Kid Engineer: Growing Plants with Fish | Design Squad


♪ ♪ I’m Rikalize Reinecke,
I’m 14 years old. I live in South Africa,
Pretoria. My farm, I live with my father
and my mother, and then my little brother
Gertladewyk. My brother takes care
of the wild animals. It brings me into the nature, and I feel happy
when I’m feeding them. We have 13, 14 impalas. And we have around
about five nyalas. And I designed and built the
aquaculture and aquaponics farm. Let me show you. After I watched the movie
“Dolphin Tale,” I was so inspired I wanted
to become a marine biologist. But then I realized I can’t
become a marine biologist because over ten years
there won’t be enough fish in the sea left. Then I decided I needed to do
something to that problem. Aquaculture is basically
fish and water. So it would be a system with
filters that filter the water so the fish can stay
in that water. I first started with the fish,
but then I decided to do aquaponics, which is
plants and water and then fish. And the water that I use
from the aquaculture I can actually reuse
in the aquaponics because the waste of the fish
can be reused as fertilizer so that the plants can grow. So the fish is feeding
the plants. What the plants do is to help
to filter my water so that the fish
can grow faster. So how it works here
is the plant is planted in little buckets. The roots will grow through
the little bucket spaces, and then this little bucket
will just hang in this pipe, and the water will just flow
through the pipe. And then the plants,
it’s an extra filter system so that the water can be clean
for the fish. I have around about 17,000 fish. And in a year, it can produce
almost three tons of veggies. The taste is so much better
than any other veggie that you have ever tasted. Because they are 100% organic
with no growth hormones. This is “spinosie” in Afrikaans,
but in English it’s “spinach.” Over here is strawberries. In Afrikaans it’d be “arbeie.” I would call it
like finger lettuce. 80% of all the construction here
in my whole farm, I built it
with my own two hands. It’s around about
almost a kilometer of pipe in my whole system. I started with a straight line
of pipe like this, and then just adding an elbow,
just connecting it like that. And after that I will just
put another piece underneath and connect it
to the part below. And I drilled holes in it
so that the buckets of the plant can fit perfectly into the hole. My father welded the frame,
and then he just came and cable-tied the pipe onto
the frame so it won’t fall off. It took us about a month
to build everything. The plants will actually bring
me money in so then I can use that money to expand
my business more so that I can produce more fish. Most of the fish in here
are around about 500 grams, which is ready to harvest. After we harvest the fish,
they go to restaurants, chef schools, hotels,
supermarkets. This is my tunnel where I hold
all my long table dinners. What I do is I invite a culinary
school, and then all the chefs, they make different dishes
with all the veggies and the fish in my tunnels. So what happens is you have
the people come and they will sit
and have a great meal. And this is mostly for the
marketing of my business. My farm can produce
around about four tons of fish. My ultimate goal is to reach
ten tons of fish. So I am busy building
a second phase. I want to do this forever
and I want to be a fish farmer. I started my business
on the age of 12 years old. So you can be any age
to do something. If you have the passion
you can do anything.

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