If you are looking for an organic and sustainable method for growing food then Aquaponics should be high on your list of growing techniques. A very easy method to master and you will be able to, in no time at all, grasp the “how to” basic principles of the system which are primarily managing the ecological balance between the fish, their waste products and the filtration effect of the plants being grown and managing this ongoing but critical cycle.
The cycle of the pumping around the water containing the fish waste products and the movement of the water then in effect oxygenates it. Then the plants effectively filter out the fishes waste of things like ammonia and nitrates and you then pump the water back around to the fish to start this process all over again, and so it continues.
As you can imagine with an organic cycle of waste and filtration there is extremely little waste from the aquaponics system and moreover the actual nutrients from the feed and the fish act as viral components to the plants and the growing yield is increased probably 10 fold of that in a normal plant growing environment.
Aquaponics is now a popular choice for organic growing – the reasons?
You may be asking yourself why that if your main focus is on breeding fresh water fish then does it make sense to start growing organic plants (fruit and vegetables) as an extension to my hobby. The answer is most definitely yes and the benefits from combining keeping fish and growing plants can be seen more clearly when you look at the standard aquaculture system.
You may know that with a standard aqua-culture system the fish produce a great deal of waste products which include harmful nitrates and ammonia substrates which build up in the fish tank and can be potentially harmful to your fish.
A usual requirement of cleaning your aquaculture system is to get rid of the toxins and this means cycling out and removing a minimum of around 8% of the water (H2O) each and every day.
To do the very quick math on water removal and replacement you can estimate that if your fish tank contained a water volume of about 1000 liters then you would have to empty 80 litres each day. To then multiply the math it can be said that on an average month using the same water volume (1000 liters) then you would need to remove and replace around 2400 liters to keep your fish stock from dying.
It makes sense to build a home aquaponics system
It becomes very enticing and beneficial, having read and understood the above information on the necessary requirements of water replacement by using a standard aquaculture system, that using a hybrid home aquaponics method makes a great deal of common sense.
The added benefits of combining the systems will enable you to see sustainable organic produce flourish within only a couple of short months and you can not only have the personal food benefits but if your aquaponics setup is on a larger scale you can begin selling your food crop on a commercial basis and bring in some nice income.
On the subject of scaling your system it is worth mentioning that a smallish home aquaponic system can be easily maintained by a single individual or more commonly a couple who share this same hobby or pastime. A rule of thumb, and going on general research figures, a small aquaponics system will general contain about 2,500 litres of water and comprise of a basic fish tank with Tilapi fish, Carp, Koi, Trout can also be used but not as common. .
There are some basic system setup requirements which facilitate the circulation of the water between the fish tank and the plant beds primarily you will want the grow beds to be at a higher ground level to the tank. The reason for the raised grow beds is so the water that is filtered into the plants growing system can be very easily drained back down into the fish tank system, using a pump, thus aiding filtration. In addition the pump will be setup to operate at fixed intervals to push a fixed amount of water around the aquaponics system.
You will also reach a stage that you will have to introduce some more baby fish back into the fish growing cycle and this can be done by introducing a further smaller holding tank into the system which will only be used for tender fishes, usually referred to as fingerlings. Again, you will have to hook up the holding tank into the cycle of water circulation and filtration to avoid the unnecessary build up of toxins albeit on a smaller scale.
You can find out further information on building your own aquaponics system. We thoroughly recommend starting out with a small aquaponics setup and like many others it will become a very interesting and enjoyable pastime and source of sustainable organic produce.