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Tips for Managing AquaGrove During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Tips for Managing AquaGrove During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Under the weight of current conditions resulting from the novel coronavirus, the human population is experiencing unprecedented times on a global scale.  This pandemic has upended lives in many ways; from work, school and family life to scheduled events and healthcare, our daily lives and practices are being forced to change at a rapid pace.  All of us at AquaGrove have made adjustments to ensure our best safety practices are in place across all areas of our business and following guidelines as per the CDC, and we will continue to monitor the situation through the World Health Organization and media.  Our hearts and sympathies go out to everyone being impacted by COVID-19, and the AquaGrove family extends its wishes for health and safety to all of our growers, students and families across the globe.

As supplies become limited and the demand for food and basic necessities continues to rise, having a reliable source for fresh food has become increasingly more important.  At AquaGrove, we want to make sure that AquaGrove growers have a few tools to help manage their systems during these uncertain times.  From schools and restaurants to home growers and recreational gardeners, the ability to maintain or even access your AquaGrove may be a challenge based on new quarantine and business operation restrictions.  For this reason, here are a few resources to help you maintain the health of your system, even if time and/or accessibility are limited:

  1. Automatic Fish-Feeder – As with any garden, your AquaGrove requires a little time and care to stay healthy.  In aquaponics, healthy fish lead to a healthy garden, so your fish will still require their regular feedings (even if you aren’t growing plants).  If you are not able to access your AquaGrove on a daily basis, consider adding an automatic feeder to the lower tank.  Many automatic fish feeders come with easy to set timers and have options based on the size and frequency of the food that you use.  You can run a Google Search to find one that meets your needs, or choose a system that has already been successfully integrated into the AquaGrove, such as the one offered by Fish Mate.  You may also download instructions for integrating the feeder into your system here.
  2. Stagger Schedules – If you are still making daily trips to your system to feed and care for your fish, consider sharing the feeding schedule with other members of your team, staff or family.  By creating a schedule, you can split the time with others so that those with limited or no ability to access the system can rest assured knowing that the fish are still receiving the care that they require.  When sharing schedules, it is important to have a system and checklist visible and in place so that each visitor is aware of the amount of food, time and actions taken on the last visit.  A simple white board or clip board with dates and actions will do.  Each caretaker can simply sign to the date, time, and actions (feeding, filter, pH check, etc.) taken during every visit; this is also a good practice to have in place year-round so that feedings and maintenance schedules are adhered to in a timely manner.
  3. Practice Safe Cleaning – If there were ever a time that people were aware of hygiene and sanitation requirements, it is right now.  From handwashing to bleach-based cleaners and Lysol, germ busting disinfectants are sold out and being used by nearly everyone, in every space.  While this is important for our health and keeping surfaces and hands clean, it is equally as important to know where and when to use such cleaners.  The AquaGrove system is a closed-loop mini ecosystem, and a number of harsh chemicals can and will kill the fish and prove to be harmful to the plants.  By nature, aquaponics is an organic process; the reason it is guaranteed organic is due to the fact that chemicals and pesticides can and will end the lifecycle of both fish and plants.  For this reason, keep harsh chemicals away from the fish and consider only cleaning touch points with wipes and non-aerosol materials.  Handles, frames and buttons on fish feeders can all be sanitized in a safe manner without exposing your fish or veggies to toxic chemicals.  Visit the CDC website to view a list of disinfectants that have been recommended for use against SARS-CoV-2.

In addition to the above listed tips (and depending on your circumstances), you may also want to consider this time as a chance to clean your system and prepare for a new harvest.   It can be a useful activity for growers of all ages and give you something to look forward to in brighter days ahead.

AquaGrove wishes everyone safety, health and strength through this pandemic and will continue to serve as a resource for our growers and anyone interested in growing and learning through aquaponics.