Aquaponics is considered to be one of the sustainable ways used to grow food. It is an integrated system of hydroponics and aquaculture. After setting it up, the system requires less effort and maintenance. Aquaponics’ basic theme is that the waste from the fish tank will grow the plants, and in return, plants will clean and filter the water for the growth of fishing, creating a continuous harmonious cycle. Here are the most simple steps through which you can create an aquaponics system.
- Create your fish tank
You have to take all the steps to keep your fish safe in your water tank. Consider the fish species you are planning to breed and decide the space it will need to decide your tank size. Most people use food-grade containers or large barrels that have opaque sides. The tank needs to be set up as a normal fish tank. Dechlorinate all the water and it has to be cycled for at least 4-6 weeks before putting your fish in it. The bacteria will build up during this time to break down nitrites and ammonia to nitrates to feed the plants you grow. Add a pump to draw the water from the tank to grow the green bed and back again.
- Create your media bed
The media can be created either to the side of the fish tank or above it. It will serve as a container for the plants to grow. It is also called a flood table. You may use a wooden pallet crate or a plastic tray. It has to be built on a stand that can carry weight. After placing the media bed, fill in the media you want. pH neutral and clay pebbles will not harm your water. It also can hold water. Therefore, many home aquaponics uses it as media. If you are a beginner use a 1:1 ratio for the grow bed size and the fish tank size to make the volumes the same.
- Add your fish
After cycling your water tank well, you may add your fish. Various fish grow well in aquaponics. Some of them are goldfish, tilapia, pacu, koi, etc.
- Add your plants
The best option for aquaponics systems is leafy plants. If you have more fish, you can consider growing fruiting plants like tomatoes and pepper. Kale, Basil, Watercress, mint, and lettuce are some plants that are easy to grow in an aquaponics environment. If your tank is heavily stocked, you may grow cauliflower, cabbage, squash, cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, strawberries, or beans. If you want a head start for your plant, try to plant seedlings. Place the roots of the plants softly into the pebbles and make sure that they can draw nutrients easily from the water to pass through.
- Maintain your aquaponic system
It is comparatively simple to maintain an aquaponic system. Provide a quality diet for your fish. Flake food can be an ideal choice. Ensure that you do not bring any foreign diseases to your fish tank. Therefore, it is better to avoid live food.