What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is a food production system which combines the aquaculture and hydroponics systems. It has now becoming an alternative in providing natural food.
Aquaponics is interesting since it allows you to raise aquatic animals (fish, prawns, crayfish, etc.) and plants at the same time. This is done by creating a symbiotic environment for both the fish and the plants. As you raise fish, these aquatic creatures will release wastes such as ammonia, mineral, nitrate, and algae.
This needs to be filtered in order to prevent your fish from getting intoxicated by these dangerous wastes. When you cultivate plants in the water, you will be able to use the wastes from the fish for feeding your plants. This way, you will raise healthy fish as well as fresh organic plants for better taste and health.
Backyard aquaponics is an extremely simple and interesting science. It combines green plants with fish in a closed system, where the byproducts of fish feed the plants. it is simply using Aquaponics for growing plants in your backyard.
Many people think that this is complex and hard to do, but it is in fact extremely simple. Let’s look at the possible ways to build this system, and how cheap can it really get.
Aquaponics has one really good quality – it is easily scalable and you can build it into any size you want. That means that you can build your whole backyard with aquaponics, or you can make a single fish tank sized one.
Backyard Aquaponics Production
The production of the aquaponics will depend on the surface area, but if you utilize the new improved strategy, you can easily produce 10-15 times more leaf/fruit mass in the same area. That’s because it is more efficient in delivering the nutrients required for the plants.
Aquaponics is an old science and goes back hundreds of years.
In fact – you can easily produce 10 times more leaf mass without any complex machinery. A good aquaponics system does not require much maintenance. If it does then it is not efficient as it should be an automatic closed system.
A good backyard aquaponics system is like an over-unity machine, and the only thing it requires is sunlight or electricity. Believe it or not, aquaponics systems can be built by anyone anywhere – indoors or in the backyard.
You do not have to have a special skill or anything like that. Commercial aquaponics are very expensive, and that’s why it is much better to build the system yourself. The only exception is if you are investing in it, and expect to break even in a couple of years.
Backyard Aquaponics isn’t a new concept. Though many people are not familiar with aquaponics, it has been in use for centuries.
The Aztecs are believed to have grown crops on elevated beds in shallow lakes. They would then dredge the surrounding canals and use the collected natural bio-waste to irrigate their crops.
South China and Thailand were also thought to have experimented with aquaponics by raising fish in their rice paddies hundreds of years ago.
Herein lies the secret of aquaponics, the natural creation of biological waste from fish and their environment being used to fertilize plants.
This method is 100% organic and contributes to healthier and more robust plants and creating harvests of ten times that of a normal soil garden.
Why Backyard Aquaponics Works.
By adapting the same principles used by the Aztecs so long ago to our own backyard gardens, we can share in the abundant 100% organic harvests produced by aquaponic gardens.
We do have to make some minor modifications to our normal soil backyard garden to implement aquaponics.
First we remove soil from the equation (and along with the soil, the many soil borne pests thus eliminating toxic pesticides).
Then we implement a simple hydroponic system whereby we create elevated beds or tables just like the Aztecs did, to contain our garden.
Now, by introducing fish to our setup we create a symbiotic relationship between the plants we grow and the fish we raise producing a nearly self sustaining environment.
Basically, what we do is this:
- Use a tank or small man-made pond to contain the fish.
- Use the water from the fish tank to irrigate the plant tables periodically.
- The plants filter out and use the nutrients in the water that are produced by the fish and their aquatic environment.
- The water that is cleansed of the bio-waste nutrients is returned to the fish tank.
Now this simple cyclical organic system is used to efficiently grow plants, fruits, and vegetables. The method producing 10x the normal soil garden harvest, in our very own backyard aquaponics garden.
For starting your own aquaponics system at home, you won’t need a lot of investment. You can make the system inside or outside your house. You won’t also need advanced aquaponics tools as it is possible to do the entire process manually.
There are a lot of instructions and guides about aquaponics you can find from many sources. However, if you still don’t have any clue where to begin, you can check out this page on Backyard Aquaponics.