Aquaponics: Growing Fish and Food Sustainably

Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture, which is growing fish and other aquatic animals, and hydroponics which is growing plants without soil. Aquaponics uses these two in a symbiotic combination in which plants are fed the aquatic animals’ discharge or waste. In return, the vegetables clean the water that goes back to the fish. Along with the fish and their waste, microbes play an important role to the nutrition of the plants. These beneficial bacteria gather in the spaces between the roots of the plant and converts the fish waste and the solids into substances the plants can use to grow. The result is a perfect collaboration between aquaculture and gardening.

Aquaponics is a big hope for sustainable organic crop production, aquaculture and water consumption. The fish waste is recycled and used for plant growth instead of throwing it in the ocean. The water is recirculated in a closed system lowering the consumption of this resource.

PAYAM AQUAPONICS: I got this as part of the kickstarter campaign. I have had a great time with this project. But it is a project. You can’t hand this to a kid and say, “Have fun!”. It takes some thought, some planning, a lot of patience and a little imagination. I had great success with this and are currently housing 8 living swimming fish, and growing basil, oregano, mint, chives, dill and thyme. Here’s some good information about an aquaponics system.

You need a grow light. I got one at clas ohlson that works well and looks good. Know what we used to attach it to the stand? Black zip ties. They blend right in and look great.

You need to replace the black connector tube with something else. I found clear plastic tubing at a home supply house for about a 10 SEK. The black tube they send you looks terrible.

You need to be near an outlet. Why? Because this thing takes a bunch of cords: the light, the pump, the heater for the tank. And I about to add an LED light for the tank because it’s a little dark. You need to be near an outlet.

Set up the tank first with the gravel, plants, decorations, etc. then add the rigging for the hydroponic garden. Once you’ve got the hydroponic thing set up, it’s heavy and hard to work around. You can do it, but it will take 2 of you.

Get your plants started about a month before you add any fish. In my case, I waited 2 months. I added some plants and grew others from seeds. Both seem to be thriving well. But if the plants don’t do well, and you start changing things up, you might kill the fish. Make sure it works as a garden before you start with the fish.

Then add your fish. One kind at a time. It’s only a 10 gallon tank, so you won’t be adding a bunch of fish. But again, one kind at a time and see how they do. Angel fish, tetras and betas worked well for me.

One other thing. You will need to add water to this tank more often than with regular tanks. It’s an open ecosystem, so there is more evaporation. When the water levels are low, the thing is extra noisy. I keep a gallon pitcher around to refill the tank at least once a week.

I’m adding some pictures, and i know, I’m a terrible photographer. But I wanted you to see that we really have made this work. And in case you are interested, yes those are plastic dinosaurs peaking out of the plants and in with the fish.

Leave a Reply