Aquaponics is basically the combination of Aquaculture and Hydroponics, which diminishes the disadvantages of both systems when they are used separately. In this combined system, plants extract nutrients from the system water which in turn cleans the water for the fish to thrive. Bacteria live in the growbed and throughout the system. They convert fish waste or ammonia waste into nitrates, which are used by plants. This conversion is called the nitrogen cycle.
Various fish species can grow in a diy aquaponics system. Your selection of species can depend on several factors, such as local government regulations, your geographical location and the plants you wish to grow. Researchers have found that aquaponics systems use only around 1/10 of the water used in conventional farming of the same scale. That is a huge amount of saving. This system can be highly productive, and can even be a source of additional income.
Types of Aquaponics Systems
Media Beds. This system is very easy to set up on permaculture plots. It consists of garden beds that are filled with tiny porous rocks, usually clay pellets, river stones and the sort. Vegetables are planted on these garden beds or more commonly known as the growbeds in the aquaponics world.
Water, on the other hand, is either drained or pumped via a water pump into the growbeds so the plants can have access to the nutrient rich water. The rocks are porous so they can store water for a long time. They also serve as filters for solid material and parasites along with other biological organisms, preventing them from returning to the water.
Nutrient Film Technique. This involves setting up pipes that are adjacent to the fish tank as well as pumping water through them. The water allows plants to access nutrients as it slowly moves around. Once it reaches the end part of the pipes, it gets drained back to the fish tank. Since there is no water surface or solid material, additional equipment for filtration may be necessary to clean the water, depending on the scale of the system, before it is directed back into the tank. Nevertheless, this system is still highly efficient.
Deep Water Culture. This system is also sometimes called the deep flow system. It involves setting the plants on top of rafts and letting their roots hang in the water. This water is filled with nutrients and has to be filtered from solid wastes. The equipment needed for this system is minimal and affordable. This system is also ideal for permaculture gardens and offers the advantage of a stable environment for the fish and the plants. Since the water is not moved into other systems from the fish tank, temperature or pH level fluctuations are kept to the minimum.
Benefits of DIY Aquaponics
Aquaponics mimics the natural ecosystem between plants and fish. It does not require the use of fertilizers, which can be bad for the watershed and soil. It does not require the use of pesticides and weeding is also non-existent. In addition, a DIY aquaponics system uses ninety percent less water than standard farming. It helps conserve water, protects the lakes and rivers, and conserves gas and energy. What more could you ask for?
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