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.

 

 

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...]

The Importance Of The Right Water Temperature In Aquaponics

aquaponics water temperatureOne of the most important factors in a successful Aquaponics system is the temperature of the water. Get it right and your system will work superbly, but get it wrong and it could spell disaster!The temperature of the water is crucial in ensuring that your system is functioning well but its a sad fact that, when starting out, most of us concentrate on other things like the pH levels, water oxygenation and feeding the plants. Unfortunately, we neglect one of the most basic features; the temperature of the water. [Read more...]

Learn how to Care for Betta Fish

Betta_fish_whiteOne half of any effective aquaponics system are the fish. Pick the right breed and your life will be made much simpler. Now, I wouldn’t recommend goldfish for example because although some people would say that goldfish are beautiful and delicate looking things, they are relatively difficult to care for, and aren’t any good for turning into food. For ease of care, there’s a kind of fish that’s even lower maintenance than the goldfish – it’s the Betta, and the good news is that learning to care for Betta fish is a snap – in fact , they don’t need any care at all. [Read more...]