If you were to know some of the problems that can happen with an aquaponics system, this would allow you to help prevent them while you are building your own. There are many things that can go wrong, however, it doesn’t take much to get your system running properly and effortlessly.
An Aquaponics system in its most basic form is similar to the common fish tank, however since there is no continuous flow in this basic system you are limited to growing plants that thrive in stagnant water, like the lettuce plant. Other types of plants that require more oxygen will die in a basic system like this. And that is why you need a continuous flow system.
Setting up and operating this kind of system is about as simple as setting up a home aquarium. But instead of having a mechanical filter for the tank, you set up a grow bed to filter the water through. Roots can grow directly into the water by themselves or with a medium like gravel. This kind of system pretty much takes care of itself. This eliminates working with soil, which is most of the work involved with farming. Instead you can focus on the profitable part, which is growing plants and fish.
Once the nutrients build up in the water and your system reaches a good balance between fish and plants, the system becomes very easy to run and the results from both fish and plant production can be amazing.
This method is called aquaponics, aquaponic is quickly becoming a popular way to grow food and other plants. Aquaponics is based on hydroponics (growing plants in water without soil), but is much better. Plants are grown without any soil in grow beds similar to hydroponics, but the water in the system is shared with a fish tank. Fish growing in the system release nutrients into the water that the plants use, and the plant roots do a great job of filtering the water for the fish.
There is a certain satisfaction that comes with seeing something that you have created with your own hands develop into something useful for the whole family. Watching as the plants grow bigger and then bloom before baring all manner of delicious fruits and vegetables. And knowing that under the water there are fish-usually tilapia or catfish-that will one day be big enough aquaponics grace your dinner table.
It is important to use clean gravel for the bottom of your fish tank. Gravel is important as it helps to trap much of the solid waste particles from the fish. This way, the waste can properly decompose to become effective plant fertilizer. If not, it may be sucked into the plumbing system, and this may cause problems.
In this type of grow bed, a media is needed. It can be perlite, gravel or others. This media is used instead of a filtration system that is being used in other types. For instance, you are using gravel as your medium. Thus, the gravel is responsible in filtering the water for the benefit of the plants as well as the fish. Moreover, this type of grow bed does not require constant flow of water. You just need to be sure of the media that you will use. Sometimes, the gravel may be exposed to other minerals that will be harmful in the aquaponics system. To be sure, always wash them before putting it in the aquaponic source.
The gardening side of aquaponics is also typically easier than traditional gardening in the ground. With aquaponics you control the growing environment. You can place the grow beds at a comfortable working level. There is no need for digging and soil conditioning. No tilling in manure or compost. No weeds or gophers or other common headaches that typically come with gardening. If your system is indoors, you are no longer dependent on weather and you can grow your garden year round.
This is a type of system were you can start small and expand as you go. You can try it out with a low cost system and grow food for yourself. Fine tune it and learn how to get the most production. And if you want, expand from there and start selling what you produce. I can’t promise you are going to quickly make a fortune with aquaponics, but there is a lot of business potential. And at the least, growing plants and fish this way is a whole lot of fun, and will be worth the fresh fish and vegetables that it will produce for you.