Amazing Simple Aquaponics System For Growing Your Own Food & Fish At Home

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Amazing Simple Aquaponics System For Growing Your Own Food & Fish At Home
Amazing Simple Aquaponics System For Growing Your Own Food & Fish At Home. Photo –

Aquaponics is a fusion of aquaculture and hydroponics together in one system. It is a style of gardening that allows you to catch fish and harvest vegetables for dinner right in your own backyard. You can grow plants and nurture aquatic animals together using an indoor or outdoor aquaponics system, which is a sustainable way to grow food for your homestead.

The aquaponics system uses a recirculating process to grow plants and farm fish. The fish waste serves as organic food for the growing plants while the plants filter and purify the water in which the fish live. This symbiotic closed-loop system also involves two further critical actors – beneficial bacteria and red worms. The former converts the fish waste’s ammonia into nitrates which make excellent plant food. The latter turns the solid wastes and decomposing plant matter into vermicompost.

For this article, we will be discussing an aquaponics system that is a scaled down version of the one designed by Will Allen of nonprofit urban farm Growing Power Inc. He grows an astonishing one million pounds of food on his three-acre farm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The inner-city farm uses the technology to grow affordable fresh vegetables and fish. Growing Power’s farming model has been copied in other urban areas across the U.S.

The most basic parts you need to start up a basic aquaponics system include a fish tank, flood table, water pump and tubing, air pump, concrete blocks or lumber, grow bed media, bell siphon, and plumbing. These components can be easily found at your local hardware, gardening, and DIY stores. Optional components include aquarium heater, light for the fish tank, and grow light for the plants.

There are two important factors to consider when deciding upon the final location of your aquaponics system. One is climate which determines if you could grow all year round or if you need to relocate your system indoors or just shut down for the winter. Another is space which guides you if you need to control much of the environment or which is the most convenient place for an aquaponics system.

Outlined below are the step-by-step instructions on how to assemble an aquaponics system:

1. Wash the gravel and place in the bottom of the tank.
2. Drill holes in the bottom of the grow bed every two square inches. Drill another hole in one of the back corners of the bed and another one for the tubing from the water pump to pass through.
3. Install the water pump in the fish tank, then put the grow bed on top of the tank. One hole will accommodate the tubing from the water tank that should be extended about 3/4 the height of the grow bed and looped around the inside of the grow bed.
4. Fill the bed with the growing medium to just under the top of the tube.
5. Make small holes every two inches in the section of tubing that loops around the grow bed.
6. Cover the loop of tubing with growing medium.
7. Add water to fill the tank and test the pump to check that the water flows down through the growing medium and returns continuously to the tank.
8. Use an air tubing to connect your air pump to the air stone. Turn on the air pump to see if it produces a steady stream of bubbles.
9. Determine the pH level of your water using litmus paper. An aquaponic system needs a 7.0 pH.
10. Let the chlorine dissipate from the water for 24 hours. You can use a chlorine remover which is available from aquarium shops and pet stores.
11. Stock your tank with no more than 1/2″ of fish per gallon of water. You can increase it to 1″ per gallon of water once the system has been established.
12. Wait for a month before you add plants to the aquaponics system.

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