Last Updated on June 15, 2023 by Georgie Smith
Millions in the world have no idea of what Aquaponics means. To understand its meaning, these two other terms you should first understand.
- Best Aquaponics Books: 2023 Reviews (Top Picks) and Beginner’s Guide
- How Do Aquarium Snails Reproduce?
- Hydroponics Store Near Me: Find the Best Hydroponics Supplies Near You (2023)
Aquaculture is the farming of fish. Though other water animals can fall into the same category as water creatures like crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic plants, and other marine creatures. In aquaculture fresh water and salt, water creatures are cultivated using controlled environment procedures.
Aquaculture is not the same as fish farming passé. In fish farming, there is a lot of commercial processes involved, and it can be a general thing.
One of the importance of aquaculture is that it provides an excellent source of food and commercial products. Our environment is essential to us, and we should take care of it. Aquaculture is one of the ways we take care of the earth and environment. Endangered species continues having protection and rebuilt using this process.
Hydroponics is one process that some people may find hard to believe; especially in areas where development is still behind. We know that plants need water and soil to grow. However, can plants harvest without soil? Yes. By using particular methods to grow plants using nutrient solutions put in water to create solvents.
Here plants are grown with their roots exposed to the nutrients. Some support comes from some inert medium placed in water. The nutrients these plants receive come from different sources including fish manure. (you can learn more about hydroponics by reading these books).
So what is Aquaponics?
This the combined use of aquaculture and hydroponics to rare fish and plants using a unique system with a controlled environment. Plants and fish benefit from each other whereby plants get nutrients from fish and their water filters by the plants.
These steps are vital for the fish to stay in a clean environment. It is a symbiotic relationship. There is a third player in this system called the nitrifying bacteria or microbes.
These convert ammonia from fish to nitrites first before converting the nitrites into nitrates which are a nitrogen form for plant intake and proper growth.
There is also a substantial amount of fish waste. The waste turns into manure or vermicompost which can be taken in by plants for proper growth.
The system ensures that the two benefit sufficiently from each other. The mutual benefit is what makes the growth and well-being of all of them eliminate some issues that they face.
How Does an Aquaponics System Work?
Now that you know what an Aquaponics system is it is time to learn a bit about how the system works.The method involves a grow bed for plants and fish tanks. Water flows back and forth from the fish tank to the grow bed. That is a symbiotic kind of system that is very easy to understand.
Fish release waste products into the water which provides plants with clean water and a clean environment. Without clean water, there is a possibility of the fish dying in their dirt.
A pipe connects the fish tank to the plant grow bed. Water flows from the fish tank and passes under the plant roots before flowing back into the fish tank. It is a system because the water moves back and back.
As water passes through the roots, the plants extract the nutrients which are merely fish wastes, as water recirculates to the fish tank, it is cleaned by the plants.
Microbes also have a part to play in this system, they convert the fish waste into nitrites and then into nitrates for plants to take in.
What are the Benefits of Using an Aquaponics Kit?
There are a significant number of benefits associated with this system. The system itself is a simple procedure that makes the best method for aquaculture. Here are some of the benefits of this system:
The production of food is the main benefit of this system. It enables one to rare fish and plants for commercial purposes in the same place. How much space would it take to rare fish aside and plants in a different place? These products can be used for consumption and can be sold to make money.
It saves you money and time shopping for fish and vegetables while ensuring fresh food straight from the farm. There is plenty of refined food on the market, and this can be an excellent source of fresh food with plenty of nutrients for your benefit.
Food moles are no threat to this system that ensures local food production. So, what exactly does this mean?
Imagine if you were to grow crops in a semi-arid area. How much water would you need to irrigate your plants? Irrigation requires large amounts of water which goes into the soil with no reversing option. With this system, only about 1/10 of the water works for the irrigation.
The system does not consume much energy. Meaning you can get your benefits while saving at the same time. As much as the flow of water needs controlling by use of power, it does not require that much energy.
Using this system boosts the growth rate of your plants. The way plants grow is if they receive enough nutrients from the soil. That is why plants in a fertile area with adequate moisture grow faster and better.
Here, the plants receive the maximum amount of nutrients which helps them to develop undisturbed. The system is a controlled environment that ensures the plants within the system do not struggle for nutrients.
There is no Need of Tilling or Weeding
Weeds are one of the most significant challenges that farmers face because weeds grow primarily on land. Here plants grow in water so even if there were weeds, you just pull them out.
No Diseases That are Soil-Borne
Many of plant diseases come from the soil. With this system, you do not have to worry about that for obvious reasons. There is no risk of ground worms, so there is no need to spend money on pesticides.
