Aquaponics is the process of raising fish and growing plants together for maximum benefits. It combines aquaculture, which refers to commercial fish farming, and hydroponics, a process of growing ornamental and agricultural plants in water and fertilizer. It eliminates the major environmental issues associated with traditional farming and aquaculture. In addition, it provides a healthy organic food source.
Three Main Types of Aquaponics Systems
Media-filled beds are the most basic type of aquaponics systems. They make use of containers that are filled with a medium to hold the plants upright. The medium used consists of river stones, lava rocks and very commonly used expanded clay pebbles. The water coming from the fish tank gets pumped over these media-filled beds. Conversely, plants grow on the rock media. This diy aquaponics system can be used in two ways, either by flooding and draining the grow bed or with a continuous flooding and draining of water of the growbed.
The Nutrient Film Technique is another popular aquaponics system. However, it is not that commonly used. In this system, the nutrient-rich water gets pumped down along tiny enclosed gutters. The water that flows down these gutters is very thin. The plants are kept in tiny plastic holders, which allow their roots to reach the water and absorb its nutrients. This type of aquaponics system is only suitable for specific plants, particularly green leafy vegetables because they have small roots. Bigger plants with bigger roots are not ideal for this lightweight system.
Deep Water Culture is a type of aquaponics system that works behind the idea that floating plants on water have their roots reach the water to absorb the nutrients they need. This system can be used in numerous ways. For instance, it can be used with a floating foam raft over a fish tank or a fish pond even. Here, water is pumped through a filtration system, then, it gets directed into the long channels where the floating rafts with plants absorb the nutrients from the water.
Benefits of DIY Aquaponics
Having a DIY aquaponics system in your home can be beneficial in a number of ways. For example, you can select any type of fish and plant that you want. Goldfish, koi, and other ornamental species of fish are some of the popular aquaponics fish. You can also go for edible fish, such as tilapia, perch, Murray cod, and trout just to name a few. As for the vegetables, you can grow eggplant, lettuce, cabbage, peppers, and even tomato. Basically all leafy plants, flowers and herbs grow well with aquaponics.
DIY Aquaponics is great for the environment since it is self-sustaining and self-balancing. There is no need for you to constantly monitor it as well. However, it is also great for you since you can use it as a source of healthy organic food and a potentially good source of income as well. If you are into commercial scale aquaponics, you can actually start a livelihood of growing and selling vegetables and fish.
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