Aquaponics combines the hydroponic cultivation of plants with farming fish, creating a recirculating symbiotic system for sustainable food production. The fish provide nutrients for the plants in the form of waste and the plants filter the waste from the water to keep it clean and healthy for the fish to live in. It’s the ultimate setup for self sufficiency, providing you with power to grow all the food you need to survive.
How it Works
In aquaculture, waste accumulates in the water from the farmed fish living in it. This waste must be removed or it will become increasingly toxic to the fish. Beneficial bacteria in the tank converts the fish wastes into nutrients that plants can use. This water is then sent into a hydroponic system where the nutrients are feed to the plants, filtering the water and eliminating the waste. After the water has been filtered it is then recirculated back to the water tank holding the fish to restart the process all over again.
In Aquaponic systems the most popular fish used is Tilapia because of their large size and mild flavored taste. They are a good source of protein and among the easiest fish to farm. Tilapia are very tolerant of fluctuating water conditions, such as changes in pH, temperature and oxygen. They can tolerate high stocking density and have a rapid growth rate allowing two harvests per year making them ideal as a food source.
The best plants to cultivate in an aquaponics system are leafy greens and herbs like lettuce, spinach, chives, and basil. The high nitrogen fertilizer generated through fish waste allows plants to grow quickly and hardy. Fruiting plants can also thrive in auqaponic systems with more care like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and melons. The only plants that don’t do as well are root crops like potatoes and carrots that normally grow under the soil.
Aquaponics is a great way to grow food for you and your family year round. In fact you can become almost completely self sufficient for food with some careful planning and and a little maintenance. When living in a remote area off the grid, having the ability to produce everything you need to survive yourself is invaluable.