Saves You Money
Plants need fertilizers. Most of the soils in our world do not have enough nutrients to support proper growth, because of this; farmers turn to using chemical fertilizers to boost soil fertility. With Aquaponics system, the plants receive natural fertilization which has no chemicals and comes with health benefits.
Compounds are the source of many human diseases in the world today. You do not need pesticides or chemicals for this kind of farming.
Fish are a plentiful source of good, healthy proteins. The system ensures cleanliness which results in healthy fish. With the Food Administration enforcing stricter health requirements on seafood, this is a vital detail.
Healthy fish is packed full of proteins. It is also the leading seafood that is available across the world. Having a crop of healthy fish can prove to be lucrative financially.
Types of Aquaponics Kits
There are three main types of Aquaponics systems. However, there are those characteristics that are common to all of them. A fish tank and a plant bed that is free to soil are the main components of the system.
Differences come on filtration and plumbing characteristics. Type of plant bed is also another component that makes a difference and water circulation speed.
Media Filled Beds
Of all the Aquaponics kits, this is the simplest to operate. Small porous rocks, mostly clay pellets are filled garden beds in which plants grow. Some may confuse this with soil beds, but, the truth is, they are not.
There are two main ways to get water into the bed and back. That is through pumping or use of gravity if the layout of your system is slanting. The rocks are valuable because they are porous and they hold water for a more extended period so that the uptake can be efficient.
There is a possibility of there being parasites in the soil which are filtered by the rocks making the water even cleaner for the fish. In the garden, one can either choose to have water flow continuously through it or use flooding and draining technique.
This system can be very advantageous for large-scale production, only that the stones can prove to be quite expensive. There is also a risk of the pumps being blocked by the fish, and therefore it is advisable for permaculture gardeners using to be very observant.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
In hydroponics, this is the most straightforward system and probably the one most commonly used. However, in Aquaponics, it is not very common. With this method water rich in nutrients pump through a small enclosed gutter. The water flows through with a fragile film.
The plants sit in small cups and can sufficiently draw nutrients from the water. This method is very efficient for small plants.
The gutters are lightweight though, meaning they are not suitable as a support for some plants. The plants which have heavy top can quickly sink into the cups. A person using this system has, therefore, to be very careful not to place them under too much pressure.
Deep Water Culture
This system could be perhaps the most advanced Aquaponics system on the market today. It merely uses a hanging system whereby plants float on top of the water with the roots hanging in the water. For commercial purposes, this is the most commonly used.
This system requires that the water soften by filtering any matter that can be in it before it is allowed to reach the plants. There are unique materials for this, and they are cheap and readily available.
In commercial production, the system applies rafts hanging over fish tanks method that allows for many crops production at once. It is however easy to be used by a permaculture gardener.
Top 8 Best Aquaponics Systems:
There could be many Aquaponics systems on the market today because the market itself has significantly expanded. Scientific innovations and technological advancements have made aquaculture comfortable and the best commercial venture. Here is a review of the best systems today.
Here we have one of the best small systems. It is a self-sustaining kit for home, school, or office. The kit can comfortably fit any 10-gallon aquarium. If you are looking to grow decorative plants for your home or office, then this method will make sure you achieve just that. There is a particular curriculum available and can be a perfect learning tool for students to explore nature.
It has a quiet water flow due to adjustable drain extenders. So are you looking to have a change of view in your place? This system could give you just what you need.
Buy from Amazon
FIRINER Hydroponic Growing System 8 Pods Microfarm Aquaponics Garden
If you are thinking of simplicity and style, then this garden will surely catch your attention. You can use it at your home with ease and efficiency. Get your fish clean water without having to struggle to change your water while getting nutrients to your plants.
Whether in the dark or light, your plants have year-round growth assurance because the system comes with a light.
The garden has a mark of trust because of the manufacturer. The Springworks design is by the company that has created one of the largest Aquaponics plants in the world.
Buy from Amazon
ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Indoor Garden System With LED Light Upgrade
Are you looking to grow a yearlong fresh organic produce? This garden can enable you to do this on your 20-gallon fish tank. The Eco-Cycle is a sustainable enclosed system that lets fish produce nutrients for your plants while the plants clean the water.
There is no need to change water. If you fancy classic things, then this one will blow your mind. It has low energy LED light with four growth settings and a remote control system. The system is easy to control and has an inbuilt timer that gives you nothing but efficiency.
Buy from Amazon
Aqueon NeoGlow LED Aquarium Kit Pink 5.5
The Aqueon can be considered a smart system. It comes with a two-tier Acrylic tank with dual waterfalls. It has a capacity of 5 water gallons for fish and plant bed. As if that is not enough, the system has a 6- 3’ plant grows pots. The size of this system is just amazing. The 19’ by 15’ by 13’ will give your fish and plants just enough space to grow and be free.
