What Is The Aquaponics Gardening Technique

 

Aquaponics Gardening Technique is essentially the combination of Aquaculture and Hydroponics. Both aquaculture and hydroponics have some down sides, hydroponics requires expensive nutrients to feed the plants, and also requires periodic flushing of the systems which can lead to waste disposal issues. Re-circulating aquaculture needs to have excess nutrients removed from the system, normally this means that a percentage of the water is removed, generally on a daily basis.

This nutrient rich water then needs to be disposed of and replaced with clean fresh water. While re-circulating aquaculture and hydroponics are both very efficient methods of producing fish and vegetables, when we look at combining the two, these negative aspects are turned into positives. The positive aspects of both Easy DIY Aquaponics aquaculture and hydroponics are retained and the negative aspects no longer exist. Aquaponics can be as simple or as complex as you ‘d like to make it, the simple system pictured above is made from one IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container). The top was cut off and turned upside down to become a growbed for the plants. Water is pumped up from the fish tank into the growbed. The water trickles down through the media, past the roots of the plants before draining back into the fish tank.

The plants extract the water and nutrients they need to grow, cleaning the water for the fish. These bacteria convert ammonia wastes from the fish into nitrates that can be used by the plants.

Growbeds filled with a media such as gravel or expanded clay pebbles are a common method of growing plants in an aquaponic system, but there are many different methods that can be used. In fact any method of hydroponic growing can be adapted to aquaponics. Plants can be grown in floating foam rafts that sit on the water surface. Vegetables can also be grown using NFT (Nutrient Film Technique), or through various other methods using a “run to waste” style of growing. This is done by removing a percentage of the fish water each day and watering vegetables planted in different media such as coir peat, vermiculite, perlite etc

Many different species of fish can be grown in an aquaponic system, and your species selection will depend on a number of factors including your local government regulations. Quite high stocking densities of fish can be grown in an aquaponic system, and because of the recirculating nature of the systems very little water is used. Research has shown that an aquaponic system uses about 1/10th of the water used to grow vegetables in the ground. An aquaponic system can be incredibly productive. I’ve produced 50kg of fish, and hundreds of kilograms of vegetables within 6 months in an area about the size of your average carport, 8m x 4m.

This is a system that requires no bending, no weeding, no fertilizers, and only uses about the same power it takes to run a couple of light globes.

Re-circulating aquaculture needs to have excess nutrients removed from the system, normally this means that a percentage of the water is removed, generally on a daily basis.

The plants extract the water and nutrients they need to grow, cleaning the water for the fish. Quite high stocking densities of fish can be grown in an aquaponic system, and because of the recirculating nature of the systems very little water is used. Research has shown that an aquaponic system uses about 1/10th of the water used to grow vegetables in the ground.

 

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Easy DIY Aquaponics Review – Organic Gardens for Beginners

Easy DIY Aquaponics Review

 

Imagine a garden that doesn’t require weeding, tilling or cultivating, the spreading of fertilizer or compost, and no watering or irrigating; all while your plants yield up to 10 times the amount of vegetables than plants from a dirt garden.

Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are growing real organic food the easy way with less work, less water and a lot less energy.
Aquaponics Gardening Makes This Possible.

Aquaponics is a system of growing plants that combines Aqua-culture, (raising aquatic animals such as fish), and Hydro-ponics, (growing plants without soil) in a symbiotic relationship.

 

Here are some of the advantages of a DIY aquaponics system garden:

  • There is no soil involved to till or apply fertiizer to.
  • Aquaponics is almost a closed system and continuously circulates the water through the system. The amount of water used is significantly less than in soil based gardening.
  • Minerals and nutrients are under controlled release and never wasted.
  • Plants grow faster with higher yields when compared to other gardening systems.
  • Pests and diseases are easier to control.

DIY Aquaponics Gardening Combines The Best Parts Of Hydroponics And Aquaculture.

The waste the fish produce is recycled into nitrates which feeds the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish. When the plants are well watered and well fed using this method, they will often grow twice as fast as those grown in soil. And because we’re not using soil, the roots don’t need to dig very deep to find water and plants can be grown close together using much less space.

 

Start Building Your Own Easy DIY Aquaponics Garden Today. With Step-By-Step Video Instructions In Full HD Quality.

 

Easy DIY Aquaponics

  • You will get complete walk through instructions as you are shown how to build a working Aquaponics system all on HD quality videos.
  • Nothing is left out. All the details are provided making this the easiest to follow guide you will ever find.
  • You will learn how to grow healthy organic vegetables that taste incredible. Say goodbye to the the Genetically Modified Vegetables you buy at the supermarket.
  • Build a Garden That Doesn’t Require Watering. This aquaponics system uses only 2 % of the water a conventional garden would. The water is re-circulated in the system and is completely automated. The roots of your plants are constantly submerged in nutrient rich water and you never have to worry about watering plants again.

