 1.7kg after gutting)  

Wicking bed beans
Wicking bed with beans, corn and moon & stars watermelons

Typical rhubarb harvest most weeks in late spring-summer

Several varieties of potatoes in the wicking beds, and in a bag of soil in a gravel grow bed in the background

1.6kg romanesco broccoli

1.6kg romanesco cauliflower from the small system, harvested 17/8/2015

Trout 20150406
215 Rainbow Trout in the 1000l tank attached to the small system, before transfer to the 9500l tank


Feeding trout Video (1280 X 720 - 37MB) Trout feeding frenzy 16/9/2017  

Swimming trout Video (1280 X 720 - 55MB) Trout swimming in the fish tank circulation current 29/10/2016  

Swimming trout Video (1280 X 720 - 37MB) Trout swimming around at sunset 10/10/2016  

A time-lapse animation from images I took from early May to early Aug 2013, showing the first 3 months vegetable growth and grow bed additions in the small system (800 X 536 - 9.8MB) 3 months of growth in 2013  

Feeding with lots of jumping trout in slow motion Video (1280 X 720 - 52MB) Trout feeding 15/5/2016  

Feeding frenzy in slow motion Video (1080 X 608 - 95MB) Trout feeding 15/4/2016  

Even without any pellets in my hand, the trout are very enthusiastic! Video (1280 X 720 - 8MB) Trout 2/3/2016  

Hand feeding the trout fingerlings in slow motion - Video (1080 X 608 - 37MB) Trout Feeding 28/2/2016

How to fillet a cooked trout in 30 seconds - Video (1280 X 720 - 40MB) Trout 29/1/2016

 Rainbow Trout feeding in Slow Motion - Video (1080 X 608 - 99MB) Trout 20/1/2016

 Rainbow Trout and Atlantic Salmon feeding in Slow Motion Video (1280 X 720 - 111MB) Trout and Salmon breakfast 22/5/2015

Video of a Murray Cod that appears to be unwell (1280 X 720 - 26MB) Unwell Murray Cod 17/4/2015

Trout Video (1280 X 720 - 15.7MB) ~200 Rainbow Trout in 1000l tank 6/4/2015

Trout breakfast time feeding Video (42MB) Rainbow Trout feeding in slow motion @1/4 speed 7/4/2015

Small size (320 X 240 - 30MB) Murray Cod having 60g of ox heart for breakfast 1st March 2015

Larger size (640 X 480 - 95MB) Murray Cod having 60g of ox heart for breakfast 1st March 2015

small- phone size (35MB) Murray Cod having 50g of ox heart for breakfast 23rd Jan 2015

Larger size (95MB) Murray Cod having 50g of ox heart for breakfast 23rd Jan 2015

The original system constructed in 2013 consists of a buried 4500 litre fish tank (run at not quite full). This system has a ~2000 litre sump tank, with 9  500 litre grow beds, variously planted with silverbeet, parsley, celery, garlic, beans, asparagas, coriander, beetroot, cauliflower, broccoli, romaneso, spring onions, chives, ginger, turmeric, fennel, tamarillo, rhubarb, peas, tomatoes  (160kg picked between xmas 2013 and 17th July 2014 from 8 plants), strawberries, eggplant, capsicum, Egyptian walking onion (aka tree onion), and a dwarf Red Dacca banana that has become huge and multiplied.  Snow and heavy frosts in July-August 2015 really knocked the banana about for a few months, but by late 2015 it was looking healthy again.

In late 2018 the banana produced its first flower spike

bananas at last!

As the flower sheath peels back, the red dacca bananas and flowers are revealed

The aquaponics systems are proving to be a lot more productive than growing in the soil, and use a small fraction of the water. In summer 2012/13 the in-ground garden had to be abandoned due to the excessive amount of water required just to keep the plants alive, meaning we were close to running out of domestic water, which is only sourced from rainwater collected from the roof.

 In the first year of the small system in hot weather, keeping the system water under ~22 degrees for the trout was quite a challenge. Lots of ice was added to the fish tank on hot days, up to 65kg on a hot day, and the sides of the grow beds and grow media were mostly shaded. King Parrots discovered the aquaponics vegetables on 6th Nov 2013, so I've had to enclose the greenhouse and outside growbed with netting to prevent any more attacks on the vegetables.  Outside growbeds and wickbeds in the new system have netting over them to protect the vegetables from birds, including our chooks, who love chard.

Ongoing operational details such as water temperature plots and other photos (Latest update on last page) can be found here, and the larger system is linked in my sig:

Gunagulla Aquaponics Small System on Back Yard Aquaponics Forum 


 Aquaponics Greenhouse 3rd Nov 2013

Greenhouse 30/12/2014

Aquaponics Greenhouse 30th Dec 2014

Nov-Dec garlic harvest

Garlic harvest Nov-Dec 2014

Celery 20140723

Celery 23/7/2014, delicious raw or in soup!

 3 Tomato plants overflowing Grow Bed #8 17/12/2013

Yummy tomatoes!

Tomatoes from the plants above 24/12/2013

Tomatoes 18/1/2014

Some older videos of the first batch of trout 

November 2013 Trout having 2nd breakfast

July 2013 Trout eating 20g of 3mm pellets in 25 seconds

June 2013 Short MP4 movie of trout fingerlings (15MB)


2kg Cauliflower



Trout fingerlings 16/6/2013

Green Tree Frog on celery

Green Tree Frog on celery in Growbed #3, strawberries in background


 * Comet Lovejoy & other photos on Gordon Garradd's Astronomy and Photography Page

Gunagulla is powered by the sun and wind- see a time-lapse animation of the solar trackers in action

Check out a group of sawflies communicating as they travel







Comet Lovejoy & crescent moon in the morning twilight
(more images on Astronomy page link above)


Cherry Pie 15/12/2011

Shade cloth or fruit fly netting bags used to protect the fruit trees from Qld Fruit Fly and birds, 50% shade cloth bags over cherry trees in this view.


Cherries Dec 2010

Chooks + Barney the Barnevelder rooster in the cherry orchard

Ursa, the Ancona rooster, June 2012



Merlot the Rhode Island Red rooster, June 2012

Joey in a friendly wallaby's pouch

Crested Pigeon

Green Tree frog

Gecko eating a huntsman spider





South Celestial Pole, with Sydney (300km away) light pollution


The night sky from the top of the hill- 22nd March 1996
An All-sky photo showing the entire sky + horizon, with Comet Hyakutake near the bright star Arcturus, and also showing The Milky Way from horizon to horizon and Zodiacal Light, with Tamworth city lights on the NW horizon


Email Gordon here or Hether here
*** But make sure you use @ instead of AT, and lose the spaces ***
Phone Gordon on: Oh Fore Too Ate Six Nein Won Six Oh 3

Hether on: Oh Fore Oh Too Oh 7 Won Won Won Fore