Aquaponics is an exciting new way of growing food and fish together in a closed soilless ecosystem. Fish waste is converted by bacteria into a food source (Nitrates) for the plants, which in turn filter the water and return it clean to the fish tank. With Aquaponics it is possible to grow ornamental fish, like Koi Carp, or edible fish like Trout or Perch.
With Aquaponics you can regularly enjoy freshly grown fish and vegetables, although you will need to consider placing your system in a greenhouse for year round produce. It is possible to grow practically anything with an Aquaponics system including strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, melons, cucumbers, basil, mint and even papaya!
If you could sum up Aquaponics up in 2 words, these would be balance and symbiosis. The partnership between the fish, bacteria and worms is the symbiosis, but the system needs balance, so you must use the right amount of fish for the size of tank you buy (see our complete Aquaponic systems for the correct amount of fish per unit type).
You also need balance in relation to the filtration (grow beds) you’re using, and you need the right amount of plants to deal with the Nitrate the fish produce. Finding the the right balance of pH to please the fish, the bacteria and the plants is another part of the puzzle. It’s a classic compromise and requires a fair bit of patience in the early stages. It will take some time to cycle a tank and temperature will also influence this.
Is Aquaponics for me? Well, If you are keen on the fish rearing aspect with veg as a beneficial side line, then no doubt it is. Likewise if you are a veg grower who wants to enjoy increased yields in smaller spaces with less watering and weeding, then Aquaponics is definitely for you. If you are concerned about food chains, food packing & transportation methods, or simply want to have a closer relationship with what you eat, then welcome to the world of Aquaponics!