Archive for the ‘DIY Aquaponics’ Category

fish aquarium aquaponics system
If you have a fish aquarium at home, that would be a good base for you to start a fish aquarium aquaponic system on. Now for an aquaponics system to work, you would need all these elements below to be in place:

      • A fish tank
      • Growbed
      • Piping
      • A pump
      • Grow medium
      • Plants and,
      • Fish

With your existing fish tank, you would have already covered at least points #1 and #6. Very likely you would also have a pump that comes with your aquarium. If you are using a submersible pump with your aquarium, this would be perfect. Ok, let’s start off with the…

Growbed

A growbed is where your plants will go and this should rest on top of your fish tank. The growbed is where you grow the selected plants of your choice. This can be from seeds you sow straight into your growbed, or you can opt to use plant seedlings for this purpose as well. You can get hold of plant seedlings in your nearby nursery or you can grow them in separate grow trays. Now, when the seedlings grow to about 2 inches long, you can transfer them to your growbed.

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diy aquaponics or aquaponics kit
DIY aquaponics or aquaponics kit
? I am often asked that question and it’s a valid one of course. And my conclusion is, the final decision would ultimately falls down to the budget that you have at your disposal. If money is not a concern and you want an aquaponics system up and running without much labor, then the diy quaponics kit is the answer, definitely. But if you’re a diy person, even just slightly then by all means do it yourself, it’s easy.

I mean let’s face it and not that I’m a sexist, but statistics show that men are more prone towards diy stuff than women are. Aquaponics originally grew from the beginnings of backyard diy aquaponics and most of these pioneers are men who have at least been involved in agriculture or farming. They are the early do it yourself guys who worked with their hands in constructing the system.

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Aquaponics Farming
Aquaponics farming
is quickly growing in popularity as an alternative way traditional agriculture. It is simple to operate, user friendly and can be executed in large or small scale with ease.

If you are new to aquaponics, it is always a good idea to start out small, learn more about it by getting your hands dirty first, so to speak. And then move on to bigger scales gradually once you have gained the confidence with sufficient knowledge and experience.

With this approach, you do not need a big land nor fertilizers to make it a success. Here, you would have already made a substantial amount on savings. The other obvious benefit on aquaponics farming is that it’s not labour-intensive and does not include the tough physical work associated with conventional farming. This system is definitely an ideal approach to farming for the elderly and less mobile folks.

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Aquaponics Swirl Filter

A swirl filter, also known as solids filter are commonly used in aquaculture set-ups. They are also widely used in aquaponics systems at to help remove fine particles produced from fish waste. This is especially true in semi-commercial and fully commercial scale aquaponics systems with hundreds of aquaponics fish stocked at any given period.

The filter helps to maintain water clarity for the fish to thrive. Fish’s health deteriorates with murky water suspended with food debris and fish poop. It is a must have for DWC (Deep Water Culture) systems as it helps to prevent clogging in the plant roots. Clogged plant roots are detrimental for the plants growth and health.

In a media-filled growbed system, you would not normally need a swirl filter. This is because the growbeds acts as your swirl filter in way that they help cleanse the system water. So, in a way more growbeds equal cleaner water.

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I was tempted to write this blog after reading a report about utilizing aquaponics to fight food scarcity in developing countries in TheGuardian.com. Now, to start-off with the basics…

Aquaponics For Developing Countries

Aquaponics, What Is It?

Well, in a nutshell, aquaponics is a means to produce food by combining fish and vegetables together. This is made possible with the symbiotic relationship that exists naturally between between the fish poop, the right bacteria and plants.

 

How does it work?

The fish excretions in the system is converted into nitrates and eventually to nitrites by bacteria that exists naturally in the system. Plants feed on nitrite as it’s natural fertilizer that they flourish upon.

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Nitrogen-Cycle

The image above shows a typical nitrogen cycle that occurs on earth daily. For an aquaponics system to function properly, we depend highly on the bacteria and its function in the nitrogen cycle. To begin with, Nitrogen really is the fundamental element for all living things on Earth. Essentially, every living organism on earth needs it to transform from one state to another.

Nitrogen cycle is the process whereby microorganisms convert nitrogen that exists in the air (about 78% of the earth’s atmosphere) and organic compounds such as fish excretion, into usable form such as Nitrite and Nitrate in an aquaponics system.

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Retirement Plan

I just read a report on The New York Times recently by David Wallace which states that, “One-third of beginning farmers defined by the federal government as having been in business fewer than 10 years are over age 55”. This indicates that many farmers move on to agriculture only after retiring from other jobs.

Now, the question is why? Is it because agriculture is a great retirement plan or is agricultural farming too physically challenging for the senior citizens to endure? Well, I’m here to tell you there is now a much more attractive retirement plan available today. This includes growing your own organic food and fish with aquaponics systems that can also be a source of extra income for you.

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With a mature and well managed aquaponics water chemistry, you can grow almost anything that you wish to and this amazing reality lies in three important factors: your system’s bio-filter, proper pH range, good quality fish feed.

 

Bio-Filter

The bio-filter simply refers to the nitrifying and nitrating bacteria and the composting red worms (ideally) that reside in your media bed. They in addition to the fish poop make up a mini-ecosystem in your aquaponics system. Think of the bio-filter as the motor in your car. It takes up the gasoline that you pour into it and turns it into energy source that powers up your car.

The establishment of a bio-filter begins with the introduction of ammonia into the system. This can be done either by introducing fish poop, a source of ammonia or synthetically, in a process called ‘cycling’. Basically, cycling is complete when sufficient bacteria have been established to convert all the ammonia in the system to nitrite and subsequently to nitrate, where ammonia and nitrite levels are reading zero.

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Aquaponics - The Big PictureThe art and method of raising fish and cultivating vegetation within a closed water system that uses the natural relationship that between aquatic animals and plants is simply known as aquaponics. Aquaculture and hydroponics are the birth place for aquaponics.

There have been great successes in producing healthy and delicious organic vegetables, fruits and fish with aquaponics globally. And the more reasons why aquaponics has developed a strong following in recent years.

Owning an aquaponics system is simple, and it might be a great investment. You can build one in your backyard, in a greenhouse, or maybe in an underground basement. Once the system is complete, you can even sell the fish and plants you have grown for an extra bug. Your profits from these will be able to pay back the money that you’ve spent building the system. Building the system may look difficult, but it is in fact easy to do if you have the right guidance and information.

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Barrel Aquaponics SystemBarrel aquaponics system is basically an aquaponics system that is built around a barrel. It’s a simple system to build and light on the wallet too. This is a project you can start and complete in one afternoon or so. No power tools are required to get this going. All you need is a saw or a jigsaw if you have one and a drill.

Well, start by getting hold of a barrel you may have laying in the house that is no more in use or buy one. The blue barrels shown here are the 200L variant, and they come in various sizes. Oh, do take note that if you are using an old barrel, make sure you know what was it used for before. If it was used to store any sort of chemicals in the past, it’s best not to re-used it.

It’s just because chemicals are difficult to clean. It may look and smell clean, but they always leave residual behind. A friend of mine had the experience of residual acid leaking out of a barrel as he cut the drum. And this is after a thorough cleaning. So, it’s best to stay away from these drums, cause you never know.

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