Aquaponics How To System
Aquaponics is a very exciting new and easy way to grow your own fresh and healthy organic vegetables without all of the messy hard work of a regular garden.
This fun new simple growing method produces up to 10 times more organic produce in half the time of a conventional garden.
The beauty of this system is that it is completely scaleable so that you can create an aquaponics system that is as big or small as you desire, for more information, visit the following links:
Aquaponics, sometimes written as aqua ponics, is the science of producing sustainable food combining traditional aquaculture with hydroponics in a mutually beneficial environment, which will be discussed in this aquaponics how to article. To understand aquaponics it is important to know the meaning of the two subsystems involved. Aquaculture is the raising of aquatic animals such as fish, prawns, crayfish, etc. in tanks. Hydroponics involves cultivating plants in water.
These two systems are merged together to form a unique environment that leads to a synergetic relationship between animals and plants. There are evidences of aquaponic gardening in the Aztec civilization, where plants were grown on island like structures filled with waste materials from canals.
Oriental countries like China and Thailand have been using similar aquaponic plans for generations. Their paddy fields grow fish. Scientists and farmers all around the world have realized the advantages of these poly-cultural farming methods and are employing them vigorously.
Aquaponics how to make it work
The merging of two subsystems results in the creation of a favorable growth setting with minimum fluctuation in ambient nutrient and oxygen levels with heightened productivity.
Hydroponic systems depend on the usage of man-made nutrients for the ideal growth of plants. These nutrients are a precise combination of different chemicals, salts and other elements, which creates the optimal balance. The water built up in this system needs to be drained off periodically because the salts and chemicals react to produce toxic products for the plants.
On the other hand, aquaculture involves a large quantity of fish in comparatively small amount of water. These high stocking rates and closed circulation system often lead to the pollution of the tank with high concentrations of ammonia. Again, water has to be drained from the tank at least once each day.
Aquaponics combines these two systems to its advantage. It uses the plants and the means in which they grow to detoxify and purify the fish effluent water from the fish tanks and after purification the water is brought back to the fish tank. The water from the fish tanks is in turn highly nutritious for the optimum growth of the plants. Therefore, nothing is wasted, the water from each system can be reused and only requires a small amount of fresh water to be added periodically, to compensate for the loss of water due evaporation.
The plants are grown in this system with the roots submerged in the nutritious water from the fish tank, which facilitates the filtering of the toxic ammonia. When the water passes through this aquaponics system, it is detoxified and oxygenated enough to return back to the aquaculture containers. This is a continuous cycle. Some common applications of the aquaponics systems are:
- Deep-water aquaponics system: which is basically Styrofoamrafts that float on the water in deeper aquaculture troughs
- Recirculating aquaponics system: with solid media such asgravel, or clay beds in containers filled with water from aquaculture.
- Reciprocating aquaponics system: here the solid mediacontainer is intermittently flooded and drained.
- Other systems have top fed towers with nutrient-film channels.The PVC pipes are fitted with holes for pots or barrels, which are then filled with either gravel or rafts.
The aquaponics system grows most green leafy vegetables, but the most profitable varieties are Chinese cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, okra, cantaloupe and bell peppers. Other types of vegetables that flourish in an aquaponics how to system include onions, taro, beans, kohlrabi, watercress, peas, turnips, parsnips, radishes, strawberries, melons, sweet potato and herbs.
Since the quantity of minerals and nutrients vary according to the different stages of growth of the plants, their harvesting is spread out; seedlings are grown at the same time as developing plants. This safeguards the stability of the amount of nutrient in the water due to the continuous symbiotic relationship, which cleanses impurities from the water.
Freshwater fish are the species most commonly raised in this system. But fish like crayfish and prawns are also grown. Tilapia is a favorite choice for both domestic and marketable projects that aim at raising edible fish. Some of the other varieties are barramundi, Silver Perch, or Eel-tailed catfish, Jade perch and Murray cod.
For moderate climates where it is difficult to maintain the water temperature the production of bluegill and catfish are suitable for domestic or non-commercial systems. Inedible aquaculture subsystems typically use fish species like Koi and goldfish.
Aquaponics System Advantages
Some of the unique benefits of this system are:
- Constant conservation of water
- Organic fertilization of plants with natural products like fish effluent
- Elimination of solid waste disposal from aquaculture
- Reduction in solid land for crop production
- Reduction of environmental footprint
- Reduction of pathogens
Aquaponics how to do it yourself
There are some deterrents that may discourage you from creating your own backyard Aquaponics system. Most of the aquaponics system design depends heavily on man-made energy, technological solutions, and constant environmental monitoring; the initial investment in infrastructure is also worth considering. Therefore, the aquaponics system plans have to be highly efficient, maximizing energy conservation and minimizing risks. Once you have acquired the necessary aquaponic supplies and the right Aquaponics plans, getting involved in DIY aquaponics will surely yield fruitful results.
There are several aquaponics forum that can guide you in the process. Some great aquaponics starter kits are also available in the market that can help you set up a very basic system with inexpensive supplies and provide you with the needed experience and confidence to initiate a bigger and more complex project.
The three main components of this practice are water, food given to the fish, and energy to force water between the two subsystems. There are several products available to ensure the successful functioning of these systems. Some of the supplies needed for a basic home aquaponics project include:
- Rootcubes, which are specially designed foam for hydroponics subsystems.
- Netpots, with plastic mesh around the edges and across the bottom.
- Hydrokorrels, these are kiln-fired clay pebbled with favorable pH values.
- Plant starter nutrients.
- High protein fish foods, which promote rapid growth in fish.
- Plumbing parts, such as bulkhead fittings, etc.
- And finally, aquaponics aeration systems, which could include tank, aerator, tubediffuser, etc.
Before initiating an aquaponics project make sure that the size of the aquaponic fish tank is right for the desired fish species and relevant to the space. The selection of the correct water pump and filtration system is vital as it should be able to maintain the stability of the nutrient and oxygen levels.
A more complex system design will require more maintenance time. Some people prefer using recycled materials to build the structure for their projects as they are cheaper but in such cases make sure to check the previous contents of the containers.
The benefits and profitable outcomes of an aquaponics how to system can definitely outweigh the constraints. When managed efficiently, an aquaponics system can persistently yield produce. This could be the vegetables grown in the hydroponics subsystem, and edible fish and other aquatic species bred in an aquaculture subsystem.