Introduction: Hello gardeners are you planning to grow plants along with fish? well, we have a great information of Aquaponics Technique and benefits of using Aquaponics. Many definitions of Aquaponics recognize it as a type of hydroponics technique because of the word ‘ponics’ part of this word for hydroponics which is growing plants in water with a soil-less media.
Literally speaking, Aquaponics is putting fish to work for cultivating plants in this system. It just so happens because assimilates of fishes (eating and producing waste), is the perfect fertilizer for growing plants. The best part is fish can grow a lot of plants once they get acclimatized to the system and get set to work!.
A guide top Aquaponics technique, advantages and care
One of the unique things about Aquaponics is that it imitates a natural ecosystem. Aquaponics corresponds to the relationship between water, aquatic life, bacteria, nutrient dynamics, and plants. Taking inspiration from nature, Aquaponics exploit the power of bio-integrating these individual components: Exchanging the waste by-product from the fishes as a portion of food for the bacteria, to be converted into a perfect fertilizer for the developing plants, to return the water in a clean and safe form to the fish. Just like mother nature does in each aquatic ecosystem.
Aquaponics has nothing to do with modifying plants or changing the way plants develop. The plants will keep on growing naturally and go through all their growth phases they would have if they were planted in the ground conventionally. The only difference is the medium in which the plants are grown. With the Aquaponics system the plants obtain water and nutrients delivered directly to their roots so that they have sufficient nutrients to produce maximum growth. Instead of using harmful toxic chemical solutions to raise plants, Aquaponics utilizes highly nutritious fish effluent that contains all the required nutrients for most favorable plant growth. As a replacement for discharging water, Aquaponics uses the plants, naturally occurring bacteria, and the media in which they grow in to clean and purify the water, after which it is returned back to the fish tank. This used water can be reused further and will only require to be refilled if it is lost through transpiration from the plants and evaporation.
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Aquaponics has been famed as a game-changer in the era of modern gardening, let’s see how.
Advantages of Aquaponics
- The waist-high Aquaponic system helps to eliminate weeds
- Aquaponics relies on the recycling of nutrient-rich water constantly. In Aquaponics, there is no toxic run-off from either hydroponics or aquaculture system.
- Aquaponics utilizes about 1/10th of the water of soil-based gardening and even less water than hydroponics or re-circulating aquaculture.
- No harmful pesticides or herbicides can be used because it’s a natural ecosystem which means your plants will be free of chemicals.
- Gardening operations are cut down dramatically or eliminated. The Aquaponics grower is able to concentrate on the enjoyable tasks of feeding the fish and harvesting the plants.
- The Aquaponic system is portable and can be put anywhere, use them outdoors, in a greenhouse, in your basement, or in your living room. By installing grow-lighting, and space can become a productive garden.
- Once your system is set up properly and has a good balance, it will remain productive for years without any problem. With the low cost and simplicity of Aquaponic systems, they are quickly becoming a very popular way to cultivate homegrown vegetables and fish of garden quality.
- Aquaponic systems are scalable. They can fit most sizes and budgets, from small countertop herb systems to backyard gardens, to full-scale farms, Aquaponics can fit in all.
- And the best part is, in the end, you get to harvest both plants and fish from your Aquaponic garden.
- With an abundance of available oxygenated water and nutrients, plants can grow up closer together, permitting a number of times as much plant growth in a certain amount of space.
There are a few primary methods of Aquaponic growing widely in use today:
Aquaponics utilizes the framework of hydroponics and the only addition is culturing fishes.
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Deep water culture (DWC) or raft based growing utilizes a foam raft that is floating in a channel filled with fish effluent water that has been filtered to get rid of solid wastes. Plants are placed in holes in the raft and the roots are suspended freely in the water. This method is most suitable for growing salad greens and other fast-growing, relatively low-nutrient plants. It is also most frequently used in larger commercial-scale systems.
Media-based Aquaponics Media growing involves growing plants in inert planting media such as expanded clay pellets. The media offer both the biological filtration (conversion of ammonia to nitrates) as well as mechanical filtration (removal of solid wastes) in the same system. Media-based systems are great for home and hobby scale systems so you can raise a wide range of crops. In particular, large fruiting plants do truly well in addition to leafy greens, herbs and other varieties.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) NFT systems are based on flowing nutrient-rich water through a narrow trough, usually, PVC pipe is used. Plants are placed in holes drilled in this pipe, and the roots are suspended freely in this stream of flowing water. This method of growing works very well for plants that require little support, such as strawberries and other herbs. NFT is also a great way to make use of unused space because it can be hung above the other growing areas.
Vertical Aquaponics one of the greatest aspects of Aquaponics is its ability to grow a great amount of food in a very small area. No technique does this better than vertical Aquaponics. Plants are stacked on top of each other in tower systems. Water flows in through the top of the tower and flows through a wicking material that the plant’s roots absorb water and nutrients from it. The water then falls into a trough or straight into the fish tank. This form of Aquaponics makes the most of each square foot of space and works very well with leafy greens, strawberries, and other crops that do not have need of support to grow.
Tips on an Aquaponics garden set up
You can build your own Aquaponics system and here is an easy and complete guide you can use to make one. Start from small scale see if it’s work for you then go on for the bigger one.
- Have set a different power source as a backup. It is essential to keep the water flowing and the oxygen pumps on.
- Ensure you feed the fish in a sufficient amount and let them thrive. Exhaustion of fish stock makes this kind of cultivation impossible.
- Keep food input constant for the fish and that will result in regular fish waste you can make use of to feed your developing plants.
- Ensure your plants and fish are getting good aeration. Not only the plants require their roots to be oxygenated, but also, the fish and the bacteria need the water to be oxygenated. As the fishes grow bigger, their oxygen level has to be increased and you might need to adjust it accordingly.
- When you choose what plants you want to cultivate, pick the ones that have similar water conditions the same as the fish, and you will have greater success.
- Eliminate some excess fish waste when essential. Too much can affect the health of the fish.
- Keep an eye on the level of pH, it is crucial for the Aquaponic garden.
- Fish tanks should be made of glass or food-grade plastic so that observation is easy.
- Avoid using any pesticide other than organic, or any other substances that can harm the fish or the beneficial bacteria.
That’s all folks about Aquaponics technique and advantages. Keep growing plants along with fish.
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