Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics

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Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics

Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics from aquaponicsphilippines

Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics

Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics from aquaponicsphilippines

I was recently asked to write about hydroponics and aquaponics.  I know enough about aquaponics to create a system, but do not have one.  In the neverending list of projects, this one is a little lower on the list, but I definitely want to build one eventually.

Basically, Hydroponics systems involve a grow bed with flowing water.  The water has an injection of minerals and food that is pretty much hands off, except the refilling of the mineral solution.  The water is kept aerated by a bubbler.  The plants are usually given a bed of rocks, gravel, peet moss, or similar material that will hold and trap the vitamins while providing a medium for the plants to cling to.

Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics

Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics from Webhydro

A form of Hydroponics is called Aquaponics.  What is the difference though?  Aquaponics no longer has the vitamin solution being added to it.  The way we get the nutrients to the plants is through poop!  There is another tank with fish in it.  These fish eat the fish food that you feed them, crap out waste, which is great fertilizer for the plants.  The fishy crap water is then pumped up to the grow bed.  The grow bed fills up as the water is pumped.  Once a certain level is reached, a syphon pipe, then creates a negative pressure that automatically dumps the water back down into the fish tank.

The plants and grow media, both help aerate the water for the fishies.  Both products end up feeding off of the other.  The idea of symbiosis is a permaculture principle, even though the system itself is not a permanent culture, that would continue without power or our interference.

So what are the main advantages and disadvantages?

  • Hydroponics can be picky with pH.  You monitor the water and add nutrients to adjust the pH.  PH doesn’t typically fluctuate much either.
  • Aquaponics will take care off most of the water needs, but has larger pH swings.
  • If your system gets out of whack, you may loose both fish and food in aquaponics.
  • With both, if you keep the roots under water too much, they will begin to have problems, such as the wrong bacteria.

The systems can be expensive, but if made in a DIY fashion with a 250gal IBC tote can be very inexpensive.

Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics

Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics from Mediamatic

The Fish:

The fish in the system is freshwater fish.  One of the primary fish used is tilapia, because it is a good edible fish.  You can use Jade or Silver Perch, Eel-tailed or Tanandus Catfish, Koi, or Goldfish.  Temperate climate systems have the ability to use Bluegill or Catfish in their systems, and they don’t have to worry a lot about the water temperature.

Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics

Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics from Pacificaqua (Archived Web Page)

Plants and Media:

Leafy plants tend to work well in the system.  Plants like tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, okra, cantaloupe, and bell peppers are pretty hardy in the system.  Beans, peas, strawberries and melons do well also.  Many people say that radishes, sweet potatoes, and onions do well, but I think I would stray away from attempting “root veggies.”

There are several types of media used in different systems, proof of how versatile they really are:

  1. Reciprocating, Fill and Drain, or Ebb and Flow Systems: This is the one that typically comes to my mind with an IBC Tote system in the back yard.  It has a stationary medium like gravel or clay in the grow bed.  Then the bed is filled by a pump and subsequently drained using a syphon drain, usually made of PVC.
  2. Recirculating, or Closed-Loop Systems: Like Reciprocating, has a solid bed media, but the bed stays flooded with the water.  Lots of people tout that the reciprocating system is better because it inhibits certain bacteria in a recirculating system.
  3. Deep-Water Raft: Many people grow the plants in the aquaculture on Styrofoam beds that float in a deep basin.  They can be packed tighter because the roots grow straight down, and don’t have to spread.
  4. Some other systems are trickle fed from the top, have PVC pipes with holes in them for the plants, and I have seen an aeroponics system that just sprays a mist on the roots.
Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics

Growing of Plants Using Marine Aquaculture With Aquaponics from Engineering for Change

Bacteria GOOD!

Bacteria is needed in the system because the fish create ammonia as a waste product.  That ammonia can be absorbed by the plants in small quantities, but not enough.  Add in Nitrosomonas that turn ammonia to nitrites and Nitrobacter that turns nitrites into nitrates, then you have a very absorbable nutrient for the plants.  Worms can be used for the solid waste to be liquefied.  Biofilters are used to encourage the growth of the bacterias.  PH is a little bit erratic until the bacteria systems are in place, so some base chemicals may need to be added for startup.

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Ken
Ken
Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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