Introduction to DIY Backyard Aquaponics

Are you wondering how you can create your own DIY backyard aquaponics setup? Are you interested in growing your own organic fruit and vegetables – but growing ten times the plants in half amount the time it would normally take? All this in a “garden” that never needs weeding has no soil pests and needs no fertilizer or compost!

What do you need to set up an aquaponics system?

The basic items that you require to set up an aquaponics system are:

  • A fish tank – perhaps not in the traditional sense of the word
  • Fish – tilapia and perch are the fish traditionally used in aquaponics
  • Piping to allow the water to move through the Aquaponics system
  • Growth medium to “plant” your fruit and vegetables
  • A pump (optional) to pump the water through the Aquaponics system

Although it is possible to purchase an Aquaponics system kit, you may have most of the components required lying around at home, after all if you want to save money by growing your own fruits and vegetables you do not want to outlay a fortune on creating the system to grow them in!

Which fruits and vegetables can you grow using Aquaponics?

You can literally grow any fruit, vegetable or herb in your aquaponic system. Leafy green vegetables in particular grow well in the hydroponic subsystem. But you can also raise chinese cabbage, lettuce, spinach, basil, tomatoes, okra, beans, peas, capsicum, kohlrabi, watercress, radishes, strawberries, melons, onions, turnips, parsnips, sweet potato and herbs such as mint, basil, parsley and cilantro. Some people have even been able to grow large fruit trees – but this requires a deeper amount of growing medium than other produce.

Which fish should you use for your Aquaponics?

You can use fish, crayfish or prawns in your aquaponic system. These can be used solely to provide nutrients for the vegetables and /or to eat. The fish for Aquaponics that are mostly used are Silver Perch, Goldfish, Koi, Barramundi, Jade or Tilapia.

An Aquaponics system consists of a tank, bath or other container which is where the fish live and another container in which the plants grow. Water from the fish tank is pumped through the plants feeding and hydrating them and then returns to the fish tank. The fish feed the plants and the plants clean the water creating a totally symbiotic relationship that requires little maintenance, little space and compared to “normal” gardening very little water.

The “growing medium” for the plants varies depending on which aquaponic system you choose to use:

  • Deep-water raft aquaponics: uses styrofoam rafts which float in deep tanks
  • Recirculating or closed loop aquaponics: uses gravel or clay beads which sit in a container and is flooded with water from the fish tank
  • Reciprocating, flood and drain or ebb and flow aquaponics: the plants are grown in soil in pots that are flooded then drained

Now you have found out what Aquaponics is you may be inspired to find out more! Look up Aquaponic forums or Aquaponic videos on Youtube – there are plenty to watch – this could be a great way to change your life – grow your own fresh, organic vegetables – improve your diet, lose some weight and get healthy!

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