Aquaponics – A Revolutionary Form Of Food Production

The term Aquaponics is derived from a combination of the terms Aquaculture i.e. fish farming and Hydroponics which means the growing of plant without soil. The process of Aquaponics combines fish and plants in a “closed” integrated system and it is one of the most efficient methods of farming yet devised. Because its a closed system – meaning that there is no water loss – aquaponics uses at little as a tenth of the amount of water that traditional farming requires, meaning that it is especially suitable for hot and arid countries.

The system is a fantastic example of a symbiotic relationship. What I mean by this is that the two components of the system – the fish, and the plants, complement each other prefectly and they both contribute equally to the overall success of the process.

Basically, Aquaponics works like this:

how aquaponics works

The fish poo is turned into fertiliser for the plants by bacteria in the water and, at the same time, the plants return the favour by cleaning the water as they grow. This, of course helps the fish to survive and grow bigger which then helps the plants to flourish as they produce waste material, and so on.

Aquaponics is a true win-win situation.

In fact, Aquaponics such a beautiful model of cooperation that once you have set your aquaponics system up, all you have to do is top up the water and feed the fish, and in return you get two fantastic sources of organic food.

Of course, it is important that you set your aquaponics system up correctly in the first place because its vital to achieve  a certain  balance in this delicate eco-system. For example, if you have too many fish compared to plants,  there won’t be enough nutrients produced to keep the plants fed and,in turn, the plants will diminish in size and number and so they wont be able to clean the water sufficiently to support the fish.

The reverse is also true. If you have too many plants in your system then there will be too few nutrients in the water to support them and therefore their ability to extract enough of the nutrients and clean the water will be diminished. As you might deduce – this will mean that the water will get polluted and the fish will die as a result. So, balance is key.

Now, this might sound difficult to achieve, but it is actually a lot easier than it sounds!

Commercial Aquaponics operations are being set up all over the world, even in desert regions where it has, traditionally, been very difficult to grow crops and farm fish. These are large scale affairs, as you might imaginrequiring million dollar investments but, essentially, you can employ the same processes and techniques to benefit from Aquapnics in your own back yard.

The secret to building an effective aquaponics setup is , as you might imagine, to plan everything out before you start. Of course, I hope that you will follow this blog as I show you exactly what needs to be done, and also what you need to avoid doing wrong to benefit from this amazing new farming method, but if you really cannot wait to get started then I recommend that you visit this leading aquaponics guide web site and get hold of the excellent Aquaponics4You book by John Fay which is, to be honest, what got me started.

Its a comprehensive guide to setting up and running your own Aquaponics farm from one of the industries most respected figures. John has been developing his techniques for many years now and has learned from his past failures, and of course from his great successes as well. The guide is beautifully written, full of good, hard facts and also comes with detailed plans that show you how to build the  right kind of setup for your environment. It also shows how to stock it and how to maximise the yield. In fact, nothing is left out from filtration methods to feeding schedules and even what kind of plants to buy to get the best results. If you are looking for an introduction to the subject that is both readable and authoratative then this is the guide that I recommend.

Well, thats a brief overview of what aquaponics is all about – in the next post I’ll start describing the best way to set about making your own fully working  farm.

 

 

The Problem with Breeding Betta Fish? It can be too Easy

Betta fish tend to be among the most beautiful fish in any aquarium. Everyone does know that Betta fish are the easiest to care for of all fish. What's less well known though is that they're very easy if you're interested in breeding them, too. If this is your first time breeding fish, you should try breeding Betta fish first. It'll be good for your morale.

As easy and as rewarding as such a venture might be, there still are a few things you need to keep in mind.

The first problem is actually not a real problem. It's just that breeding Betta fish is so easy that it's likely that pretty soon, you'll have hundreds of little Betta fish crowding your tank. The fish evolved to breed in a large water body with lots of space to spread out – not in a five-gallon tank.  What do you do if your aquarium isn't the size of a football field? You'll have to be prepared to throw them away. [Read more…]

5 Simple Tips for a Thriving Aquaponics System

tips for a thriving aquaponics systemIn order for you to have an aquaponics garden that flourishes, you will need a good, workable plan to begin with. So, it follows that the first tip should be to plan well. You will need to plan the location of the garden, the budget, the costs involved, the kinds of fish to use, plants to grow and anything else that you may need.

The second tip is to choose the location carefully. This is probably the most crucial decision you will have to make. The location should be beneficial to both the aquaculture and hydroponics system so, the three main points to consider regarding location are temperature, sunlight and the space you have available.

