Aquaponics is plants and fish working together in a synergistic and sustainable system to provide a healthy source of food. Sounds great right?
If you’re still unfamiliar with the concept of aquaponic gardening and you want to learn, this short video guide by Mashable breaks it down nicely. The host explains what aquaponics is, how it works, what fish they use, what plants they grow and the benefits of running an aquaponics system.
Most Important Points to Take Away
The host explains how water is used more efficiently in an aquaponics system compared to traditional gardening.
“Even though we’re surrounded by water, aquaponics is 95% more efficient with its water than traditional gardening. If you pour water onto your plants, only about 2 to 5% makes it into that plant. But here in the aquaponics setup, the water flows back and forth, and while we do get evaporation, it’s nothing close to the evaporation you get in soil”.
This is only made possible because of how an aquaponics system functions. To put it simply, fish produce nutrients in the water that the plants proceed to absorb, and in return, the plant roots filter the water back down to the fish and the cycle continues.
Anyone who decides to set up a home aquaponics system will have to bear in mind the on going costs of running the system.
“This entire system probably has a few thousand gallons of water and there’s only two 35 watt pumps powering the whole thing. There’s no other electricity involved anywhere.”
One of the biggest costs will be electricity, so it’s important to choose an energy efficient grow light if you’re growing indoors and also a good water pump. With that being said, aquaponic farming is still very cost effective.
Chlorine in Water
If you don’t know much about raising fish or growing plants, it’s quite easy to assume that they can live fine in normal tap water. However, that’s not the case.
“I didn’t realise how much chlorine and other chemicals was in our tap water until I tried to start a [aquaponics] system from scratch. Fish can’t live in our tap water. Plants can’t live in our tap water. Luckily, chlorine evaporates easily off gases so all you have to do is leave a bucket of water out and all the chlorine will eventually evaporate.”
Fish and plants are crucial to an aquaponics system so making sure they are properly taken care of – from having the correct water temperature, ammonia levels, stocking density and so forth – are necessary maintenance issues.
One of the biggest reasons why so many people have turned to growing their own food via their own aquaponics system is control over what they’re eating. They know that the food produced in an aquaponics system doesn’t contain all the chemicals that are prevalent in fruits and vegetables sold in supermarkets.
“Because fish are one of the cornerstones of the entire system, and it’s really easy to poison fish, aquaponics is by nature, organic. You can’t use pesticides on the plants because it’ll just seep right into the water and kill all our important fish. So just as a side effect of how the system works, you get some of the cleanest, most nutrient dense food possible.”
You may be thinking how on earth are you supposed to get rid of insects that are harmful to the plants. The answer is by releasing other insects that are not harmful but will do a good job at eating those that are. This is all explained in the video, as is so much other information jam packed into a little over 4 minutes.
To get the most out of your aquaponics system, I highly recommend the following articles, where you can decide from the highest rated and bestselling products for aquaponics.