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Getting Started With Aquaponics

A n aquaponics system is a great way to create a renewable and sustainable healthy organic food source. Besides growing your own food can be a FUN and REWARDING experience! Getting started with aquaponics is SIMPLE if you learn and follow a few basic steps. Countless people worldwide have successfully created their very own aquaponics system and flourished at it so why not you? Aquaponics is not only popular but a sound choice for the environment and your diet as well. In addition to growing healthy fruits, vegetables and herbs you can also raise protein rich fish at the same time. Getting started with aquaponics is often considered difficult or expensive but that is simply NOT the case! Most people think that leafy green vegetables are the only plants that can be grown in an aquaponics system. There are many types of plants that you can grow however most agree that leafy vegetables are best suited for aquaponics because they have better growth rates in most cases. It is important to take your climate and location into consideration before you decide which plants to grow.

Below is a great introduction to getting started with aquaponics.

The first step when getting started with aquaponics is to decide how many people you plan to feed. It is fine to start smaller than this with an initial system and scale things up as your needs change or larger if you plan to sell or donate a portion of your food. There is obviously a difference between a smaller backyard system and a larger commercial system so figuring this out up front will help you plan for the future and save you both time and money. The second step is choosing the right location for your system. Many people consider this a daunting task but in reality it is very SIMPLE if you understand what your system needs to function properly. Obviously plants need sunlight or artificial sunlight in order to grow so your location MUST have access to the sun if you choose to locate your system outdoors or near an adequate power source with proper ventilation for grow lights if located indoors.

Your climate will determine the types of plants and fish that you will be able to use in your system. If you live in a colder climate then consideration should be given for the winter months when temperatures plummet…
 The best location should have plenty of sunlight and an adequate climate for raising plants. If you live in a more temperate climate you should consider locating your system in an enclosure or indoors for best results. This is essential if you would like to grow plants year round to protect against extreme temperature fluctuations. The easiest way to achieve this is to construct a simple greenhouse or similar enclosure to provide protection from extreme temperatures.  Though it may sound like a lot of space is necessary to create enough room to contain your system that suits your needs this is simply not the case. You can create just about any style of system including one whereby the plants float atop the fish tank saving you additional space if you are limited in that regard. Another space saving alternative design is known as vertical aquaponics which is commonly used for strawberry towers.

Your aquaponics system primarily relies on 3 things that determine whether your plants will survive, thrive or die. These include water pH, Ammonia, Nitrates and Nitrite levels. It is important to recall that an aquaponics system is a closed system in which the water, fish and plants rely on one another. If the system is broken in ANY way your fish and plants will NOT thrive and your success with aquaponics will suffer…

Decide on how you would like to set up your system. If you do not feel comfortable doing this on your own consider trying a DIY Step-by-Step Guide for additional ideas and information.  Most aquaponics growers realize they are innovators and offer assistance to those who would like to learn how to get started with aquaponics.

Planning your system properly to insure that it will produce the desired results within the allowed space is a critical step before you decide on other factors. Keep it simple and use a piece of graph paper or regular paper and draw your system design to scale.  Once this step has been completed you can decide what types of fish and plants can be grown, grow bed media, etc.

Once you have properly planned, designed and created your system all that remains is simple routine maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Make sure you allow your system to cycle for at least 72 hours before introducing your fish to prevent stress and to allow the water pH to settle. Monitoring and adjusting the water pH during this time can be the difference between a healthy fish tank and one with dead fish and poor water conditions. Inspect for leaks and to make sure the system is flowing correctly. Checking the pH and nitrogen levels daily is recommended to insure that your fish and plants are in balance with one another.

 Feeding the fish is probably the most important part not to forget but also important is to feed them as much as they can eat…
The more the fish eat the faster and larger they will grow so it is important they have a more than adequate food supply.

Aquaponics is an easy process after the initial set up because there is so little maintenance required compared with conventional soil based farming. Getting started with aquaponics will require a smal initial investment but growing your own endless supply of fresh healthy organic nutrient and protein rich food can easily pay for itself in the short term. The best part of getting started with aquaponics is that you can often learn all about the process for free before you decide to take the plunge!

Getting started with aquaponics is a SIMPLE way to create your very own near endless supply of nutrient rich organic food without using costly fertilizers, chemicals or nutrient rich soil in a fraction of the time and space compared with ordinary gardening and offers a greater return on your time and investment.  If you haven’t yet started I INVITE you to TRY aquaponics you won’t regret it!

As always if you need some HELP or have questions please contact us…