Aquaponics is the latest way to grow vegetables within one eco-system.
Aquaponics is a combination of Aquaculture and Hydroponics, without the use of chemicals.
Aquaculture is the rearing of aquatic animals or the cultivation of aquatic plants for food.
Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without using soil.
This means that fish and plants are grown in an integrated system, creating a symbiotic relationship between the two. A symbiotic relationship means that the fish and plants rely on each other to sustain life and grow.
An Aquaponic system uses the water from the fish tank to circulate through a grow bed where the plants are grown. Nitrifying bacteria convert fish waste into plant nutrients. The plants use these nutrients as their main nutrient supply.
The fish also benefit from this process, as the water is filtered by the plants, giving the fish clean water.
Organic vegetables can be grown efficiently in the nutrient rich water. Fish, yabbies, mussels and more can be grown in a closed system, providing a constant and renewable food source.
Aquaponics uses no chemicals and will provide fresh fish, herbs and vegetables.
Nearly every plant and herb grown in soil, including fruit trees have been successfully grown in aquaponic systems from everyday herbs and to cactus and aloe vera, citrus trees, passion fruit and even mushrooms.
Pond plants and edible water plants can also be grown in your pond, however these suck up nutrients from the water.
Silver perch, jade perch, barrumundi and trout are the most common edible fish chosen for Australian aquaponics systems. Gold fish and koi are popular ornamental fish and prawns are a great addition.
You need to consider your climate when choosing fish and keep a low stock until your system has properly cycled and built up enough beneficial bacteria.
Feed the fish aquaculture pellets or worms or black soldier fly larvae, duck weed and algae.
As featured in Rural Life magazine