Have you ever wondered about aquaponic gardening? If not, perhaps you should; it is fascinating. Explore the possibilities and learn more about aquaponics from our regular contributor, Megan Wild.
What Is Aquaponic Gardening
and How to Get Started
Living sustainably is a trend that has continued to gain popularity over time. Aquaponics is a method of gardening that combines fish farming and growing plants to create a system that is (hopefully) self-sustaining. Sounds pretty interesting, right? Check out the information below to learn more about this method and get started on your own aquaponic garden.
How Does It Work?
With an aquaponic system, waste from the fish become fertilizer for the plants, and the plants absorb it to keep the water clean and healthy for the fish. Fish waste creates ammonia and nitrate which can be harmful for the fish if it builds up. In an aquaponics system, however, the plants absorb the ammonia and nitrate and cycle the water to keep the fish safe. Once your system is established and self-sustaining, you’ll only need to add small amounts of water to replace what evaporates.
What Type of Fish Do I Need?
Tilapia is one of the most commonly used fish because they mature quickly, like warm water and do not require high levels of oxygen. In some places, however, tilapia is difficult to get or illegal to grow, so people will use catfish instead. If you don’t plan to eat the fish, goldfish can be another great option. Blue gill and koi have also successfully been used for aquaponics.
What Kind of Plants Can I Grow?
Aquaponic gardens can grow all kinds of things, but aquaponic systems function at a pH level that’s pretty neutral. Plants that require a very acidic pH won’t make it here, so if you had dreams of blueberries or azaleas, aquaponics isn’t for you. Here’s a partial list of some plants that will do well in your aquaponic garden:
- Swiss chard
Aquaponic systems are pretty customizable, but every system needs to have these components:
- A tank for fish. You can reuse containers you already have around the home, but always clean it thoroughly and don’t use anything that had harmful chemicals in it. You don’t want to put your fish or your food at risk.
- A grow bed. This is where all your plants will be. Your bed should contain a growing medium like lava rock, gravel or hydroton.
- Pumps and pipes. These will move water to and from your grow bed. Setting up the system for the pumps and pipes can be the trickiest part of creating your own aquaponics system.
- An aerator. Having an aerator helps to provide oxygen for your fish.
- Live red worms. Many people use live red worms in their growing medium. The worms help remove any solid fish waste, and worm castings are great for your plants. You can shine a flashlight on your worms to get them to dig themselves into your grow bed.
Once you have your supplies, you should establish your fish and your grow bed. The medium you choose will help clean the water even if there’s no plants in it.
There’s several reasons why more people are choosing to do less traditional forms of gardening, such as aquaponics. So, why should you start an aquaponic farm?
- Aquaponic systems use far less water than traditional gardens. The water you use gets cleansed and recycled by the plants so you only add a small amount of water over time to replace what evaporates.
- This method is perfect for people who have soil that isn’t good for growing. Rather than spending time and money trying to amend your soil, you can skip it altogether.
- Aquaponic systems are organic.
- Aquaponics reduce back strain from bending since most systems are built at waist level.
- Only a small amount of energy is required to run the pump and aeration for the fish. This means you could potentially supply this through a sustainable source, such as solar panels, which would reduce your overall energy bill.
Building an aquaponic system is a giant step toward living more sustainably. You get the satisfaction of fresh vegetables and fresh fish that come from your own home — what could be better than that?
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22 thoughts on “Aquaponic Gardening – Create A Self-Sustaining Garden”
Great info!! We had a pond in our yard for a long time. Got tired of cleaning it out so often, so we just replaced it with a fountain. I always love that water sound! 🙂 #HomeMattersParty
Very interesting, I’ve never looked into Aquaponics….thank you for sharing! #HomemmattersParty
This is an awesome idea! I have a spot that I’ve been wanting to turn into a pond. I never thought of using it for sustainable gardening, too!
I have seen some really fantastic and complicated aquaponic systems which were to die for. I admire that form of gardening and agree that it’s for serious gardeners. Anytime we visit Disney World, I always enjoy that part of our tour. Theirs is amazing!
I have not seen the gardens at Disney World, but I can imagine they are pretty fantastic. Aquaponics really is a very cool way of gardening.
Interesting! Have never heard about Aquaponics ! #HomeMattersParty
What a great sustainable living project. Fish waste makes an amazing natural fertilizer! I have not done this type of gardening- but I have used the water from cleaning my fish tank on my roses and they love it.
I’ve been interested in aquaponics for a while. I’m just afraid our small white dog would undo everything I put together – she loves water LOL
This is so beautiful! I can imagine it is very relaxing to sit outside by the pond & relax! #HomeMattersParty
What an interesting concept. I never heard of this before. Another reason I can’t wait to purchase a home. My container garden is failing this summer 🙁 This would be a great idea to try!
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this. Also, thank you for having me as a co-host of the Home Matters Party this past year. I enjoyed it and look forward to following your blog just for fun !
This is so pretty. It looks absolutely relaxing too. I would love to have one of these in my own yard.
The way you explained each point with necessary details and maintained a good balance between theory and images is really commendable. keep up the great work mate.
This is a great guide for someone like me trying to get sense of all the platforms out there.
I have started my first aquaponics with Back to Roots mini Aquapponic Fish Tank. It is really beautiful. But i want to give the important advice for beginners – you should set up aquaponics tank and let it run for at least !!!ten days!!! before adding a fish. The materials don’t make that clear, but it will give your fish the best chance of success. Seriously, don’t add your fish the first day. It was super tempting to do that, but I resisted. You can too!