Aquaponics is an integrated system of raising fish (aquaculture) and plants (hydroponics –the soil-free cultivation of plants) together. If you’re looking for a highly sustainable form of agriculture then aquaponics may be the ideal option. Here’s what you need to know. 

 

How aquaponics works

 

Aquaponics is a recirculating system that makes use of less water than other food growing methods. The effectiveness of this unique system is based on the mutually beneficial relationship between fish and plants. Special bacteria from fish waste are broken down into nitrates by the plants and used as food. The plants filter the water, creating a healthy environment for the fish. 

 

This innovative system allows for various crops and different fish species (i.e. carp, trout, catfish and bluegill) to be harvested from the one system. Aquaponics can be used to cultivate a variety of plants, from fruit trees to leafy and root vegetables. Access to nutrients and fewer weeds to compete with ensures that plants grow better and faster, resulting in a substantial crop. 

 

HARDWARE AND EQUIPMENT

 

To start your aquaponics system, you’ll need a fish tank, a bed container in which to grow the plants, a water and air pump or air blower, and suitable plumbing. The design of your system needs to include a flood-and-drain layout to ensure that the water that fills the plant beds is emptied regularly to prevent plant rot and ensure optimum plant respiration. 

 

MAINTENANCE

 

An aquaponic system requires very little maintenance. However, you will need to keep a watchful eye as external variables such as power outages and extreme climate conditions, and temperatures may cause problems. Typical tasks include monitoring water pH levels, feeding the fish and planting new crops. 

 

BENEFITS OF AQUAPONICS

 

The environmentally sound practice of aquaponics offers numerous benefits, including:

 

•    Low water and power consumption.

•    Low exposure to pests and diseases.

•    Higher crop production compared with traditional forms of agriculture.

•    No synthetic fertilisers are required, and you’ll use minimal pesticides. 

 

With sustainability at the forefront of everybody’s mind, aquaponics is a great way to grow your own sustainable food. For more information or to source the required hardware and other related products, check out our aquaponic supplies today, such as Reservoirs & Tanks, Plumbing & Tubing and Tank Control.