A Beginner's Guide to Aquaponics

Aquaponic system

Introducing Aquaponics:

You may have heard of hydroponics, which is the method of growing plants in nutrient rich water rather than soil. Aquaponics takes this system a stage further, by also incorporating the nutrient producers, in the form of fish, and giving an additional yield. Aquaponics systems can be very simple, or extremely complex. There are many different ways to balance the needs of the living elements of the system. Those who also spend some thought on producing feed for the fish through worm farming and other methods, and who consider generating power from renewable sources, can create a truly sustainable food producing system.

AquaponicsElements of Aquaponic Systems:

The most important elements of any aquaponics system are the living elements, which include the plants and the fish, but also the bacteria that allow the system to work. Making sure that all of the living elements are thriving is the key to success. Above and beyond the living elements of the aquaponic system, you will also have to think about the set up. There are a wide range of different options when it comes to exactly how to keep the fish, how and within which medium to grow your plants etc.. Some research is needed to find the right system for you.

Rainbow TroutOne of the important choices to be made, of course, is what type of fish you will use, and which plants you will grow. While tilapia are a common choice in warmer climates, in the UK, rainbow trout and other fish more suited to our climate are a better idea. Still, aquaponics systems are usually set up within a greenhouse or polytunnel, which should protect the system from frost and freezing temperatures during the winter months. Leafy greens will tend to thrive in many aquaponics system, though a wide range of plants can be grown using different types of aquaponic system.

Aquaponics kitBenefits of Aquaponics:

An aquaponics system can have a range of benefits that make it a good option for food production in many cases. There are benefits for the individual and benefits to the planet. Aquaponics systems can grow food faster and generate a higher yield, when properly managed, than traditional soil growing and will use far less water than traditional growing methods. Organic aquaponics systems make it easy to garden free from harmful chemicals and, when run on renewable energy, can be one of the most sustainable options for making the most of a given space.

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