Aquaponics

Aquaponics is based on productive systems as they are found in nature. It can be loosely described as the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. Aquaponics is a two-stage system, which is interlinked together to grow Organic fish and Vegetables as Nature intended. 

AQUACULTURE: 

Fish produced fish waste in the holding tanks, which pollutes the water and kills the fish if not kept clean. 

Aquaculture farms / Fresh Fish farms use filtration system to clean the water or they change the water out completely, this process is not environmental friendly due to the waste being dumped into the environment as well as large amount of water being wasted through the cleaning process. 

Hydroponicss & Traditional Farming.

When growing vegetables in Hydroponics & Traditional farming they use large amounts of chemicals, fertilizes to grow the vegetables as well as using large quantities of water to irrigate the crops. 

This is also not environmentally friendly to the environment that we live in as the chemicals and fertilizes end up in our waterways because of over spray with chemicals and fertilizes been washed into the waterways by heavy rain.

There is also another down side. The chemicals that they using are also getting into the vegetables we eat. 

Aquaponics And How It Works.

Aquaponics recirculates water from a fish tank through a vegetable grow bed. Nutrients from the fish waste feed the plants, and the plants filter the water to keep the fish healthy. The two main components of the system are the fish tank and the grow beds with a small pump moving water between the two. The water passes through the roots of the plants before draining back into the fish tank.
The plants extract the water and nutrients (fish waste) they need to grow, cleaning the water for the fish. There are a number of different styles of grow bed designs, the two most common being flood and drain and floating raft style. 

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Typical Aquaponics System

Type of Grow Bed mediums: 

Flood and Drain style uses Lightweight Expandable Clay beads or Gravels.

5mm diameter LECB or Gravel has been shown to be the optimal size for flood and drain systems. 

Fish waste water from the fish is pumped up to the grow beds which fill up with water to just below the top of the grow medium where the plants roots extract the water and nutrients from water and then this clean water is syphoned back into the fish tank. This cycle runs every 15 minutes or so. 

Flood and Drain 2 new Flood and Drain 3 new
aquaponic-setup growbedzones002

 Floating Raft system 

Aquaponic Rafts are generally made from construction grade polystyrene sheets. In large commercial Aquaponics raft systems, entire uncut
1.220 x 2.5 meter sheets are used and the aquaponic raft tanks may be 2.5 meter wide by 30 meter or more in length. 

In home aquaponic systems smaller raft tanks and smaller aquaponic raft boards are used. 2.2 x 1.4 meter which is a common size raft board as it is easy to handle. The actual size of your raft aquaponic boards will be determined by your actual aquaponic raft tank or DWC. 

Seedlings pots with seedlings are placed onto holes on raft boards to be grown out for harvesting it takes around four weeks to grow lettuce
from a seedling. 

It is a good idea to space your planting over a four-week period.

This can be archived by dividing your raft into quarters and plant out a quarter each week after the end of the fourth-week you could harvest the first quarter of lettuce and then replace the empty holes with new seedlings.

With a standard Ausvnco grow bed raft system this would equate to 15 organic grow lettuces a week. 

Fish wastewater from the fish is pumped through the grow beds that contain the floating rafts system. The plants roots extract nutrients from water and then this clean water is syphoned back into the fish tank. This is continues cycle. 

Whichever method you choose there are a few points that should be noted: 

  • It is recommend that the volume of water in your fishing tank should run through your flood and drain or floating raft system every hour as a minimum. 
  • It has been found that grow beds must be 300mm deep as grow beds less than 300mm deep do not support bacteria growth properly resulting in a lack of nutrient processing, poor plant growth and water returning to the fish tank unfiltered. 
commercial-aquaponics-04 Raft system 

 Why Aquaponics Is Good For You And The Environment.

  • The main benefit from a system like this is the ability to grow fish and plants for consumption in the one system.
  • Aquaponic systems use about 1/10th of the water used to grow plants in the ground.
  • Relatively low energy consumption.
  • Faster growth rates and yields.
  • Eliminates the need for weeding and tilling of soil.
  • No soil borne diseases.
  • Plants are naturally fertilized as the plants / vegetables are living off the fish waste.
  • No pesticides or chemicals, vegetables are growing in a chemical free environment.
  • The fish are living in clean water free of chemicals and heavy metals
  • The fish are a healthy source of protein.
  • Water is not been wasted on irrigation as the water is recirculating always through the system.
  • Good for the environment as nutrient rich water is not being dumped into our waterways.
  • Systems can be established locally minimizing “food miles”.

What Types Of Plants Can Be Grown In Aquaponics System?

Below is a list of some common varieties of plants that can be grown well in Aquaponics systems:

   Most varieties of lettuce                          Tomatoes                            Zucchini                                         Melons                              
   Most varieties of herbs     Cucumber Pepper                           Strawberries
   Watercress     Squash Broccoli                           Egglants

 recommended planrs

                                                                                                    

 

                                                                                                                                       

 Which Fish Can Be Grown In Aquaponics?

Aquaponics systems, depending upon size, can raise and harvest anywhere from one to potentially tens of thousands of pounds annually. Common fish species that can be grown include but are not limited to:

Perch                                  Talapia                                     Carp                                       Catfish                  
Barramundi                      Koi                         Fresh water Prawns                             Goldfish and various aquarium fish

fish-species-for-your-aquaponics-1

 

 

 

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