Aquaponics is a system that uses both fish and plants working together to create a more natural and organic food source.
In it’s simplest form, an aquaponics growing system consists of two to three holding tanks. Each of the tanks is separate from each other, but uses the same water source to carry the necessary nutrients from one part of the system to another using pvc plumbing.
The fish water is pumped out and used to feed the plants and the plants are used to aerate and provide natural, needed minerals and food sources for the fish. A third tank (the sump tank) can be used as a holding tank for solid wastes which are left by the fish (and some from plant matter) and can be used as a fertilizer or can be put into a compost, if so desired.
Here are some of the BIG benefits in starting your very own back yard aquaponics system:
- It is fairly low cost to start and even lower cost to operate.
- It requires little space to have an entire garden of fresh fruits and vegetables. (note: although this powerful system is a a huge space-saver, it can also be made into a large, high-tech organic farm with the right equipment and determination).
- Everything grown is organic. Because your plants are fed exceptionally well from the plant sources, they grow solid-strong and have no need for pesticides. Since the plant grow water is shared by the fish, you will not want to use any form of pesticides anyway.
- It is self-maintained. Well, almost… Once your system is set up, most of the difficult work is done. The only thing one needs to do is take daily or weekly water sample to insure proper ammonia and ph level balances.
- It’s a big money-saver. Although there are costs involved in the start up of an aquaponics back yard system, it will soon begin paying for itself to the point where you are growing your very own “free” food.
- You can also eat the fish… that’s right unless you are a full-blown vegan or vegetarian, the fish you grow will be healthy and happy to become the talk of your dinner table.
- Water is recycled. Although you will be required to add water to your system from time to time due to natural evaporation, unlike traditional soil growing, your water is not lost once used. You will have an ever-flowing source of nutrient-filled H2O pumping through and being recycled… less waste and very earth-friendly.
I’m sure there are plenty of other direct benefits, but these are the first ones that came to mind when writing this article.
The fish are fed using fish food or even some of the plants grown in the plant growing tank. The plant growing tank usually consists of some form of pea gravel and without the use of typical growing soils. The water is sent from one tank to another using easily obtained fountain or fish tank pumps. These pumps can be found in virtually every hardware store.
Although aquponics systems are easy to start and maintain, there are some secrets to be learned from more experienced aquaponic owners. One of the quickest and easiest ways to learn how to put together your first system is by making a very small investment in purchasing an aquaponics informational product.
Getting a good education on this topic will not only save you many, many hours of trial and error, but as you already know, saving time is as good as saving money and learning to put together your first system from a decent source is paramount. By studying up with the right resources, you will lose less in plants and in fish.