If you are short on time and space but still want a garden, you should consider aquaponics. This may sound intimidating but aquaponics kits are remarkably simple to set up and manage. Systems for the home take up very little space and require a minimum amount of maintenance.
Growing plants using aquaponics is a derivative of hydroponics – that is using water rather than soil as a growing medium. Aquaponics solves the problem of fertilizing the plants by using fish. The basic configuration of any aquaponics rig is a tank or a pond, containing fish, with a growing container located above. The fish produce excrement which is converted by bacteria into nutrients. The nutrient rich water is pumped up to feed the plants. Some systems are even simpler and the roots of the plants are directly exposed to the water. Whatever the system, it is beneficial to both the fish and the plants. The plants are fed and in return they filter and purify the water in the tank. You just have to feed the fish and make sure that the tank is kept topped up with water.
There are a number of different aquaponics kits available to purchase and choosing the right one can be daunting. We have selected some of the best for consideration. Read on to find out more.
1. Back to the Roots Mini Aqua Garden
This miniature aquaponics system is ideal for growing herbs and microgreens in a limited space. The unit comprises a small fish tank with a planter unit on top. The nutrient rich water in the tank is pumped up to irrigate the plants. It comes complete except for a fish but a coupon is supplied so that you can choose one.
2. AquaSprouts Aquaponic Planter
The AquaSprouts Planter unit is designed to fit on top of a standard 10 gallon aquarium set up. The grow bed is filled with clay pebbles which readily absorb the nitrate rich water that is pumped from the tank. This provides an ideal growing medium for heathy plants. It comes complete with a removable lighting bar for you to attach a grow light of your choice.
3. Penn Plax Plant Growing Fish Tank
This aquaponic fish tank is an inexpensive and simple option to grow a single plant, such as mint or watercress. You can of course add extra units according to the available space. It consists of a cylinder-shaped plastic tank, which is suitable for one fish, and a plant holder lid, containing ceramic growing media. The roots of the plant grow through the water absorbent pebbles and into the water, so there is no need for a pump.
4. Eco Qube C Decorative Aquarium
The Eco QUbe aquarium is not only a proficient aquaponics rig but a very stylish room decoration. You set it up as a normal aquarium with gravel, aquatic plants, ornaments and a fish; it is designed for a single Betta fish. The built-in pump draws nitrate infused water from the tank up to the planter unit on top. It comes with basil seeds for sprouting. The plant and the fish benefit from an integrated overhead LED lighting unit, which can be set on a timer.
5. G&B Floating Pond Planter Island
This is a smart option if you already have, or are planning, a koi pond in your yard. It is a set of 7 planters that fix together to form a floating island. It is modular so you can add more units to form a larger platform. The planters are designed so that the roots of the plants come into direct contact with the water. The waste produced by the fish enriches the water with nutrients and this fertilizes the plants. The fish benefit from the shade created by the assembly of drifting planter baskets.
If you want to grow healthy edible plants in a straightforward and efficient way but you are short of time or space, or have poor natural light, aquaponics kits are a great solution. From the small sample above, you can see they come in a variety of sizes and styles so there really is something for everyone.
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