This system comes with a lifetime warranty, what more could you need in an efficient system? If you are looking to grow some flowers in your room, this is the system to consider.
Buy from Amazon
Penn-Plax Aqua Terrarium Aquatonic Aquarium Midsize System B
Here is one of the systems made with a great sense of style. It contains an acrylic tank with waterfalls made from the USA. The tank can contain 5 gallons of water, enough to hold your fish and plants. It includes four grow pots 3’ each.
The size of the system is good enough to keep your plants and fish in a spacious condition. There is a lifetime warranty on all systems. The Fin to Flower system can add a great view to your house and or your office.
Buy from Amazon
Marineland flower Aquatonic Aquarium Mini system A
This system is quite convenient for a person looking for simplicity and a small system. The system has a 2-gallon capacity acrylic tank for your fish and plants. The tank has a waterfall made in the USA and built to last. It has 2-inch plant grow pots that are 2’ each in size.
It is small and portable, 9’ by 9’ by 11’ in size which makes it easy to fit anywhere in your house. All systems come with a lifetime warranty. Moreover, if you need a comfortable, stylish jar for your fish and plants, look no further.
Buy from Amazon
Fluval Betta Premium Aquarium Kit, 2.6 Gallon
Just like the name suggests, this is the best Fluval Bettaon Amazon. It is a beautiful decoration that you would love to have in your home or office. This system provides a clean self-maintaining ecosystem which makes it easy to maintain.
It comes with a one-year warranty, so you do not have to worry about breakage. Talk of aquarium smart starter kit; this one includes a remote, phone app, plant medium, and integrated Aquaponics filter.
It may sound complicated, but it has the most straightforward setup. You merely add seeds and water, then you plug in, and you are good to go.
Buy from Amazon
Back to the Roots Water Garden
Simple as the name sounds so is the system. It may be the best product for a house and office décor. With this system, you bring the garden to your house or office. Due to the simplicity of the system, you can be sure it is easy to use.
Every detail you read about Aquaponics at the top of this article can be learned by utilizing this system. It comes with a 3-gallon water tank; it has organic wheat grass and radish sprout seeds. Apart from this, it contains a coupon and food for your fish, a silent water pump, and grow stones.
Buy from Amazon
Best Fish and Plants for Aquaponics
When using the Aquaponics system, you need to make sure you have the right fish and plants. Some fish may eat up your plants and cause them to rot. Some plants may be toxic to the fish or too heavy for your system. Here is a list of plants and fish suitable for your system.
- Fancy goldfish
Also, Ornamental fish such as angelfish, guppies, tetras, mollies, and swordfish.
- Any leafy lettuces
- Pak choi
- Swish chard
- Common water plants
Aquaponics store near me
Q: What should I consider when choosing an Aquaponics system?
A: There are several factors to consider before choosing a system. The most important one is to understand your need. When you know your need, you can check out a list of systems available and choose the one that suits your needs.
Q: Do Aquaponics have any detrimental effect on the environment?
A: No. On the contrary, it is good for the environment because natural resources are involved. The system does not in any way get in touch with the surrounding environment.
Q: Can Aquaponics systems be used to grow flowers for commercial use?
A: Absolutely. That is the best way to ensure you have production all year round. The fact that you do not need soil means you can grow your flowers anywhere and in whatever quantity.
Q: How do I set up an Aquaponics system?
A: If you are not an expert and just starting for the first time, it is advisable to start from a simple system. There are many systems available, and some of them have tutorial videos, so you do not struggle to install them. You can get one ready to use from a site like Amazon.
Q: If I put an Aquaponics system in my house, will it be hard to keep it clean?
A: There is no difficulty in cleaning an Aquaponics system, in fact, some you do not need to clean because they are self-sustaining. The plants clean the water by removing fish waste from it. The water stays clean to give your fish a healthy and clean environment.
Aquaponics is becoming very common today. This method of cultivation is something people or starting to view as a solution to many foods related issues like hunger and drought. The cultivation can be used to embrace and elevate society to a greater level. It is quite appealing because it is a simple system that can produce two types of food at the same, fish and plants.
There is much fish to choose from and whatever system you decide to use, keep in mind the type of fish you want to rare and plants you wish to put into your system. Not every type of fish will give you good results. Do some research before you rush to purchase a system. Do your homework to make sure you understand you have an excellent understanding of what the systems do.
There are more and more opportunities that are beginning to surface of this market. However, getting into it without proper knowledge can be costly. The market is large for fish and plant products.
Some of the challenges may be the sourcing of fish. One must make sure that the source of the fish is organic and sustainable.