Aquaponics is a revolutionary and novel concept that has swept across the globe. It’s a symbiotic combination of both Aquaculture and Hydroponics. Aquaculture deals with fisheries and the raising of edible fish and crustaceans alike; while Hydroponics deals with growing of vegetation and crops without soil and mostly water.
Simply put, it is a mini self sustainable ecosystem where the fish feed the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish.I personally believe without a doubt that it is a brilliant idea and could also be an Eco-friendly solution to world hunger as it has the ability to rear both edible fish and vegetable crops simultaneously and safely!
So how does it work? Basically when the fish make a poops, overtime time their waste leads to a chemical buildup of ammonia which in turn gets converted to nitrates and nitrites with the help of bacteria.
This is the main reason for water changes in tanks after every few weeks regardless of the filtration system you have.With high enough concentrations this can be toxic for the fish. But do not fear for the plants are here! The plants in the Aquaponic setup take in these nitrites as nutrients thus acting as a biological filter.
Ready-made Aquaponic setups usually can be quite pricey but you can build one pretty easily with basic stuff you have at home.
The proper technique involves having your own plant tray on top of the tank with a substrate media like clay . You would then need an additional pump that redirects water from your tank’s filter directly into the plant tray. The plants will then absorb all the waste through their roots and clean water is then sent back to the tank trough another simple sponge filter. This will prevent dirt and other waster from re-entering your tank.
But if you’re a lazy bastard like myself, then go ahead and use what I call the elastic band method.
The Elastic band Method : All I did to help better filter my aquarium is add a few aquatic plants inside and a Pothos plant ( Devil’s Ivy/Indoor Money plant) fastened to my aquarium’s light via help of an elastic band and I assure you this method has been working wonders on both my tank and my plants!
The possibilities are endless! You could grow your own vegetables that are safe to eat, organic and pesticide free and at the same time rear your own edible mercury free fish all at home!
Whatever plant you choose to use for your own Aquaponics, in the event you do try it for yourself; it is important to remember not to submerge only the roots and not entire plant into the water as this could cause the plants to die out eventually since these plants evolved to grow in a soil medium and not underwater.
The miracles of Mother Nature are all around us. All we need to do is look for them and apply them to our way of life.
Happy Aquaponics ! =D