Do you know to basics of Aquaponics to start your own farm? Read this article to know Aquaponics Growing Fish And Plant Together Practices.
Aquaponics growing fish and plants together is our solution to solve increasing food demands using portable farms.
Anyone can practice it, whether they are beginners and starting it as a hobby or any commercial farmer looking for more sustainable profits.
Aquaponics itself comes from Aquaculture and Ponos from Hydroponics. It beautifully blends these two different processes of cultivating fish and growing plants in a single organic way to grow them together.
Let’s now discuss its evolution, its general requirements, its advantages, and limitations to make you a pro at it.
How Does Aquaponics Work With Plants and Fishes?
A balanced aquaponics system effectively grows many vegetables like Tomatoes, Basil, and fish together, using each other as a nutrient source by recycling the same water after essential cleaning treatments.
In Aquaponics farming, you raise fish in a tank and plants in separate tanks. Nutrient-rich water is transported between them in cycles with the help of pumps.
Bacteria in grow beds and fish tanks convert fish waste ammonia into nitrates that the plants absorb for their growth.
Physical filters are used to remove solid waste or untreated waste to prolong the shelf life of pumps
Plant roots filter water for fish tanks and recycle it fish tanks, and oxygen is supplied through pumps to keep the dissolved oxygen maintained in water for the growth of plants and fishes.
Why Is Aquaponics an Eco-friendly Method?
This method creates a perfect ecosystem where plants, bacteria, and fish live interdependently on each other in the same water.
Fish produce food for bacteria, then bacteria produce food for plants, and plants then again generate food for fishes, and in general, they make food for us.
Native crops yield boosts local economic growth and decreases food imports which help to reduce environmental problems caused by conventional farming and trading.
Another essential reason to practice Aquaponics is that your fruits, plants, herbs, and fish are pesticides and hormone-free, improving our health.
Why Choose Aquaponics Farming: Awesome benefits
1. Less Use Of Water:
It minimizes the need for freshwater, as both systems recycle water, reducing operational costs. It works best for countries in arid zones where water is a big issue.
2. Soil-Less Farming:
It is soil-free farming without using any soil for plant growth as the roots of plant seedlings are absorbed in the fish waste water; thus, its products are full of nutrients and consumer-friendly with no artificial pesticide or herbicide.
3. Decrease In Water Pollution:
When we practice aquaculture, the only waste from fishes or other aquatic species in the form of Ammonia pollutes water on their discharge in the sea or river.
So feeding that Ammonia in the form of nitrates reduces environmental pollution.
The aquaponic system uses 90% less water than traditional farming because the water is recycled between fish and plant fields.
4. Decrease in Use of Fertilizer
The wastewater produced from the aquaculture with Aquaponics is fed to plants using the hydroponic portion of the system.
The roots of plants immersed in the fish waste water grow without using any additional fertilizer.
5. Natural Biofilters Promotes Growth:
Media used to grow the plants also provides bacteria to clean Ammonia and roots naturally clean water, reducing the expense of expensive bio-filters and improving the growth of plants and fishes.
6. Aquaponic Nitrogen Cycle
It is the heart of this process, which we called the Nitrification Process in scientific terms.
In this process, Ammonia and nitrites present in fish feces are changed into nitrates with the help of bacteria in the fish tank and plant grow bed media as plant roots can readily absorb nitrates compared to Ammonia and nitrites.
In larger quantities, Ammonia and nitrites are even toxic for fishes or other aquatic species. And hinders their growth as well.
We can arrange Aquaponic systems in any shape and size, from simple gardens or greenhouses to large-scale commercial aquaponics farm sites as per our needs.
Some of the Essentials that need to be set up and Aquaponics are:
We must keep our Aquaponic system near sunlight as it is an essential factor for plant growth. It is essential for photosynthesis, by which plants grow.
2. Rearing Tank:
Generally, our fishes or other Aquatic animals are bred in these rearing tanks to grow and get their nutrients. Its size varies from a small aquarium to more extensive ponds.
3. A Water Tank or Canal System:
This is another tank where we grow plants by supplying the excess nutrients from the fish waste water by connecting the water tank to the Rearing tank.
In between the water tank and rearing tank in commercial setups, sump tank, and settling basins are also present to remove solid waste.
4. Plant Bed:
These are media beds, floating rafts, or places suspended over water tanks to keep the roots of seedlings immersed in nutrient water.
It would help if you considered the climate of your place as your yield will affect the plant based on the temperature they grow in like cold areas would grow cold climate crops and the warm regions would grow mild climate crops.
6. Correct Techniques for Germination:
It is essential to properly grow your plant seedling by cleaning, soaking, and sprouting your plants to a certain height and leaf size in a controlled, humid environment before planting them into Aquaponic systems.
