Whether you are already into organic hydroponics, thinking about converting, or you are a gardener that is sick of pulling weeds all the time, there’s a new way of growing that you need to take a look at.
It’s called aquaponics and the aquaponics system is becoming very popular these days. Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. It combines the best of both worlds because both fish and plants benefit from an aquaponics system.
In an aquaponics system, for simplicity’s sake, your fish tank or pond replaces your reservoir and instead of having to buy fertilizer your fish become a source of organic hydroponic nutrients.
The aquaponic system can easily be used and adapted to traditional hydro set ups like ebb and flow or NFT systems that use trays or square fence post tubes or PVC pipe.
How Aquaponics Works
If you already keep fish of any kind you probably know about the nitrogen cycle and cycling your tank. And if you never kept fish, then no, cycling has nothing to do with riding a bike.
If this is new to you then cycling refers to a process where natural bacteria build up to levels where they can process fish wastes and keep the water clean. Fish constantly give off ammonia and so does uneaten food and their detritus. Ammonia is toxic to fish and can kill them if levels get too high.
Bacteria convert ammonia to nitrite but it is also toxic to fish. A second group of bacteria convert nitrite into nitrate, which fish can tolerate in moderate levels. If you ever had a tank or pond crash or lost fish in a new tank it is because these bacteria were not present or not present in large enough amounts.
The good news is that plants will happily consume all three nitrogen sources. Also plants will happily consume phosphates too. This is good because excess phosphates in the water cause algae blooms.
So everyone wins with an aquaponics system. The fish win because their water quality is better and the plants win because the fish supply them with organic hydroponic nutrients.
You benefit too! You don’t have to spend money on fertilizer and you don’t have to break your back pulling weeds. With organic hydroponics you can grow more in less space and crops will mature faster.
And oh, I almost forgot to mention, depending on the kind of fish you raise you get fish dinner. Talapia are very popular,easy to raise and tasty but catfish, crayfish and other types of fish are also used. Of course you can keep ornamental fish like goldfish or koi too.
This aquaponic system is raising catfish in the lower tanks and veggies up above. It looks like it was built from rain gutters. Everything you need to build a system like this is available at Home Depot and you can use a stock watering tub for your fish.
Why A DIY Aquaponics System?
Here’s why. This is what I found on Amazon. 1300 bucks! Go ahead and buy it, I would love the commission check on that and baby needs new shoes.
Aquaponics is pretty new and there really aren’t a lot of ready made units out there. So you will need to build your own aquaponic system if you want one.
Don’t worry though it’s not that hard and it’s not nearly as expensive as the system above.
Build Your Own Aquaponic System
Organic Hydroponics Is A Reality Now
Most people who use hydroponic growing systems use chemical fertilizers and this has stopped many potential growers who want organically raised crops from even trying hydroponics.
Some organic hydroponic growers make their own organic hydroponic nutrients by making teas and other brews. But there have been problems with these mixes gumming up the works with their residues. However, this problem can be eliminated with an aquaponic system and a bit of filtration to make sure no solids get through. So now organic hydroponic gardening is entirely doable.
Imagine having a garden that produces food and herbs that requires no weeding, no soil cultivation or compost piles.
You never need to buy fertilizers or pesticides either. Soil borne diseases and pests are eliminated and your plants are healthy, with faster maturity and higher yields.
This is what organic hydroponics is all about and you can have this when you build your DIY aquaponic system.