Most Common Questions About Aquaponics - What It Is & How It Can Be Used To Grow Organic Veggies?
By Shawn Harris on July 07, 2011
I hope in this article to address some of the most common questions around the best organic gardening technique currently available: aquaponics. How does it work? How is it better than hydroponics alone? Why is it so great for growing 100% organic produce?
If you don't know what aquaponics is, it is the combination of hydroponics (growing plants without soil) coupled with aquaculture (fish farming). One of the biggest problems of aquaculture that is solved by aquaponics is: what do you do with all that fish poop? If you've ever owned an aquarium, you know what a pain cleaning it is. Additionally, one of the biggest problems with hydroponics is also solved by aquaponics: how can I avoid having to use all those chemical additives to provide a healthy growing environment for my plants? Well, let's see how both of these problems actually become positive attributes with the aquaponic system.
Aquaponics takes advantage of an interdependence that you develop between plants and fish. Fish are put inside a tank and left there for some time - a few months initially to get the whole system primed for planting. The fishes' job is simple: eat and poop in a very normal way. You see, it is the fish poop that is going to be used as food for your plants. This might sound quite strange in the beginning especially when you consider that the fish excrements contain ammonia, which is toxic for any fish and if left unchecked, will endanger their lives. This issue is solved naturally however, since the ammonia is decomposed in the presence of oxygen through 2 harmless strains of bacteria, into nitrites and afterwards nitrates, which are beneficial to the plants. Plants LOVE nitrates!
Once the quantity of nitrites reaches a suitable level, seeds are planted in netting pots. The nitrate-laden water is then washed over the plant roots helping the plants grow and thrive. By absorbing the nitrates, this leaves the water fresh and clean for the fish. As I mentioned, the entire cycle takes a while to get going, so my recommendation is that you don't plant your seeds until after three months of buying your fish. Since this is a steady cycle, there may be periods where the plants won't have sufficient nutrients to develop properly, if the health of your fish declines. It is critical to feed your fish daily, not that that's a lot of work, mind you.
As you can see, aquaponics is a marriage made in heaven. Your fish are happy having clean water, your plants are happy having an abundance of minerals, and best of all... YOU are happy as you have little work to do once the whole system is running and you are harvesting fresh, 100% organic food daily as well as healthy, tasty fish, should you desire it. (Think: tilapia!) Aquaponics is one of the greatest solutions to growing organic produce indoors all year round.
If you are interested in learning more such as how to set up your own aquaponics system, what you can grow, what fish you can "farm" and more, check out:
on the web. Happy gardening!!Shawn's newest love is aquaponics and growing his own organic food at home indoors. (Check out: http://indoororganicgardeningathome.com ) He has found the zen nature of fish and farming to be quite calming when chaos ensues! Unfortunately, he is also going at the real estate game alone currently and has been forced to master all things "For Sale By Owner" / FSBO. Whew. What a learning curve! Formally trained as a synthetic organic chemist at Columbia ( http://organicchemistry.com ), Shawn has forsaken the life of a scientist to do graphic design, teach middle school and now be the tech guy at an alternative high school. He enjoys snowboarding, kung-fu movies and spending time with his wonderful family and cat Wembley. And, of course... AQUAPONICS!
Original article published on SooperArticles.com
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