Aquaponics is a very unique way of growing plants, vegetables or fruits using a combination of fish and water. The beauty of an aquaponics system is that unlike traditional gardening, Aquaponics is a pretty much hands off system. You just set it up once and it takes care of itself with very little maintenance.
One of the secrets to succeeding with aquaponics is getting the right balance between the hydroponics and aquaculture system. You will need to choose the correct plants and fish that will co-exist productively in a symbiotic relationship.
To understand Aquaponics, one needs to have a good grasp of the fundamental principles. The fish and plants are interdependent on each other.
The first part of the system is the aquaculture. This is basically a tank, pond or other location you use to keep the fish in. The fish are fed and live in the aquaculture system.
The second part of the system is the hydroponics. This will be where the plants are grown. Most often, the plants will be placed in a manner where the roots hang out so that they can absorb the water from the aquaculture system.
Imagine having a fish tank with fish swimming around in it. With time, the waste from the fish will build up and start to pollute the water. In most cases, the water is replaced. In Aquaponics, the water is fed to the plants. The plants will filter the waste water by using the waste as nutrients to grow.
The filtered water is then pumped back into the tank. So, the tank water is clean the plants have gotten their nutrients. That’s two birds with one stone and it’s barely any effort on the human end.
Another piece of equipment crucial to the aquaponics system is a bio filter. The bio filter will convert the ammonia in the fish’s waste water into nitrates which the plants will use as food. All waste water being sent to the plants must go through the bio filter nitrification process. This is essential.
The last part of the aquaponics system is the extra equipment you may need such as a good quality aquaponics pump, sump tank, solid waste filter, etc. The pump will assist to pump the water through the bio filter and to the plants. The filter will also remove solid waste that the bio filter cannot. Most of these are one time investments that will last a long time and you will definitely get value for money in the long run.
The location of your aquaponics system will play a part in its success. It will need to be located where it receives sunlight periodically. It is often said that having an aquaponics system under a tree is ideal. That being said, one will also need to choose the right seeds and monitor the system every now and then to make sure that everything is running smoothly.
On a final note, Aquaponics is a low cost system that will produce organic, chemical-free fruits and vegetables easily and abundantly.