Aquaponics is a unique class of farming that works by building a steady supply of food by combining the raising of aquatic creatures like fish with the growth of plants. An advantage of Aquaponics is its fusion of hydroponics and aquaculture.
In order to make aquaponics work for you on a scale that can easily be maintained and housed you need to design a system that easily runs on its own. There needs to be a balance between the toxicity levels of the fish tank and the nutrients that your plants will absorb in order for the cycle to be successful each and every time.
How The System Should Work
The way the system should work is two folds, at first the aquatic life in your system needs to build the required nutrients in the water they reside in once the water has a certain amount of nutrients it is then pumped into the plants which then absorb these nutrients. The naturally filtered water then returns to the fish tank. The best system for the average DIY aquaponics person is a freshwater system because it is easier to sustain in a domestic environment and requires less work.
Start By Creating a Plan
The first step before you start building your aquaponics system is to design a plan. You need to know how much food and how much aquatic life you can house in your home or your backyard.
You Then Check The Following Off Your To-Do List By Gathering Them:
- You need an aquatic fish tank which could be a simple 55-gallon drum.
- You will require a water pump that moves the water from the aquatic tank into your plants to grow beds. If you put the grow bed in level with the water tank you will have to pump the water to and from the tank.
- You will need pipes, sealant, measuring tape, and other plumbing. Clear vinyl tubes can be used for smaller setups but if you’re building something the size of a 55-gallon drum then use PVC piping.
- You will need a grow bed. A grow bed can be anything large and deep enough like a plastic tote or you can build one using scrap wood.
- You will also need a hydroponic substrate that will help the plants hold on so that they don’t fall.
Setting The System Up
Once you have all the above in your hand the next step is to start assembling everything at the location where you want to house the system. There are a number of different plans and setup styles that you can use to set up your aquaponics system. Ideally, always design a system that requires very little energy and very little input from you.
The best way to set up your system is following the detailed plans provided by John Fay in his best-selling program Aquaponics 4 You. You will learn how to build your own aquaponics system in your backyard.
Adding The Circle Of Life
You should add the plants and aquatic life that you can eat. It can be very easy to grow greens, peppers, tomatoes, etc. You should also add algae and duckweed to the fish tank which helps keep the fish healthy and producing the required nutrients. Make sure to monitor the system from time to time by checking the toxicity levels of the water in the fish tank because water that it’s too toxic will kill the fish and end the cycle.
Learn More About Small Scale Aquaponics Ann Forsthoefel