DIY Aquaponics – Learn To Raise Fish and Veggies
We have discussed in earlier sections of the website how to farm shrimps and tilapia. Both shrimps and tilapia occupy pride of place in primary aquaculture practice.
However pure aquaculture has certain diffculties. In classical aquaculture, fish wastes accumulate in the water, resulting in detoriation of water quality over time and thereby adversely affecting fish health and productivity. Freshwater aquaculture involves continously monitoring and maintaining the water quality so that the fish thrive properly. This requires a steady supply of freshwater and a way to dispose of water contaminated with fish wastes so that water turbidity, dissolved oxygen levels etc. are always at satisfactory levels.
This disposal and fresh supply of water results may be a problem in water scarce regions besides adding to costs. Alternative solutions for these problems also exist such as filtration systems, but to implement them on a large scale can be expensive. Also it may become pretty labor and time intensive. Till now a natural solution to overcome this problem used to consist of reducing stocking density and using aquatic plants to naturally maintain dissolved oxygen levels.
But now enterprising commercial fish farmers and hobbyists have evolved a rather beautiful solution to this problem that is wide gaining acceptance and promises to revolutionise fish farming and hydroponics (cultivating edible vegetables and fruits in water) practice worldwide. This technique is called aquaponics.
Aquaponics is an integrated food production system that combines traditional aquaculture with hydroponics in a mutually beneficial arrangement. The waste water generated from aquaculture is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are filtered out by the plants as essential nutrients, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the fish pond or tank. All filtration is done naturally by the plants eliminating the need for expensive filtration systems. Also the remains of the plants that are grown provide food to the fish. It is a completely organic system that generates value all through the chain.
Aquaponic systems generally do not discharge water. Therefore there is minimal water loss. Instead they recirculate and reuse water efficiently. The aquaponic system relies on the relationship between the aquatic animals and plants to maintain a stable nutrient rich aquatic environment that enables both the plants and fish to thrive. Water is added to only to replenish the loss due to absorption by plants and evaporation. As a result, aquaponics uses much less water than a conventionally irrigated farm producing the same output. Aquaponic systems thus allow efficient production of both crops and fish in areas where water or land is scarce.
Aquaponic systems consist primarily of these two parts(aquaculture and hydroponics). However they may be grouped into various components or subsystems for effective removal of solid wastes, and for maintaining optimum water oxygenation levels. The discharged nutrient rich waste water is accumulated in catchment tanks, and reused to water plants grown in soil, or it may be pumped back into the aquaponic system to top up the water level.
The main inputs to an aquaponic system are water, feed given to the fish, and electrical power to pump water from the aquaculture subsystem to the hydroponics subsystem and vice versa. Fresh spawn may be added from time to time to replace grown fish that are taken out from the system to retain a stable aquatic environment. In terms of outputs that are generated, an aquaponic system continually yields plants such as vegetables or fruits grown in the hydroponic subsystem, and edible aquatic fishes raised in the aquaculture subsystem.
Aquaponics – Key Benefits
But the real magic of aquaponics becomes evident when one compares it to conventional farming or classical hydroponics in light of the following facts:
- Most plants grow twice as fast as the plant roots are always in a nutrient rich aquatic environment resulting in higher output in the same time. As many as ten times more plants can be grown in the same area than is possible in normal soil
- No need of fertilizers
- No need of pesticides as there are no soil pests to deal with
- No necessity of weeding
- No need for separate watering
- Most energy efficient farming practice known
All these advantages turn into great time and labor saving for the aquaponics farmer, increasing profit and income.
The Aquaponics Guide – Key Contents
If you are truly interested in knowing more about this wonderful system, we suggest the The Aquaponics Guide. It is a very concise and practical resource including videos that show the beginner the path to follow in achieving success in his or her venture. This resource has been created by John Fay, a certified organic and aquaponics farmer with years of experience in his field and an acknowledged expert. The Aquaponics Guide provides a fantastic foundation for beginners and also acts as a one stop reference without losing track of the essentials. It covers the following:
- Basics of Aquaponics
- How To Build a Aquaponic System
- Adding Water, Fish and Plants
- How to Use Nitrifying Bacteria in Aquaponic operations
- Testing and Optimizing your System
- Required Materials List – contacts of vendors
- Detailed instructions on video
The Aquaponics Guide also comes with following free bonus resources:
- Organic Gardening For Beginners
- Herbs for Health
- A Guide to Flower Gardening
- Worm Farming – The World Best Compost
- Guide To Organic Cooking
- Eating Healthy
Anyone interested in aquaponics cannot afford to miss this golden resource.
The Aquaponics Guide is priced cheaply considering all the wealth of information it provides. To order the The Aquaponics Guide click below.