How You Can Grow 10 Times The Food In Half The Time -The Benefits of an Aquaponics System –
Benefits Of An Aquaponics SystemYou’ll be amazed with the – that come with DIY aquaponics systems. Aquaponics for the beginners, backyard or in home vertical aquaponics can be easily accomplished.
Why You Should Build A DIY Aquaponics System? Do you know that you can produce up to ten times more food with the aquaponics system compared to conventional gardening?
Conventional way of farming actually consumes no less than ten times more electricity and water when compared with aquaponics. Food produced in DIY aquaponics systems taste like food is really supposed to taste like.
One of the best locations to set up a DIY aquaponics system is in the cities where land is scarce and expensive to come by. With this approach, you can design the entire system to fit the free space you have and they can be really cheap to build too.
Many gardening enthusiasts invest in hydroponics only to be discouraged later by the cost of proprietary nutrient formula to be used. Aquaponics negate the need for special nutrient solutions, so the system can be run without high recurring costs. It provides high-quality protein and a variety of vegetables with minimal investment and running expenses. It is hard to believe, but an aquaponics system requires only 10% of the water required for growing the same amount of food by traditional soil-based gardening.
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Any home gardener can make and run an aquaponics system to increase his personal food production. It is as viable on small scale as it is for commercial food production. The recycling of water takes care of the twin issues of waste water disposal and sourcing of fresh water. The absence of soil reduces soil-borne diseases and pests such as nematode worms. Above all, it ensures healthy food free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
The simplest aquaponics system would be just growing a bunch of watercress on a piece of foam floating in your aquarium. But for generating any significant amount of food, you will need an arrangement on a much larger scale. It involves a few pipes and pumps and a lot of biochemical reactions.
In a functional model of aquaponics, the aquaculture section, and the hydroponics sections are interconnected through pipes. In the aquaculture section, the fish waste and the decaying food particles result in water with high concentration of ammonia and carbon dioxide. This water is pumped into the hydroponic section where the plants are growing in an inert media like gravel or clay pellets. However, the plants cannot use the nutrients directly unless they are broken down further by microbial action.
Most of the cleaning process is accomplished by a large variety of microbes colonizing the surface of this media. They break down solid waste and convert toxic substances into harmless byproducts before the clean water trickles back into the fish tank. The nitrifying bacteria such as Nitrosomonas convert the ammonia into nitrites. Another type of bacteria known as Nitrobacter then converts the nitrites into nitrates that can be utilized by the plants. This nitrogen cycle is at the heart of aquaponics.
Start Your Aquaponics System
Before you can have a full-fledged aquaponics system with a well-stocked fish tank, the setup needs to be primed with microbes that drive the nitration cycle. Without them, the waste products can accumulate to dangerous levels and can even kill the fish.
To cultivate the bacteria that handle ammonia, the same substance is first introduced into the system. You can choose any of the good ammonia sources, including household ammonia as long as it does not contain additives like scents and colors. Some of the commonly used ammonia starters are:
Urea fertilizer– It breaks down into ammonia, but use it sparingly to avoid overdose.
Urine – It is a good source, and comes free. It is better to store the urine for a few days before tipping it in. If the donor is taking antibiotics, it may destroy the bacterial colonies.
Fish food – When fish food is added to the aquaponics system, it slowly breaks down, releasing ammonia.
Rotting fish – The rotting process generates ammonia, and may even contribute some microbes to the system.
Inexpensive live fish – Introducing a few cheap fish commonly available in aquarium trade can do the trick, but you should avoid feeding too much food to the fish. If the water clouds over with algal bloom, feeding should be discontinued until it clears up.
Sustainable Humane Earth is a non-profit platform using applied Permaculture Principals to design for people, place, culture and all surrounding beings. This video shows some of the good and bad of Aquaponics, quite the reality check. SHE is featured partners with Austin Aquaponics and their Sustainability Efforts.
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