Aquaponics is the harmonious collaboration between gardening and aquaculture. It’s a closed system which solves the problems of aquaculture (harvesting fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). In a nut shell, it puts waste to use. But you don’t have to be an expert to use this sustainable way of farming. Check out LandCentral’s Aquaponics for Beginners:
It All Begins with Poop
That’s right. With aquaponics, poop reigns supreme. Fish produce a ton of waste that then circulates into the water they breathe. This waste then turns from ammonia into nitrate, which is toxic to fish. In traditional aquaculture, farmers have to apply a ton of chemicals and replace the water regularly to reduce the nitrate levels. Enter aquaponics. Adding plants to the water allows the nitrate to be absorbed by the plants in the form of nutrients.
In the end, fish poop equals plant food.
Nitrate Replaces the Soil
Since most plants need soil to survive, growing plants in a nitrate rich environment is critical for their success. Water doesn’t naturally come with nitrate. In traditional hydroponics, beneficial plant food needs to be added synthetically or by the way of manure. Merging the fish into the mix creates a self-sustaining system without much human involvement. The fish add the waste, the plants absorb the waste, the water is cleaned, and the cycle starts all over again.
Turning Poop into Cash
Aquaponics is a money saving system at its finest. It requires only 10 percent of the water used in regular farming, it never demands the use of harsh or expensive chemicals, and it even frees up with farmers’ time to focus on other forms of income. Aquaponics quite literally turning poop into cash.
Not All Fish Are Created Equal
While all fish create waste, some do it better than others. At least when it comes to plants anyway. The best fish to use in aquaponics is:
Tilapia – These tolerant little suckers can adapt to fluctuating water conditions and are a hot menu item at the fish market. Other contenders include: cod, trout, perch, arctic char and bass.
Plants Are Not Picky Eaters
Plants will eat just about anything so long it has the right amount of nutrients they’re looking for. The best plants to cultivate in an aquaponics system seem to be leafy greens and herbs. But don’t give up on your vegetable garden just yet. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers have been known to enjoy a good aquaponic environment, along with several fruits. For obvious reasons, avoid carrots, potatoes or anything else that grows down instead of up.
So there you have it, LandCentral’s Aquaponics for Beginners. Looking for a step-by-step guide to set up your own aquaponics system? Check out this video. Still need the space to fit your aquaponics system? Check out the available raw land below.