Simple DIY Aquaponic System For The Home
Aquaponics is the art of growing plants in a system where fish and plants co-exist.
Mother nature has been doing this for as long as plants and fish have existed, humans
have been doing this since the beginning of farming and cultivation, but only recently
has it been brought back into the light with hydroponics. Gaining in popularity, this
technique has been proven to have many benefits for crops while being very eco-friendly.
So why should you add aquaponics to your hydroponic garden? Fish and plants have been working
together for a very long time, their practically soul mates. Bacteria from plants breaks down
the fish waste and feed, then converts it into plant food and nutrient. Organic matter contained
in fish feces and feed are also used for the conversion of fish generated ammonia to nitrate.
The plants consuming the dissolved waste nutrients filter the water for the fish. While
dedicated bio-filters and settlers can be added as precautionary measures, this system is
very self correcting, taking away the need for chemical usage such as fertilizers. Even PH levels are adjusted correctly assuming the fish tank and hydroponic setup is contaminant free.
Quick overview of the benefits
-No nutrients required
-PH balance is adjusted correctly on its own
-water is filtered on its own and recycled
-no chemical usage such as fertilizers and pesticides
-fish can be harvested as a second food source
-crops have a higher turn-around and higher yield
What you will need
This technique isn't just for large commercial agriculture companies, setups small enough to add in
your kitchen as a centerpiece or on a teachers desk for educational use can be easily created. With
all the benefits already known, why not add it in to any size of a hydroponic setup. If you already have
a hydroponic setup, all you will need to do is add in an aquarium/tank with the proper fish and you have a fully functional aquaponic system
Items required for indoor aquaponics
- Hydroponic system including plant bed, medium and tubes connecting to tank
- Grow light depending on where your hydroponic system is setup
- Aquarium or fish tank
- Water pump
- Power source for pump and grow light
Step 1 - Fill the black bottom tank to the water mark with clean uncontaminated water.
Step 2 - Find the small transparent tube and connect it to the water pump.
Step 3 - Connect the water pump to the transparent fish tank.
Step 4 - Place the buoy through the transparent tank into the black bottom tank.
Step 5 - Place the transparent tank on the black bottom tank then attach the pumps power
box onto the bottom tanks notch.
Step 6 - Attach the isolation plug to the solid tube at the top of the fish tank then fill
the tank with water up to the isolation plug.
Step 7 - Stack the top plant tray in alignment with the mountain tube.
Step 8 - Install the clear syphon tube into the flow adjustment switch.
step 9 - Add in your ceramisite until it fills the tray about an inch thick.
Step 10 - Add in your fish and plants!
What fish should you use?
Deciding on what type of fish you should use entirely depends on your setup. Large scale
with the purpose of farming and sustainability should have larger fish to produce more
waste and to carry the benefit of being able to harvest the fish for food. Small scale,
like the setup we just built will require smaller fish. Small also gives you the option
of choosing fish based on your perception of attractiveness. Decorative fish that can be
used in small setups like this are guppies, fancy goldfish, angelfish and swordfish. Some
people have taken is as far as creating environments for turtles, crayfish and even shrimp.
What plants should you use?
Most plants will thrive in an aquaponic environment, especially those commonly used for
agricultural purposes. Large scale operations will grow all kinds of vegetables such as
lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, spinach or anything grown on a farm. But since this setup is
small and more so decorative, smaller vegetable and herb plants can be used such as basil,
mint, watercress, chives, parsley, lemon grass, oregano, thyme, succulents and many more.
Although the idea of aquaponics can be daunting and seem complicated, it's not as big
of a task as it seems. Whether it's for a green solution to growing crops naturally or
a hobby that can double as decoration, everyone can find a reason to jump on the wagon.
As you have read above, with minimal equipment and time, you can create your own little
Eco-system that provides you with food, education and a wonderful conversation starter.
AUTHOR: Luis Rivera has 20+ years of experience in global market expansion, business development, mergers and acquisitions, business re-engineering, finance and investor relations of software companies. He is passionate about technology, spectral science, indoor farming, food production, automation, and more.
Since 2015 he is the president of Advanced LED Lights, a leading LED grow lights manufacturer based in Hiwasse, Arkansas. When not at work, Luis enjoys swimming, yoga, as well as growing grapes and flowers in Sonoma, California.