Aquaculture is a really interesting thing to do for gardeners. Aquaponics is a combination of raising fish and growing plants in water. These two activities have their name too. Like raising edible fish is called aquaculture and hydroponics means to grow plants especially vegetable in water. This is a great trick where the land is too harsh for growing plants and farming.
You could even make your aquaponics in your backyard. It’s is not a hard job. As an aquaponics has its own ecosystem where the living entities are depended on the other members of the system.
Basic Materials Needed
You will need some essential items to make yourself the perfect aquaponics. They are –
- Water Tank
- Growing Bed
- Pumps and Pipes
The first thing you need is a water tank. The water tank will be used to make a perfect home for the fishes. Theoretically, the system can make habitat for one pound of fish in a gallon of water. But that would be crowded. So, we will go for one pound fish living in 10 gallons of water.
You could make the water tank yourself using wood, or you could find large bin at your nearest local hardware store. If you are going for the plastic bin, we would suggest you go for a food grade one. Such plastic bins can hold 55 gallons or 225 gallons of water. So, choose the one that suits your passion.
The growing bed will be used to plant the vegetable plants. Going for a wooden box is the simplest solution to it. The box should have a depth of 10 inches. As we are giving you the example of growing in the backyard, you could go for the bigger beds.
Now you have filled the beds with a growing medium. You could go for perlite, fine gravel or Coco Coir. These are the most suitable growing medium you could find. These can be found in the local markets. The professionals tend to go for the Coco Coir for their superior air and moisture retaining capabilities. But they are a bit expensive.
Pumps and Pipes
Okay, so now we have two mediums to grow plants and the fish. Now, all we just need to do is to connect these two mediums so that they can be self-dependent. The pump is placed in the water tank that can supply water to the growing beds of the plants. The pipe should be food-grade too. The fish will get nutrients from the plant bed, and the plant bed will get the necessary water from the tank via the pump.
You will not have to spend a lot to do so. A $15 pump is all you need.
You need an aerator to provide oxygen to the fishes. Otherwise, they will die within a day or two. You will always have run the aerator for the safety of o your fishes.
All is set now. Now you have to select the fish that you want to grow. Catfishes are the most suitable fish to grow inside a bin. Moreover, they can sustain the cold weather in the winter. Many people think that Tilapia is the best one you could for. We would suggest you go for a variation of catfishes that would make it more beautiful.
Carps or bigger fishes are not a good option to go for.
So, you have selected the fishes. Now it’s time choose the vegetable or the plant. Remember, we have designed the having only 10 inches in depth. So, whatever plant you choose should have smaller roots.
We will suggest you go for tomatoes, cabbages, cucumbers, lettuce, kale, spinach, basil, etc. These plants have smaller roots and don’t grow that high.
Aquaponics is a great option for a hobby. It will also provide you with regular fresh food. So, what do you think? Are getting interested? Don’t hesitate. Just build yourself an aquaponics.