Aquaponics allows a gardener to raise fish for food. The fish produce the fertilizer which helps the vegetables that are in the aquaponic system grow. The vegetables in turn help to filter the water where the fish are raised.
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The plants in an aquaponic system are grown in the same way as hydroponics plants. They are placed in a grow medium on beds near the fish tanks. In these grow beds, the plant’s roots are immersed in the nutrient-rich water, supplied by the fish.
You can grow many types of seafood in an aquaponics system. However, certain varieties of fish are more popular than others. The fish most associated with aquaponic systems is tilapia. There are several types of tilapia that are available for aquaponic gardeners.
The tilapia generally requires 9 to 12 months to reach the right size for consumption. At that time, they would be around one pound each. One moderate sized aquaponic system can provide a gardener with dozens of fish to eat.
Other fish can be raised in an aquaponic system. However, they can be difficult to care for. Each type of fish requires different temperatures and nutrients in order to thrive in an aquaponic environment. Generally, tilapia is used by most beginners because they are the easiest to care for. However, you can raise catfish, silver perch and Murray cod.
Vegetables and Fruit
Generally, you can grow most vegetables and fruit in an aquaponic system. Most plants that do well in a hydroponics system can do well in aquaponics. The plants that appear to do the best are green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage and herbs.
Aquaponics can also be used to raise tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe and most flowers. Aquaponic systems are a great way to grow roses. You can also use the aquaponic system to grow root vegetables such as onions, radishes, beets and carrots.
Tubers such as potatoes and sweet potatoes thrive in aquaponic systems. Melons, squash and pumpkins can be grown in this system but may require extra support for the fruit or vegetable when they reach harvesting size. Aquaponic systems are great for herb gardening. You can plant a variety of herbs, including basil, thyme and parsley.
Foods That Might Now Work
An aquaponic system has a pH of about 7.0. Because of this, plants that need a higher or lower pH, may not do as well as others. These plants include blueberries and flowers, like calendula and zinnia.
Indoor and Outdoor Systems
You can set up your aquaponic system indoors or outdoors. An outdoor system works best in temperate climates. You can use it during the local growing season and harvest the fish, along with your fruits and vegetables before the first frost.
An indoor aquaponics system can be placed in the home, a greenhouse or an enclosed gardening area. This system can be used year round as long as the correct water temperature can be maintained. The system can supply the home aquaponic gardening with fresh food throughout the year.