Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (breeding & raising native fish) and hydroponics – the process of growing gardens using water instead of soil.
The advantages of aquaponics include:
- No need to change the water that the fish live in as it is cleaned by filtration through the stone medium bed that the garden is set into
- 90% less water usage as the only water lost is through evaporation and it just needs a few litres of topping up every few days
- Vigorous growth due to the ammonia that the fish produce creating a nitrogen cycle and creating an optimum growing condition for the plants
- No use of pesticides or nutrient supplements or compost or chemicals
Our home garden aquaponics is the first experiment. We are so happy with the result that this is going to be a priority on the farm as one of the ways to create organic vegetables and raise fish.
Here we have Silver Perch and Australian Bass. We are raising both kinds in our home system.
in 2 months this garden needs to be fully cultivated and re planted as it grows so fast, fresh and healthy.
Here is a simple aquaponics diagram. The main elements are: a large fish tank (1000 litres seems to be a good start); a grow bed, lined and full of stones or clay balls; a bell syphon (white thing in the middle of grow bed) to regulate the flow of water passing through the bed; a sump tank (below) where the water goes from the bed before being pumped back up into the fish tank; a pump that is regulated to turn on when the water level is high enough, drain and then turn off in a cycle; plumbing.
Getting the flow right is difficult and so is building a bell syphon. Once the tanking and flow and water condition is stabilised the first thing to do is to create a nitrogen cycle. This is done in various ways and we chose to use a little compost in the tank to run through the system and begin the process.
Fish are added as fingerlings and water temperature needs to be monitored as well as ammonia levels, Ph and nitrite and nitrate. Over a few weeks our system settled into a good balance and plants literally shot up as if they where super plants.
You can grow most plants in this system, not cacti, but almost any vegetable. The sump tank is also home to the yabbies who help to keep things clean.
Instal of our second bed: