As we have discussed in previous posts, aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics to grow organic and wholesome fruits and vegetables. Aquaculture is the growing of fish while hydroponics is growing plants without soil. Aquaponics is fast gaining popularity all over the world since it’s a relatively easy and inexpensive, low hassle system.
The great thing about aquaponics is that it does not use chemicals and requires a tenth of the water that is normally used to grow the same amount of plants in a garden or in soil. You will also be able to rest assured that the vegetables you produce do not contain toxic chemicals, insecticides or other harmful substances. There is also the pride in knowing you cultivated your very own veggies.
Before you start looking for equipment or buying materials, the first thing to do would be to plan carefully. The saying, failing to plan is planning to fail, holds true when setting up an aquaponics system.
Firstly, you’ll need to decide on how big or small your system is going to be. Aquaponics is scalable. You want to roughly have some idea of what you may wish to do in future. For example, if you start by creating a small aquaponics system and it turns out really well, you may wish to expand it. However, if you initially set it up in a small corner of the room, your plans may be constrained by a lack of space. Then you will have quite a bit of work to do. So, plan for the future.
You will also require a few pieces of equipment. Make sure your budget allows you to get this essential equipment. Don’t skimp on them. The success of the system will depend on how well your system works as a whole. It will pay to invest in a good pump and filtration system. All these little things make a big difference later on.
The aquaponics system itself is pretty much a hands off system. The only time you get involved is during the setup. Most problems that occur later on are due to mistakes made during the initial setup.
There are books and online videos available to help you get started with aquaponics. These guides will go into much greater depth and will shorten your learning curve. It would be a really good idea to have a solid grasp of the fundamentals of aquaponics before starting and discovering that you have no idea what you are doing.
Another point to note is that it may take some time to setup your aquaponics system. Do not attempt to rush it. This is an ecosystem that involves a delicate balance of plants and fish. You cant achieve this in 2 days. You will need to exercise patience in the construction, choice of fishes and vegetables you will grow. It may take a few weeks to get it all functioning well and smoothly. However, once it is done, its smooth sailing from then on.
The aquaponics system uses much less water as compared to traditional gardening and it involves way less work. So, put in the effort in the beginning and you will not have to put in much effort later but still reap fresh, organic vegetables.