Nile Tilapia

Aquaponic Greenhouse

NAD Lembeh is proud to be the first dive resort in the world which is growing it’s own produce in the most ecologically friendly way possible.

We have approximately 125m2 of growing space where we grow a variety of leafy greens, vegetables and fruits.  Through quite a lot of homework and head scratching Simon came up with this design and once mature it should provide us with enough home grown organic produce to keep up with our daily salads and if we are lucky a whole lot more.

The other awesome benefit of this is the fish… Tilapia are widely agreed to be one of the most ecologically friendly sources of fish (when grown privately without the use of poisons and antibiotics). Our standard policy is not to serve seafood unless it is requested, and this will blur those lines a little.

Having Eco-friendly home grown fish to serve to our guests is an important step for everyone in the tourism industry.  Fish are not a limitless supply and the sheer stupidity of serving visiting tourists reef fish has to stop.  Tilapia farmed in this way are a great alternative and do not cause any loss to the reef, and there is 0 pollution leaked into the environment.  Our closed loop system is a pioneering effort and we are already getting the local community interested in trying this out.

Note: The fish farms you pass on the way from the airport to Bitung have Tilapia in the ponds, but they are open loop.  This means all the excess nitrogen, food and chemicals leak into the local rivers potentially causing algal blooms, and worse still escaping Tilapia may displace local endemic fish.

Simon geeking out in the Shade-House

Aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in water).  It also involves a fair amount of science and geekery.

If you remember the Nitrogen Cycle in School, it’s basically that in a closed loop.

We grow our plants organically, using the broken down fish poop of our Tilapia to grow plants.  We do not use chemical pesticides, only natural remedies to get rid of pests.

Nile Tilapia in Lembeh

Nile Tilapia have been farmed for human consumption for about 3000 years.  They breed easily, have a bland tasting flesh ideal for cooking, and have a very fast growth rate which makes them perfect for our application in Aquaponics.

For those interested in fish, they are mouth brooding Cichlids, and yes, I will probably end up breeding them… But for now I want to go diving again :)

Lembeh Lettuce, Rucola and Mustard

Lettuce, Rucola, Mustard Leaf, Zucchini and various other plants growing in our aquaponics system get sung to every day by Simon.

Organic fresh veg is amazing!

Aquaponic Tomatoes

We are currently growing around 8 varieties of Tomato (including heirloom varieties) and over 20 types of Chilli.  And yes, we have a fruiting Carolina Reaper for those who want to test their spice tolerance!

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