How to Get Started with an Aquaponics System
What does an aquaponics system actually entail? This system combines the best of traditional aquaculture and the best of hydroponics to give you the ultimate system to grow produce and fish. Aquaponics is simply the best of both methods with none of the disadvantages.
The system needs to be balanced any eco or bio system must be balanced for everything within it to thrive. A balanced system includes plants, fish and bacteria. Bacteria is typically thought of as bad but it is necessary to complete the system; if there is no bacteria, it will be about 10 times harder to sustain the system.
About the aquaponics system in one tank which is holding about 1,000 to 2,000 liters of water, you will have freshwater fish, like tilapia. When the fish are fed, the fish produce waste which creates ammonia. The unused feed will also become waste. In time, this water will become dirty due to the waste and ammonia.
Microbes being growing in the dirty water; this is when bacteria are beneficial. Bacteria can break down the ammonia and help to clean and filter the water. There are numerous good bacteria, and one good bacterium is called nitrobacteria.
The bacteria will work on decomposing the waste which is simply toxins in the water. The result of the bacteria’s job is that beneficial nitrates are created. Nitrates are good for the water, however too much can be bad. Nitrates encourage vegetable growth and too much nitrates will create unwanted vegetation in the tank.
An aquaponics system must be balanced so having the right amount of plants is essential; plants are the second part of your system. Plants will use the nitrates as food, a natural food. As the plants absorb the nitrates, the water is filtered and cleaned. This water will then drain into the fish tank so that the fish again have clean water. The fish are fed, the fish dirty the water, the dirty water goes back into the plant tank and the cycle continues.
Your aquaponics system has fish producing ammonia (nitrates) in one tank. Then you have plants which use the nitrates as food and other toxins in the water as food in another tank. The fish and feed dirty the water and the plants clean it. The water must circulate from the fish tank into the plant tank several times each day so that the cycle continues. This maintains a balanced system.
Probably the biggest benefit from using this type of system is that everything is organic and the filtration system is a simple but complex biological filter. This filter works naturally every second of every day. It is considered a closed system in which the fish always have everything they need and so do the plants. The dirty water is removed from the fish and the plants are given food. In time, this cycle will create a natural and balanced eco or biological system.
In a closed system, there is nothing for you to do other to ensure the water levels are maintained and that the fish are not overcrowded. An aquaponics system is easy to operate and the harvest is certainly worth your time and minimal efforts.