Aquaponics is a nice blend of fish culture and hydroponics. It is known for the soil-less tree production system. Thanks to state-of-the-art technologies which have made it possible to reduce the size of the system and bring it on the dining table in our living room.
Many of you might already know that fish produce ammonia as their execratory matter. This ammonia is converted to nitrite and further to nitrate by a bacteria which grows automatically in the aquarium. The nitrate then produced is absorbed by the plant. So, you do not need any additional pesticide or extra care. Just feed your fish and get fresh salad ready without any additional cost. Doesn’t it sound interesting?
In the traditional system of Aquaponics, Tiplapia is generally used as fish. Vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, cauliflower and cabbage are usually grown. On the contrary, for aquariums we generally use fancy Goldfish, Koi carp, Carp, Pacu, Angel, Molly, Sword fish. So, feed your fish well, increase the stocking density, and get healthy vegetables ready for the dining table.
This system has several parts.
- Fish tank: Since one requires a high stocking density for an aquaponic system, it is very important to fit an air pump to the tank, to avoid mortality because of less oxygen. For this system, around 38 liters of water is required to produce 500gm of fish. So, the stocking density should be calculated wisely before stocking the fish. Aquaponic tanks usually have a variety of shapes but a circular tank is usually the best option for beginners as it makes it easier to clean sediments. This system should not be within the reach of pets and children.
- Grow Bed: Media beds are easy make and are inexpensive at the same time. Media beds support the root of the plant and acts as a biofilter as well as a solid filter. River rocks and aquaponic stones are generally used as media. Grow beds are 6-12 inches deep. Started seedlings are generally used in this system. As, direct seedling do not work well in this system.
- Bell siphon: This is the unique system to bring back the purified water from the plant grow bed. The water flow such be of such speed that the siphon takes at least 8-10 minutes to bring back the water to the fish tank.
A very small electric or solar pump is used to carry the water from the fish tank to the grow bed. The above process is called RAS( Re circulation Aquaculture System). By using this unique system for a small aquarium, you can easily produce a large amount of plants all by yourself.