Aquaponics is an excellent and sustainable gardening method for you to grow food. It comes from the mixing of two different components in one single system. Aquaculture, which consists of fish farming, and hydroponics, which is growing plants in water. Basically, this system allows the gardener to combine all in one and avoid more waste. It’s one big cycle – the waste that fish produce ends up feeding the plants, and in return, the plants help clean up the water for the fish. Once this system is settled, the maintenance is quite simple, but first, we need to set it up. Here are some essential elements to set an aquaponics farm in your backyard.
First of all, it’s important to mention that if you don’t want to go to the trouble of finding all the materials, there are available, for sale, the best aquaponics kits with all the instructions and elements you need to start. These are quite useful and easy to find, so in case you were in doubt, these will certainly make the process much easier. However, if you want to do it all by yourself, you need to get the right materials:
To start, you will need a tank! This is where all the fish are going to live, so you can order one according to the quantity and size of your animals. This will be like having a house fish tank, you have to dechlorinate the water to allow bacteria to set up. The bacteria is extremely essential in this process since it will turn the fish waste into nutrients for the plants. It also helps the plants keep the water clean for the fish.
After that, you will need a growbed. This container is where your plants will be able to grow. The appearance and material of it can be up to the farmer, however, it needs to be strong and with a good depth. It can be on top of the tank or on its side.
Adding a good water pump is necessary, as an aquaponics system will need the pump to keep the water flowing from the fish tank to the plants and vice versa. If you choose a solar-powered pump it will make your system even more sustainable.
Finally, when all of this is ready, it’s time to set up the system. Make sure to be in a flat area with lots of sunlight, and it should be ready to produce. However, even though the maintenance is low, you still have to feed your fish every day, tend your plants just like they were planted on the ground, and be aware of the temperature, water quality, and ammonia levels. These cares are needed and can be crucial for the well functioning of your aquaponics farm.
Fish and Plants for Aquaponics
A lot of gardeners have the fish only for fertilizing purposes and not to eat, but here, both sources are included. Some of these fish include tilapia, a favorite among farmers, as they reproduce quickly and adapt to the environment very well. Koi, easy to get and beautiful to look at, makes your tank more pleasing to the eye. Carp, suitable for beginners and good to eat. Salmon is a great fish to grow and very healthy to eat, however, it might require a bigger tank. These are only a few examples, as there are plenty of other fish you can get, but with time, you will figure out the best ones for you.
Plants and Vegetables
Just like the fish, there are a lot of plants to choose from, however, we’ll mention some of the best ones to start with. Lettuce is the easiest and most productive one, as this plant grows amazingly in water. Cucumber is a water-based plant, so in an aquaponics system, it has everything to grow quite well, too. Strawberries are perfect to plant in an aquaponics system, because they take little space and can grow all year round. Another vegetable that does extraordinarily well in this system is tomatoes, however, they need a very nutrient-rich water. There’s a wide range of plants to choose from, but always take into consideration the environment and temperatures, since some require specific conditions.
It’s Time to Grow!
Having an aquaponics system is so beneficial, sustainable, and a great hobby. Starting this project can be demanding at first and it does require attention, but it will be gratifying to see the fish and plants grow and use them in your meals if that’s the case, as there’s nothing better than eating something grown by you. I hope this helped you and thank you for your time.