Aquaponics is the integration of raising aquatic animals such as fish with hydroponics, the growth of plants in a water environment. It is a sustainable system that will produce healthy vegetables through the processing of fish effluent, which is high in nutrient content.
How it Works
Developing an aquaponics system is beneficial in many ways, both from the perspective of aquaculture and hydroponics. When you raise fish in a tank, for example, toxins from fish effluent build up in the water. A filtration system is required to constantly clean the water so the fish can live and breathe. If the water is not cleaned, eventually the fish will die. In hydroponics, nutrients are added to water or soil in order to provide food sustenance for plants to grow robustly. With the combination of these two systems, the nutrients from the fish waste are processed and used as food for the plants to grow. Nitrates are also filtered from the water by the plants so the water is kept clean and waste-free for the fish. Nutrients from fish waste are ideal, and additional fertilizers are seldom needed.
Fish effluent contains ammonia, which is a chemical compound composed of nitrogen and hydrogen molecules. The ammonia from fish waste products is broken down by bacteria and converted into nitrates to be used for nourishment by plants. When beginning a new aquaponics system, water is not ready to be used by plants for approximately one month. It takes this long for the necessary bacteria levels to be established and nitrate levels built up. Sometimes there will be deficiencies in nutrient content based on various plant needs, and one method of supplementing this is through the use of seaweed extracts.
Components of Aquaponics
1. A fish tank or pond.
2. A bed where plants are grown. It is usually filled with gravel.
3. A small pump for water to be sent from the fish tank to the plant bed.
4. Piping for travel between tank, pumps, and beds.
5. Water for draining back into fish tank.
The simplest system involves a “floating medium bed.” Plants are anchored on the surface while roots remain submerged in the nutrient solution. Water is circulated through holes, and no pumping or piping is necessary for this system. Of course, there are many options in how you set up your aquaponics system. Aquaponics systems are easily scalable, so you can always expand or develop a system once it is started. Aquaponics is a great way to provide vegetables or herbs for your family, while a more elaborate commercial scale system can provide organic vegetables for markets.
Once your system is in place, maintenance is simple and manageable. Caring for your system involves simply feeding the fish and planting and harvesting your vegetables.
Benefits of Aquaponics System
1. 100% eco-friendly. There are no chemicals or fertilizers used.
2. Versatile, self-sufficient and rewarding.
3. You can have a small, simple system, or scale as large as desired.
4. Produces robust, organic vegetables and fish for consumption.
3. Requires much less work than traditional soil-based gardening.
Establishing your own home-based aquaponics system is not an overwhelming challenge. Equipment and advice is readily available, and the concepts are straightforward. it is very rewarding to be able to produce healthy, lush vegetables in your own backyard.
What to Consider When Building Aquaponic System
The following are some factors that you must take into condideration when building an aquaponic system;
The location where you will choose to put the aquaponic system is very vital for the way in which the fish and the plants will develop. If you want to obtain good results, you should ensure that the temperature in the room is neither too low nor high, that there’s sufficient light to allow the plants prepare food. In addition, ensure that extreme weather conditions can reach them. Make sure that no harmful chemicals will get inside the tank as this may result into the death for both your plants and your fish.
2. Oxygenizing the water
Healthier fish will mean a well functioning system! This is why it’s crucial to oxygenize the water daily and also make sure that your fish have got all the comfort they need.
3. Choosing the fish accordingly
The aquaponic system will work well with many types of fish. Yet, there are some states in which you are actually not allowed to rear any type of fish you want. This means that you should check for what types of fish you can rear before starting the aquaponic system. This will put you on the safe side of the law.
4. Placing the pots
In order to make the process of harvesting much easier, you will want to place your pots or the whole system at your waist level. This way, you will not need to bend over. This will make the daily care routine much easier activity.
5. Adding additives
There are some cases whereby the fish may not actually provide all the required nutrients necessary for your plants. The quantity becomes lower than what your plants need. In this case, you should supply the plants with the respective nutrients. In many cases, you will have to add calcium carbonate, iron or potassium carbonate. These will increase the nutrient content for survival of your plants.
These are the most important factors to consider when setting up an aquaponic system. Aquaponics is an activity which can provide you and your family the necessary fish and vegetables in a short time.
This new approach of food production might still be new, not really being implemented yet in many homes. Even so, with enough knowledge, you can begin setting up one. The kids will be happy in seeing the way the plants and aquatic animals grow in the water through the aquaponics systems. And with the success of the process, there’s no doubt that today many entrepreneurs have begun to explore a good agri-business utilizing the aquaponics systems. It is an eco-friendly system and actually can be a great way to increase family income. Make sure that you follow the above-mentioned factors when creating one so that the project may succeed.
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