Aquaponics is a way of growing certain species of fish and plants at the same time. It is done with the help of a special ecosystem, using steps to transform fish waste into useful substances for plants. Aquaponics with their own hands is quite a fascinating activity. Especially a private home is suitable for this, although a small system can also be made for apartments.
What is aquaponics
Aquaponics is a great way to diversify your leisure time, because it is a whole ecosystem with living organisms, including fish, plants, bacteria. It is a kind of symbiosis of two cultivation methods – hydroponics and aquaculture.
Aquaponics is a kind of symbiosis in which fish and plants are in a closed biological system.
Hydroponics is considered to be the ancestor of aquaponics. Its history began with the experiments of Johann Van Helmond, who proved that plants can grow without soil, preparing only water for their development. The experiments showed that water purifies itself and can be assimilated by the plant’s root system. This fact turned out to be quite attractive to aquarium fish lovers. And so appeared aquarium photo filters. Their inventor Nikolai Zolotnitsky proved that the fish feel well in such water, and most importantly – do not get sick. Aquaponics has recently received a new round of development because many people are interested in environmentally friendly food.
The main essence of aquaponics is that fish in the process of their life create waste that serves as food and fertilizer for plants. The plants, in turn, clean the aquatic environment, creating comfortable conditions for fish development.
Aquaponics made by your own hands will need to decide on the location of the system, prepare equipment (mainly containers), choose the inhabitants since not all species of fish are suitable for aquaponic systems.
You will need two tanks. One – for growing crops, the second – for fish. Containers must be quite voluminous, large, and airtight. It is better to choose a plastic container for 1000 liters. The bottom of the container for the fish is covered with fine pebbles, soil. The fish need to provide proper lighting and the right temperature regime. The reproduction and circulation of bacteria in the aquatic environment will require the installation of pipes. In the tank for plants, which should be placed above the first, you need to make two holes for the flow of moisture and for drainage.
Thus, to make aquaponics with your own hands will be needed:
filter for water purification;
hydroponic system for plants.
Aquaponics can consist of one section or several subsystems. The step-by-step scheme of aquaponics assembly with your own hands is very simple. The main thing – to build the right pipeline, which requires a pump, which will maintain pressure, and a ball valve to shut off the pipe leading into the aquarium. Next, you will need fittings with male and female threads. The holes in the plant container should match the male threaded fitting. In the fitting with internal thread should fit a filter with a grid.
The siphon will need an opening not less than 3 cm from the bottom edge of the pipe. This will allow you to slowly draw water into the tank and, if necessary, quickly drain it. To delay large pieces of debris, it is recommended to make a filter from a pipe with a diameter of 100 mm. It should make holes in it, so that water gets inside it, and the stones, roots remain outside.
A bypass pipe with a ball valve will help control the water flow for the upper tier of the system with plants. A tap with a pump will help return the water to the aquarium.
How aquaponics works with your own hands
In order for aquaponics to work properly at home, you will need to follow some rules:
The feed must be fed steadily. There are two ways to do this. The first is to use several fish containers and staggered installations. Fish of different development stages can be kept there. The second method involves the development of fish of different ages in one container. In this case, the sorting and catching of fish take place on a monthly basis. This system is suitable for large farms and saves space and costs.
Plant and fish development requires a certain amount of nutrients. Iron, calcium, potassium, and other necessary substances must be monitored regularly.
Excess feed must be removed in a timely manner, as some of it settles to the bottom. Filters and trays should be used to maintain cleanliness. In addition, if not cleaned, the waste will become attached to the roots, reducing oxygen levels. This negatively affects the absorption of moisture and nutrients.
Good aeration will be required. A certain level of dissolved oxygen must be maintained for the proper development of fish and plants. It is also necessary for the life activity of bacteria.
Regular pH control. This is the main indicator of water quality. If the equilibrium is not maintained, the growth and development of living organisms may decrease.
Aquaponics, if properly developed, allows you to grow organic food with your own hands.
Advantages of aquaponics
The main advantages of home aquaponics:
only eco-friendly materials are used, complete rejection of harmful growth stimulants;
High-quality water filtration provides the optimal amount of oxygen necessary for flora and fauna;
significant savings on plant and fish nutrition;
it is possible to grow plants without reference to the time of year;
if the installation will get an unusual design, you can enjoy a beautiful view;
the double result of doing business.
Collectors for aquaponics can not only make their own but also buy ready-made.