Do you feel concerned at being unable to grow your dream garden due to adverse weather conditions or lack of ample outdoor space? There is no need to be deterred from your goal of growing your own food. You can conquer these hurdles by utilizing aquaponics, which enables you to start harvesting home-grown food wherever you want, including indoor locations.
What Is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics has been developed as a variation of hydroponics and relies upon fish to produce various important nutrients. A hydroponic setup utilizes water as a plant growing medium, instead of soil or dirt. A typical aquaponic rig allows you to grow plants either next to or on the top of a fish tank. The fishes in the water tank generate waste, which is broken down by the present bacteria into nutrients, minerals, and nitrates that can be used by the plants. You can have water delivered to your plants by either directly exposing their roots to the water in the tank or by using a pump. A growing bed houses the plants, which are grown in water absorbant, clay or gravel pellets.
What Equipment Do You Need?
That’s a good question! The answer is dependent on the kind of aquaponics that you’re intending to use. There are three popular setups: deep-water culture, media beds and nutrient film. While all types of aquaponics need water tanks to house the fish, the overall size of the kit is dependent on the breed and number of fishes to be housed in the tank.
Deepwater setups are the simplest and use planters, which either float on the water or are located on the tank, at water level. The roots of the plants get exposed directly to the water, eliminating the requirement for a water rig and pump.
Media bed systems have planters, which are located either on the top of or alongside the fish tank. The water tank also houses the pump, which has lines running all the way from the tank to a special watering assembly located above the plants. The pump setup and watering unit facilitate the delivery of water to the plants, from your tank. Placing the media bed on top of your fish tank ensures that the water in the tank is cleaned and replenished, after filtering through your plants.
Nutrient film systems are a hybrid between these two setups. With this arrangement, water is pumped through PVC pipes from the tank. The pipes have tiny holes drilled into them, which permit the roots of the plants to grow through them. The plants absorb nutrients from the water as it flows through these pipes.
What Are the Most Popular Aquaponic Fish?
There are no hard and fast rules regarding the best choice of fish for your system. Just about any fish will suffice. Having said that, we think tilapia fishes make an excellent first choice, since they require the least amount of maintenance, don’t often transmit any diseases, and are highly resilient. Tilapia are a great choice if you would also like to consume the fish. You may also look to use carp, koi, or goldfishes.
Which Plants are Best to Grow With Aquaponics?
Aquaponics allows you to grow the very same plants that you’d have chosen to produce in conventional soil. However, some plants are undoubtedly better suited being grown aquaponically than others. Mint, basil, and green leafy veggies, such as lettuce, grow well in an aquaponic setup. You could also consider growing cucumbers, beans, squash, tomatoes, and other such vining plants.
What Are The Advantages Of Using Aquaponics?
Aquaponics doesn’t require as much maintenance as traditional growing techniques. You raise plants and fish together and the latter can either be kept as pets or serve as an additional source of food.
Cultivation of plants in an aquaponic system lends itself to growing food organically. Pests are generally less of a problem, because of the controlled environment, but care should be taken not to use chemicals for pest control. These can harm your fish and damage the rig. It is far better to enlist the help of natural predators, such as ladybugs, to wipe out any pests that do arise.
An Aquaponic rig can help you pursue your gardening dreams even if you have restrictions on outdoor space or unfavorable climatic conditions, that handicap your ability to grow your food by more conventional methods. Such a system is easy to establish and ongoing maintenance is minimal, so it can save you a lot of time and effort. You can dip your toe into the water by checking out the many home aquaponics kits.
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