The Aquaponic system is one of the best ways to grow fresh fish, fruits, and veggies. Grown without the use of pesticides, antibiotics, herbicides, or other chemicals, the food is clean and ethically sourced. Not just that, but if you are looking to create less waste, then this can be the most ideal way to harvest your own food.
A Little Introduction into Aquaponic Farming
Fish and plants live together in this eco-system that benefits everyone involved. It can be built almost anywhere – in your backyard, in your home, anywhere you have a bit of room.
You can grow more food with no water wastage, no land needed, and you don’t have to break your back to do so. Everything is done by the fish that are in your system.
You don’t even need to head out and buy a whole bunch of different aquaponics system materials to put together. You can be sure to use what you have laying around the home, and the best part is that it will be able to work just as well!
Setting Up Your System
It is important to look into where you’re going to grow and use your aquaponics system. You will want to also consider the weather for where you live. If you do not live in an area that allows for growing of crops all year round, then you may want to consider putting them inside a greenhouse.
The crops are going to need a necessary amount of daylight to grow, and you should be able to have some idea or control of the temperature in the space. You don’t have to worry about the temperature as much if you live in Florida where it tends to be pleasant year-long, or if you shut the garden down during the colder months in other regions.
If you want something long-term, make sure to take the time to plan out the setup. The setup should be able to withstand the weight put on it, be waterproof, and deep enough for the roots to dig into the floor below.
There are a bunch of different aquaponic systems that you can build. The most popular are the deep-water system and flood and drain system and both can provide enough to feed a family of four for an entire year.
- Fish Tank (1,000 Liters is Recommended) IBC Containers work well, cost $20 on eBay
A raft bed will need additional aeration for plant roots when used. Timber can be used for the beds.
- Media Bed (Flood and Drain Bed) This has to be siphon and limestone-free gravels.
- Pump (always place this in the sump tank) $150 at a hardware store
- Sump Tanks (IBC containers work as sump tanks if you cut them in half)
- Aeration Stones $12-$30
- Air Pump (the stronger the pump, the better for this) $40 – $100
- Plumbing (make sure the parts are connected well. This system can leak if not. You will need to have a number of different sizes of valves, tubes, threads, and pipes. This can all be purchased from the local hardware store for around $200
Create a cycle when you go to connect the parts together. It should go like this: fish tank -> attach the swirl filter -> connect the mineralization tank -> the tank should be in the sump pump -> media and raft beds -> back into the fish tank.
The US Department of Agriculture offers many aspects of aquaponic farming. They include some design ideas and also some information on the plumbing. This is especially helpful if you’re new to it.
- Siphon $10 – $30
- Water (rainwater is ideal to use in the system)
- Fish (Koi, perch, trout, tilapia, carp, and catfish are all ideal but make sure to go with one that is more native to your area)
- Plants (any crops that grow above ground are ideal – tomatoes, salad types, cucumbers, broccoli, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, onions, kale, etc. they will grow much faster in an aquaponic system)
Many of these products can be found just about anywhere, in any store or online. You can find that you won’t spend too much to get started and you spend even less to maintain it. The rewards that come from this system outweigh the costs. You will not want to go back to gardening any other way once you’ve tried the aquaponic system.
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