 

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Types of Aquaponics Systems

Types of Aquaponics Systems

Media Filled Beds

Media filled beds are the simplest form of aquaponics, they use containers filled with rock medium of expanded clay or similar. Water from a fish tank is pumped over the media filled beds, and plants grow in the rock media. This style of system can be run two different ways, with a continuous flow of water over the rocks, or by flooding and draining the grow bed, in a flood and drain or ebb and flow cycle.

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT).

In NFT systems, nutrient rich water is pumped down small enclosed gutters, the water flowing down the gutter is only a very thin film. Plants sit in small plastic cups allowing their roots to access the water and absorb the nutrients.

Deep Water Culture (DWC)

Deep Water Culture, works on the idea of floating plants on top of the water allowing the roots to hang down into the water. This can be done in a number of ways. This method is one of the more commonly practiced commercial methods. DWC can be done by floating a foam raft on top of the fish tank, however a more common method is to grow the fish in a fish tank and pump the water through a filtration system, and then into long channels where floating rafts filled with plants float on the water surface and extract the nutrients.

Which Style is Best Suited to Me?

There are the basics of aquaponics, it really can be as simple or as complicated as you like, if you want to start off small and simple take a piece Types of Aquaponics Systemsof polystyrene, cut some holes in it, stick some mint cuttings or water cress cuttings through the holes, and float it on the surface of an aquarium or pond, within no time you’ll end up with a mass of floating herbs, and you’ll have cleaner water for your fish. The flood and drain media bed system, also requires minimal maintenance.

We are going to concentrate on the media bed style of system, you can mix different styles of system but for the moment just straight media filled beds will do. Even with just straight media beds there are a number of different ways you can run the system.

In NFT systems, nutrient rich water is pumped down small enclosed gutters, the water flowing down the gutter is only a very thin film. Deep Water Culture, works on the idea of floating plants on top of the water allowing the roots to hang down into the water. DWC can be done by floating a foam raft on top of the fish tank, however a more common method is to grow the fish in a fish tank and pump the water through a filtration system, and then into long channels where floating rafts filled with plants float on the water surface and extract the nutrients.

There are the basics of aquaponics, it really can be as simple or as complicated as you like, if you want to start off small and simple take a piece of polystyrene, cut some holes in it, stick some mint cuttings or water cress cuttings through the holes, and float it on the surface of an aquarium or pond, within no time you’ll end up with a mass of floating herbs, and you’ll have cleaner water for your fish.

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Easy DIY Aquaponics

Importance Of Fish To Your Aquaponics Home Garden

 

Fish are the power house of an aquaponics system, they provide the nutrients for the plants and if your growing edible fish, then they also provide protein for yourself. Keeping fish may be a little daunting to some, especially those without any prior experience, however you shouldn’t be discouraged. Keeping fish in an aquaponic system is more simple than keeping aquarium fish, so long as you follow simple guidelines then growing fish from fingerling size, to ready to eat fish can be extremely simple.

 

Choosing a fish species

There are many different species of fish that can be used in an aquaponic system, depending on your local climates and available supplies. Our local climate in Perth, Western Australia, allows us to keep Rainbow Trout through winter, then a warmer species like Barramundi during summer. There are also a few choices for year round fish that we could grow, but they often take a longer time to mature. If you live in a cooler climate you might be looking at growing Trout all year round, or perhaps another locally produced fish species. In warmer areas of Australia people generally grow Barramundi, or Jade Perch year round, in most warm areas throughout the world Tilapia is the fish of choice.

In deciding what is the best species for you to grow, you should take a few factors into account, most importantly is what you want from your system. If you don’t want to eat your fish then you probably won’t want to grow edible fish, or you may want to grow an edible fish that can live year-round in your area, so that you’re not having to harvest fish out seasonally. The second most important factor is ‘What’s available?’ You need to be able to buy fish to stock your system, even with species such as Tilapia that breed readily, you need to get your broodstock in the first place.

 

Here’s a list of useful aquaponic species with a few details about each

Barramundi

Barramundi are often grown in aquaponic systems through the warmer months of the year. Most growers will buy fairly mature stock so that they can harvest larger fish, at the end of the growing season. Barramundi that is grown in an aquaponic system has an exceptionally clean, crisp taste. Growing your own Barramundi excites guests and is the envy of neighbors. They provide a decent harvest at the end of the season and are one of the more majestic species of edible fish.

Barramundi

Catfish

There are many different species of catfish around the world that are well suited to aquaponics. Channel catfish are the most widely farmed aquaculture species in the United States, and they are available in many areas of Australia. Catfish don’t have scales so they need to be skinned, they are quick growing and have a good food conversion ratio.