Best Aquaponics Plants With Fishes
|For Commercial Aquaponics Farming||For home-based Aquaponics Gardening|
|Potatoes||Herbs such as basil, mint, chives|
|Herbs such as basil, mint, chives||Papaya|
|Spinach||dwarf coconut palm|
|Strawberries||dwarf citrus trees|
Best Fishes For Aquaponics Farming
|For Commercial Aquaponics Farming||For home-based Aquaponics Gardening|
Water Pumps for Circulating Water
It also plays an essential role in water and oxygen circulation within the Aquaponic System. Usually, pumps with timers are used to circulate water in cycles between tanks.
Types of Aquaponics System:
There are four primary types of aquaponics systems used in Aquaponics growing Fishes and plants together:
1. Deep Water Culture (D.W.C.):
In this method, plants seedling roots will remain suspended in an oxygenated, nutrient-rich solution full of nitrates.
Plants are usually grown on rafts or floating tray boards supporting net pots within holes where seedlings are placed, which float on water.
After the filtration process, the nutrient-rich water flows continuously from the rearing tank to the raft tank, where the plants will grow, and finally back to the fish tank after passing through the sump tank.
Lettuce, Basil, Kale, Swiss chard, Cabbage, Bok Choy, Mint, and Watercress are the most suitable plants for this method.
- It is most suitable for commercial farming.
- Less maintenance as raft beds are easy to clean
- Labor requirements are less
- High productivity of crops due to oxygenated roots
- The roots depend entirely on water nutrients; occasionally, it is necessary to clean the water.
- It is expensive for home-based farming
- Chances of root rot due to excess water
2. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
In this technique, plants are grown in narrow reservoirs like grow pipes.
Water continuously flows down each grow pipe in the fish tanks to create thin film layers after filtration to provide plant roots with water, nutrients, and oxygen.
Additional bio-filters are required to convert fish waste ammonia into nitrates, a nitrogen source essential for plant growth.
Vegetables like lettuce, mixed greens, Bok-Choy, various herbs, spinach, and broccoli are quickly grown using Nutrient Film Technique (NFT).
- They are easy to operate as compared to other methods
- It can be set commercially and at home in simple greenhouses.
- Proper cleaning of pipes and reservoir are needed to avoid clogging.
- In case of pump failure, it will affect the yield of plants.
3. Media Bed System:
This technique is best for new planters as it includes planting seedlings in a standard gravel bed or River rock bed system and connecting it to a fish aquarium using pumps and pipes.
The grow bed is periodically flooded with nutrition-packed water straight from the fish tank via a bell siphon so that the plant roots can soak up and screen the nutrients.
The plant roots in the grow beds get direct access to the nutrients water. The roots filter and clean the water before returning it to the fish tank to grow the fish.
The plant suitable for the media bed system are tomatoes, eggplants, ginger, sage, beans, and pepper
- It is ideal for beginner’s farming.
- It is for home gardening
- It is not suitable for commercial setup.
- A suitable medium is expensive to purchase.
4. Hybrid Aquaponics System
A hybrid aquaponics system associates two to three different aquaponics systems. Commercial users prefer this aquaponics system to occupy less space and save time.
There are several methods to use in the hybrid system; you can use the ebb and flow, which is quite similar media bed and the D.W.C. method, and grow more plants in a limited space.
You need to modify the design to your desired requirement to grow plants. This method is relatively inexpensive and easy to use compared to other methods.
• It is flexible to grow plants.
• Its productivity is high as compared to other methods.
• It is more complex to design
• Its initial cost is expensive.
Aquaponics Growing Fish and Plant Together FAQS
Q: Is Aquaponics A Viable Method?
Yes, you can grow four times faster than the traditional method using Aquaponics
Q: Which Plants Can Be Grown Using Aquaponics?
Tomatoes, Cucumber, Spinach, Basil, Lettuce, Broccoli, and potatoes are the most popular plant to grow using this technique.
Q: Which Fishes Are Most Popular To Grow Using Aquaponics?
Tilapia, Koi, Bluegill, and Goldfish are popular choices for using Aquaponics.
Q: Are Aquaponic Plants healthy?
Yes, as it is a soil-free method, plants are free of fertilizers and pesticides.
Aquaponics growing fish and plants together is our step toward a Green Environment as we are saving water, decreasing air and water pollution, and at the same time decreasing food crises caused by over-population.
My name is Olivia, staying in the United States, and I love to have plants in my garden. Lots of plants are there in my balcony, indoor and outdoor garden also. Here I am trying to share useful tips on gardening, how to grow and care for various plants, etc. Check out more.