A good quality aquaponics system requires lots of sunlight. You see, the plants get nutrients from the “fish water” but they also need sunlight for photosynthesis. The temperature should also be fairly constant without any drastic or sudden fluctuations. So, with this in mind, it follows that the system should not be subject to harsh weather conditions, strong winds or heavy rain.

My third tip for a thriving garden is to carefully research the kind of fish that you plan to stock it with. The beauty of an aquaponics system is that it gives you the freedom to use most types of fresh water fish including Goldfish, tilapia, koi, guppies and so on. Its also worth checking on any  specific rules and regulations of the country or state you live in. That’s because certain states have regulations which prevent you from keeping certain species of fish. So, it would be best to do a quick check and check that what you’re doing is legal. Also, the number of fish you choose to keep will depend on the size of your aquaponics system. It goes without saying that the smaller your tank, the fewer fish you can keep. Overcrowding will lead to the fish dying. In aquaponics, balance is the key to success!

The next tip regards aerating the water. It’s also known as oxygenation, and this process serves two purposes. First, it provides much needed oxygen to the fish. Fish in enclosed environments such as tanks or man-made ponds require aerated water to provide them with enough air on a regular basis. If you see your fish constantly coming up to the surface to gasp for air, that means the water lacks oxygen. Another purpose of oxygenating the water is to break down the ammonia produced by the fish poo into nutrients that can feed your plants. This is an important part of the whole process for any efficient aquaponics system.

The fifth, and final tip relates to additives. Your aquaponics system is about using the nutrients from the fish waste to grow healthy, organic plants. In most cases, the nutrients in the waste water will be sufficient for the plants. However, in the case where the water is lacking certain nutrients such as calcium, iron, etc., then you may choose to add additional nutrients to your plants to make them healthy and vibrant. Some people dont like doing this for the believe that it makes their aquaponics system ‘less organic’ but, if done right, there is no harm in using additional nutrients to boost production.

It may take a while to achieve just the right balance for your aquaponics system. Not to worry. It’s a trial and error process for most of us. Once you do achieve the balance, your system will be smooth sailing all the way.

 

Aquaponics Fish – The Dos And Donts

homemade hydroponicsMost people who keep fish as pets will be the first to tell you that there is a learning curve. Keeping fish requires an understanding of their delicate nature. Its pretty obvious that fish are not as hardy as dogs or cats, for they are easily affected by small changes that seem almost imperceptible. Usually, they die without much warning other then the last few hours when they slowly float belly up.

Keeping fish as a hobby is hard enough but keeping them in a homemade hydroponics system is much more difficult, unless you know exactly what you are doing. No matter how diligent you are, you can definitely expect to see fish dying as your system slowly stabilizes, especially in the early days of running your system. The tips in this article will help mitigate this problem.

[Read more…]

Aquaponics Systems; Some Common Mistakes

aquaponics systemsThe toughest part about running successful aquaponics systems is setting them up. Most enthusiasts face the greatest difficulty when they are first starting out to build their system. Once a system is built and completed, it pretty much runs itself and you can take a well-deserved rest and wait until your plants and vegetables begin to grow.

However, if you make mistakes at the initial stage of the construction, then the problems will rear their ugly head later on. In some cases, rectifying the problem can be a huge hassle and may even jeopardize the whole system, so, it really is best to do everything right in the beginning. [Read more…]

How to Choose the Best Fish for Your Aquaponics System

aquaponics fishEvery aquaponics system has 2 major components namely, the fish and the plants. In order to get the best results from your system, you will need to choose the correct type of each to ensure success from your system. Choosing the wrong fish will probably lead to problems later on, for example, your fish may die and the system will collapse. Not only will you have wasted time and money, but the fish would, of course, have lost their lives. [Read more…]

Backyard Aquaponics – Can You Make Money With it?

make money with aquaponicsThere’s absolutely no doubt that you can make money with backyard Aquaponics. There are many aquaponics farms all over the world producing vegetables and other plants using this amazing technique and selling their produce for profits. In fact, Aquaponics is probably more profitable than the traditional methods of farming. It uses less water, grows much more vegetables in the same space and, whats more, the veggies grow faster into the bargain. So, as you can see, its a win-win-win situation, so it doesn’t get any better than that.

Knowing how to setup your aquaponics business will require you to carry out some research. The most important thing is that you try it out on a small scale first and see if you can make a small-scale success of it. You will learn the tips and tricks of the trade only by being hands on at it. Everything is cheaper when carried out on a smaller scale and your mistakes will not be as costly. Once you get the hang of it, expansion won’t be a problem and you can scale your system quite easily. [Read more…]