Catfish

Carp

There are many species of carp that could be very well suited to aquaponics, unfortunately because of their reproductive capabilities, their tough nature and ability to readily adapt in many areas of the world, carp have become noxious pests to native waterways and the environment, and as such they are not easily obtainable, and often there are high fines and fees for keeping them. In most western cultures carp also have a fairly poor reputation, as an eating fish, however, carp is still the most widely cultured fish in the world as it’s grown throughout most of Asia.

Carp

Goldfish

Although some people may group these with the carp, I’ve decided to cover these separately as most people refer to them as goldfish, and this is what they will be sold as, at local pet shops or fish suppliers. Goldfish are generally pretty tough and make a great addition to an aquaponic system. In many areas they will breed in a tank, although they generally need plant cover within the tank to breed.

Goldfish

Jade Perch

This native Australian fish is worth a special mention here, as it has the highest levels of omega three oils of any fish species in the world. In fact it’s so high in omega three oils that growers are trying to breed the oil out of them, they are trying to breed a less oily fish because they’ve found people don’t like the high oil content.

They require warm water and consume an omnivorous diet. Very well suited to an aquaponic system, they grow quickly and fingerlings are readily available in warmer areas.

Jade Perch

Koi

Once again, another species of carp, but better known as “Koi” rather than carp. Koi are very common within many Asian communities and they are often found in large ornamental ponds. For those who love Koi, an aquaponic system is a great proposition for stocking the fish.

Koi

Murray Cod

Murray cod are a magnificent native Australian fish, known to grow to enormous sizes in their native habitats, their tank culture is still in reasonably early days. Murray cod are grown in recirculating aquaculture systems, and can also been grown in aquaponic systems, hopefully this fish will be utilized more over time because they are quick growing, and a great eating fish. One of the downfalls is that they must be kept at high stocking densities, and kept well fed otherwise they cannibalize each other.

Murray Cod

Silver Perch

Silver perch are a good allround native Australian fish that grow well under a variety of conditions. Perch are omnivorous and will happily eat green scraps as well as Duckweed and Azolla. They grow within a wide temperature range, though they’re not as fast growing as many other fish, taking 12-18 months for fingerlings to grow to plate size.

Silver Perch

Tilapia

The second most cultured fish in the world, and extremely popular in Aquaponics systems. They are an ideal species for aquaponics for many reasons. They are easy to breed, fast growing, withstand very poor water conditions, consume an omnivorous diet and are good eating. The only downfall for some people will be that Tilapia require warm water. If you live in a cool area you are far better off growing a fish species that will grow well in your temperature range, rather than trying to heat the water. Tilapia are also a declared pest in many areas.

Tilapia

Trout

Trout are a great fish for aquaponic systems where water temperatures are a little cooler. Trout prefer water temperatures between 10° C and 20° C. They have extremely fast growth rates and excellent food conversion ratios.

Trout

Other Species

There are other fish species which are quite suitable for aquaponics, that might be available in your local area. In Europe many different species of carp are grown, within the United States such species as Bluegill are often available, while in Australia we also have a number of other native species like Sleepy cod which would be suitable.

Other aquatic animals that can be incorporated into an aquaponic system are fresh water mussles, fresh water prawns, and fresh water crayfish. Mussles are a filter-feeder, and do a great job of helping to clean the water, they will happily grow in flooded grow beds, or can be incorporated into fish tanks. Crustaceans make a nice addition to an aquaponic system and there are a few different species available depending on your location and water temperatures.

For those in tropical areas there’s Redclaw, a fast growing native Australian species, and for those in cooler areas there’s Yabbies or Marron.

Yabbies breed readily, given the right environment and the correct water temperature, as well as long daylight hours. They also grow fairly quickly, but they can be prone to fighting and cannibalism when stocked very densely.

 

Numbers of Fish

This can be quite a hot topic of debate amongst people who practice aquaponics. Stocking levels of fish within a system can be as high as many intensive recirculating aquaculture systems, however the higher the stocking density the higher the likelihood of things going wrong. In very heavy stocking densities you need to keep a constant eye on all water parameters to be sure that conditions are kept at the optimum.

If you lower the stocking levels of fish then you lower your levels of risk and stress. Growth rates of plants in lightly stocked systems can still be very impressive, this eight bed system was stocked with only 70 fish, thats less than 9 fish per growbed. The fish tank is 5000L and there’s a 1000L sump on the system. The fish in the system at the time of taking this photo were trout and they were around 300– 400g. The plant growth in the eight beds was fantastic. A wide mixture of plants were grown in the beds.

 

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easy diy aquaponics 2 Growing Media

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