What Is Aquaponics?

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The first hydroponic plant I grew was a tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket. I had used an old paint bucket, a leftover air pump, and an old air stone I had used in my aquarium. Like many starting out hydroculture gardening, after my first plant success, I wanted to grow more. I wanted to try different plants, different hydroponic systems, and grow different types of plants. With the different systems, I had more reservoirs that were larger, therefore, I was purchasing more nutrient solution. I was running into a cost issue especially when it came to the larger systems. That’s when I started to explore the method of aquaponics.

How Does Aquaponics Work?

In aquaponics, fish waste is used to fertilize your garden. The water is pumped into the grow area and the fish waste is filtered through the grow medium. The filtered water is directed back into the reservoir for the fish. The fish waste provides the plants with all the nutrients needed to survive and the fish are in turn given the clean, recirculated water. Aquaponics creates a mini ecosystem where the plants and fish depend on each other to survive. You just feed the fish and let nature takes its courses. With aquaponics, you not only have an awesome plant harvest, depending on the type of fish you use you could harvest those as well.

An aquaponic reservoir with gold fish.

What Type Of Fish Are Used In Aquaponics?

What fish or plants you use in your aquaponics system is up to you, with not much limitation. You can use gold fish or ornamental fish, bait fish, or fish you can eat. There are many fish that can be used with an aquaponics system, though some work better than others. Talapia is popular because it is a pretty hardy fish, so it can tolerate different water qualities and conditions.  I’ve had great success using goldfish and they’re probably the most economical fish to use. With gold fish, you’re bound to lose a few, but at 19 cents you’re not out much. It’s best to learn a little bit about the type of fish you’ll be using. Different species like different pH, water temperature, and make sure you not to overcrowd them.

Type Of Plants Used In Aquaponics

The plant choice for your aquaponics system is pretty much unlimited. I’ve grown tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumbers, squash, melons and even flowers. As with other hydroculture systems, aquaponic systems can be set up in different ways.

Benefits Of Aquaponics

The benefits of aquaponics go past the fact that you don’t have to pay for hydroponic nutrients. Using aquaponics provides your plants with a truly organic form of nutrients, therefore, keeping things more natural. Also since the fish are affected by chemicals in the water no pesticides or herbicides are used, so your end harvest is both healthier and tastier. Your aquaponics could provide you your next meal; grilled fish and steamed vegetables anyone?

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