Aquaponic system is highly beneficial to leisure gardeners and farmers because it produces healthy nutrition for your family while providing a secondary source of income.
You can build a mini aquaponic system in your backyard or shed with great results.
Backyard farming provides different opportunities for both commercial and home use. It is possible to combine different farming methods in a simple and interesting way to the benefit of each produce.
Aquaponics gardening can be used to grow edible vegetables and fish at the same time. The system maximizes the potential of both plants and aquatic life.
You can combine aquaculture and hydroponic system which refers to growing plant and vegetable without the aid of soil. The system works because the fish provides the waste for the plants while the plants act as filters keeping the water clean.
Other elements that make Aquaponics work are red worms and bacteria. Fish waste is full of poisonous ammonia which is dangerous to them if found in concentrated form in the water.
Large quantities of ammonia cause poor respiration and eventually death in fish. Bacteria found in Aquaponics culture converts this deadly ammonia found in fish waste into nitrates.
The nitrates produced by the bacteria are used by the plants as food and is harmless to fish. While red worms breakdown the decaying plants into compost.
Things to consider before starting an aquaponic project
There are important things to note before starting your aquaponic system. You have to consider the size, location, design, type of plants and fish. Others are equipment, components, and planning your aquaponic system.
You can either do it yourself or buy a ready-made system. Other considerations are the cost of materials for your system. However, building the system yourself saves money but buying one outright saves time and is a very good idea.
The major advantage of building a system from scratch is gratification, satisfaction and intimate knowledge of the mechanics of the system.
A Simple Aquaponic system
A basic aquaponic system is the flow of water from fish tank to plant and from plant to tank. It is simply the movement and distribution of water between two components.
Materials needed for your system
The materials needed for your tank are fish pond, sump tank, garden and pumps. Additional equipment is timer, air pumps, filters, tubing, plant trays and media.
The fish tank is for growing the fish and garden to grow plants. The fish tank provides the water and nutrients for the plant while the garden provides water for the pond.
The garden might use a deep water culture system, drain system or continuous flow system. The sump tank collects the water from the garden before to proceeds to the fish tank.
The pump is used to control the flow of water throughout your system.
Location and size
Aquaponic systems come in various sizes and designs for a small mini farm or commercial venture.
You can locate your aquaponic system either outside or indoors. Out door locations are your garden, your balcony, backyard or open field. Other outdoor locations include the porch, veranda, and side/front of house.
Indoor locations are the garage, kitchen, basement, spare room, and store. The only rule to indoor aquaponic is that it should have a minimum of seven hours of sunlight daily.
The use of hydroponic grow light is an alternative to sunlight.
Recommended plants and fish in Aquaponics
The fish and garden plants you select for your aquaponic should have similar water temperature requirements and PH levels. Vegetables thrive in aquaponic systems if paired with fresh water fish.
Type of fish grown in an aquaponic system
Any edible fresh water fish is easily grown in an aquaponic system. Common fish grown are trout, bluegill, Tilapia, and catfish. But if you just want decorative fish then Goldfish and Koi will do nicely.
The temperature of the water in your aquaponic system depends on the type of fish you farm. Select the type of fish according to the temperature you wish to keep.
A list of fresh water fish you can introduce to your system are sunfish, goldfish, koi, blue gill, and tilapia. Others are bass, catfish, yellow and golden perch
Fish in aquaponic system
1 Gold fish
4 Yellow perch
9 Blue gill
Plant grown in aquaponic gardens
Not all plants are suitable for aquaponic system but there are a few that grow nicely. Some are plants like lettuce, mint, watercress, tomatoes, and pepper. Others are broccoli, cabbage, squash beans and peas.
Facts about aquaponic
Aquaponic gardening conserves water less water than regular gardening. Integrating two crops for the price of one reduces overhead costs.
The system is very efficient and produces more per square feet. The design is flexible and is located anywhere there is adequate sunlight.
You don’t need expensive fertilizer, less water and little soil/no soil. Aquaponic is highly organic, works for both home and commercial application.
They are easy to setup, fun and a very efficient system.
Best Aquaponic Equipment of the Year
Supreme-Hydroponics 40138 Submersible and Inline Use Pumps with Venturi, 1800-Gallon
Maximum Flow Rate is 1800-Gallon per hour
Maximum Pumping Height is 15.5 feet
10 foot power Cord
3/4 inch FPT Inlet and MPT Outlet
Includes 3/4 inch Barbed Outlet Adaptor
Deep Water Culture Hydroponic Bubble Bucket Kit 4,5-10” Gallons
- Easy to use complete Deep Water Culture Hydroponic System! 4 Growing Sites!
- Deep Water Kit Includes Air pump, air lines, air stones, 10″ basket lids, (4) 5 gallon FDA buckets + 1 Year USA Warranty
- Each Deep Water Culture bucket includes a water level indicator and drain so water changes are easy!
- Easily grow plants to maturity with the PowerGrow Deep Water Culture Kit – Made in the USA!
- Let’s you grow 4 different plants to maturity in one system!
Supreme-Hydroponics 40526 High-Volume Air Pump
- Air Volume 5500 cubic Inch per Minute
- Maximum Water Depth 9.6 feet
- Watts 50 and pressure 5.66 psi
- Can accept 3/4 inch interior diameter Tubing to extend distance between Air Pump and Diffuser
- Has 14 Air Diffuser Outlet
Hydro Clay Pebbles (Leca) Orchid/Hydroponic Grow Media – 10 lbs. (More than 10 Liters)
- Perfect as a Hydroponic, Aquaponic, or general growing medium
- pH Neutral and inert and certified for Agricultural use
- Also great for Orchids and decoration
- Clay Pebbles provides excellent aeration and water retention
- Once of the time tested and most widely used growing medium.
PLANT!T GMC40l Clay Pebbles 40L 4mm-16mm
- Made from 100% natural clay, extremely stable in both pH and EC
- Pre-washed to aid in stability
- Drains freely and does not hold excess water, provides good oxygen levels around the root; suitable for flood and drain systems, multi-pot and drip feed systems
- Strong structural integrity means that they are less likely to break and compact, which helps to prevent dripper systems from getting blocked
- Not sold in OR