The aquaponics system is gaining more and more popularity as a sustainable gardening method. In fact, aquaponics is unique because, for the first time in the history of modern agriculture, fish and plants keep each other alive. This works in part because the system in question represents a mini-ecosystem. Moreover, according to some, it is the future of the food .
The main principle of aquaponics is the use of shared water between fish and terrestrial plants, which allows the latter to eliminate fish excrement from the water and in this way to be fertilized. In an aquarium, the ammonia contained in fish waste is converted to nitrite and nitrate by bacteria. Indeed, the plants feed on this nitrate and contribute to the cleanliness of the water.
Aquaponics eliminates the addition of fertilizer, one of the most polluting factors in traditional agriculture
By definition, the aquaponics system is an aquaculture system in which waste produced by farmed fish (or other aquatic animals) provides nutrients to hydroponics plants, which in turn purify the water. . It is therefore an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to efficiently produce a lot of food in a small space, especially in metropolitan environments.
The word aquaponics comes from the fusion of two more familiar terms: aquaculture and hydroponics . Aquaculture is often defined as the rearing of fish or crustaceans, while hydroponics is the cultivation of plants without soil. In short, aquaponics combines these two ideas together.
Aquaponics is a closed circuit production system
How does an aquaponic system work?
In fact, aquaculture requires that excess nutrients be removed from the system, while hydroponics requires nutrients for plants. Each system offers what's missing to the other, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not to mention the fact that it's an extremely conservative ecosystem, since an aquaponic system uses only about one tenth of the water compared to growing plants in the soil, and about the same electricity as two light bulbs. In addition, you can forget about weeding and fertilizing plants .
Even large scale aquaponic system versions typically require a single pump to maintain the water cycle from the fish tank to the culture bed. In addition, even a basic pump powered by solar energy will suffice. From the culture bed, the filtered water is returned to the aquarium by gravity. This continuous cycle of water cleaning and oxygenation continues while the water pump is running and allows plants and animals to grow faster and healthier.
What to cultivate?
Almost all non-nursery vegetables can be grown in a hydroponic system. However, the most appropriate plants include cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes , aubergines, peppers, okra. However, root crops such as carrots, potatoes and onions are not suitable for beginner aquaponics.
Many aromatic herbs are suitable for aquaponic gardening. For example, basil, parsley and mint. With regard to fruit crops, strawberries are an ideal option for beginners.
Grow strawberries without soil all year round
Which fish to choose?
In fact, not all fish species are suitable for aquaponic breeding. Most freshwater fish, as well as crayfish and prawns are among the animals that behave well in such an environment. It is also valid for tilapia, trout, bluegill or even goldfish.
In general, the first rule for choosing fish for an aquaponic system is to consider the water temperature. Tropical fish do better in the water at around 20 degrees Celsius, but they are able to survive to around 72 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, cold water fish do not tolerate hot water. In summary, they must be able to adapt to the temperature.
DIY aquaponics system
The DIY versions of the aquitonic system are in most cases composed of a container that settles over an aquarium of similar length and width. Two holes are drilled in the container: an entrance and an exit. This allows an aquarium pump to send water to the plants, and then the filtered water to return to the tank through the outlet.
The pump does not need to be huge, its size varies according to the rise height of the water. The container for plants may be a wider PVC pipe or a tank. The important thing is that its dimensions are proportional to the size of the aquarium. The plants are grown in gravel or special clay granules.
Relative height between fish pond and culture tanks
Aquaponic system in mini version
Aromatic plants grown indoors
Gardening on the balcony in the summer
The structure supporting the whole must be particularly robust
The house system needs a lot of light
Aquaponics is very fun for children