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:
- Fish tank
- Water pump
- Gtow medium
- Plants, and
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…
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.
Apart from growing aquaponics plants, the growbed also acts as a bio-filter for your aquarium. When water is pumped into the growbed, fish waste and fish excretion will be converted from its ammonia form, to nitrite by the good bacteria in the growbed. Nitrite is fertilizer to the plants.
You can either build your own growbed using lining and wood. Just make a wooden bow with waterproof lining that would contain your fish tank water in. The second option would be to get a container that is long enough to rest on top of your aquarium.
So, what can grow? That’s a common question I get asked often, and the answer is, you can grow almost anything with aquapnonics. Vegetables; spinach, lettuce, cucumber, kale, tomato, beans, egg plants, salads and the list goes on, thrive with this system. Even herbs and flowers grow readily with aquaponics. Experiment with it if you are not sure, you know…why not 🙂
Aquaponics Grow Medium
The growing medium I anything that helps hold your plants and drains well. It must also have a good surface area for the required bacteria to grow. Gravel is a popular choice here, but it can be heavy if you have a big growbed. Lava rock is also a good choice as they are light and it has a pretty good pH. My favourite would be the Expanded Clay Pebbles. I just love them, simply because they are light and easy to work with. They are sold in most gardening stores, or you can buy them online…
There are a few different systems that you can adopt, but for simplicity, I would recommend the continuous flood system. This is where the growbed is constantly flooded with your fish tank water. To achieve this, just drill a hole at the base of your growbed for the water to drain continuously back to your fish aquarium. This would also ensure a good oxygen supply that your fish and the ammonia digesting bacteria to thrive.
Lighting For The System
This depends very much on the location of your system. If your system is situated at a well lit area with good sunlight that is great. Your plants will grow without problems. But if your system is tucked away in your basement with limited or no sunlight, then you would need a grow-light. You can use T5 lights for this purpose, or LEDs. Thought the latter is much more energy efficient, the T5 lights are the more affordable. Both work great, you just need to work out which one is for you.
Well, with the fish aquarium aquaponics system, you need to do no other than what you would in maintaining your aquarium: just feed the fish. In fact, you would really spend less time in maintaining and keeping your fish tank water clean really. This is because, the nitrogen cycle in the growbed would help to keep your fish tank water clean and fresh. In most cases you would only need to add water to the system. Water changes will be kept to a minimum, especially once your system matures and all the required bacteria is present.
This is a short introduction to a fish aquarium aquaponics system. I hope this article has been beneficial to you, feel free to leave a comment and “like & share” this article if you’ve enjoyed it.
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