It is easy to build an aquaponics system if you have the right guidance, the right materials and information. Aquaponics systems can be built using basic tools and materials that are readily available in hardware stores.
In any case, aquaponic systems would consist of a growbed, where the plants would grow and a fish tank where the fish would swim. Now, there are special made aquaponics tanks in the market, but you can also find make do tanks that will do the job just fine for often, at a much cheaper price.
The fish tank could also be an aquarium that you may already have at home. The tank for the plant, or the growbed however, goes on top of the aquarium. This for one, allows for the water from the growbed to gravity flow back to the aquarium. This orientation also allows for easier access and clearance to construct the drain line.
Now for the growbed…
You will need to decide if you want a grow medium like gravel or expanded clay pellets to grow your plants in, or to use a floating raft. A floating raft is easier to construct. It’s inexpensive, lighter, and more mobile but not suitable for large plants though.
It can be made of anything that floats really. Styrofoams are commonly used, but they are not known to be hardy and would not last. Another option would be the kids soft mat. You know, the similar type of mats that are used to pad kids from falling where you can join them together like jig-saw puzzles. Just cut holes in them to hold the plant baskets.
A growing medium on the other hand, provides better anchor and can support larger plants and also make a great place for the bacteria to live. Bacteria make an essential factor to the success of any aquaponics system. They transform the fish waste into plant nutrients or Nitrate to be precise. A good aquaponics guide should be able to help you decide what will suit you best.
You Will Need A Pump
You will also need a water pump to transfer water from the fish tank to the growbed via a hose or a PVC pipe or a combination of both. Then a return line or pipe to drain water from the growbed back to the fish tank.
It is essential to ensure there’s sufficient oxygen in the system. The fish, plant and the bacteria need it to stay alive. There are mainly to ways to achieve this. Run an electrically operated oxygen pump with an air stone or design an aeration line in your system.
This is easy to do. You can connect a “T Joint” at the pump outlet, preferably above the fish tank water level and divert some of the discharged water back to the fish tank. This returned water would mix with oxygen in the atmosphere, increasing the overall oxygen level in your aquaponics system.
The next thing to…
Do now is to decide on what plant and fish to grow. It is important to achieve a good marriage here and the main factor to consider here would be your weather conditions. How is your weather like where you stay?
If you stay in tropical conditions, choose fish and plants that strive in that environmental. If you have cold weather most of the time in the year, than choose a combination that suits best to that environment. You may want to consider building a greenhouse to establish a more controlled environment.
Most leafy plants, herbs and flowers do well in aquaponic systems. There’s also a big range of fish choice that strive with aquaponics, Tilapia being one of the most popular since it’s hardy and mostly carefree.
Food grown using aquaponics systems is healthy, fresh and is all organic. Not only will you have a peace of mind knowing what goes into your fish and how your plants are grown, they are also much better tasting. Follow this link to find out more about How To Build An Aquaponics System.
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