What is aquaponics? It's a handy way of combining aqua farming (growing fish for food) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) into a home aquaponics system that is the best of both worlds.
What is aquaponics? It's a system of combining fish and plants for the best of both worlds.
By combining these two systems, you solve the problem of hydroponics (how to bring nutrients in) and aquaculture (how to get the excess nutrients - fish manure - out and clean water in).
Keep fish in a freshwater tank, and you'll soon realize the importance of changing the water on a regular basis.
Fish manure is loaded with nitrites that are great for plants, but deadly to fish if they are exposed to too much of it. With an aquaponics system, the plants work as a giant, highly efficient filtering system.
The roots of the plants remove the nitrates from the used fish water while bacteria on the growing medium converts the ammonia in the water to valuable plant food. The remaining clean water is then pumped back into the fish tank.
If you don't have a pond or giant fish tank handy, you can still build your own hydroponics system once you understand the basics of what is hydroponics.
A home aquaponics system can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, although if you are just starting out, a simple system is naturally the best.
For a basic aquaponics system, you will need a fish tank (a 100-gallon tank can cost $500 or more, so start small and then work your way up), a table for your plants, as well as a growbed and growing medium, pipes, a submersible pump and a standpipe.
A growbed is a container for the growing medium that holds your plants in place and has deep sides that will hold water.
Expanded clay pebbles make a good medium for aquaponics. You can find them here.
The growing medium can be anything, but is typically gravel or expanded clay pebbles (you can find them here).
Place your fish tank on the floor beneath the table where you plan to keep your container of growing medium and plants.
Then place the submersible pump in the tank and run the water through a pipe from the fish tank to the growbed.
Place the standpipe in the center of your growbed. When the water in the growbed gets to a certain height, the water will run through the standpipe back into the tank.
The rest of the water will filter through the medium where bacteria on the medium will convert the ammonia wastes into nitrates that can be used by the plants. The plant roots themselves will also draw the nitrates and plant wastes from the water. The resulting filtered water also flows into a separate pipe that also runs into your fishtank.
End result: Your fish get new, clean water every day, and you get healthy, happy plants. And that, in a nutshell, is the answer to what is aquaponics.
This video course will show you how to build your own aquaponics system.
Sam Adams, a certified organic farmer and an aquaponics expert, created a video course that will show you step by step how to build your own aquaponics system. Aquaponics 4 Idiots has step-by-step instructions, secrets and common mistakes to help you avoid pitfalls and succeed. With your own aquaponics system, you can grow up to the times the plants, grow healthy, great-tasting produce faster and avoid weeding or messing around with soil fertilizers. You can learn more here.
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