Aquaponic systems involve the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics for gardening while eliminating the need for soil as a growth medium. The two exist in a symbiotic relationship with each other whereby the plants utilize the excretion by the fish as nutrients and purify the water for the fish. Indoor Aquaponic systems have now become very common and involve the growing of both fish and plants indoors.
Indoor Aquaponics have an advantage over outdoor Aquaponics as one is in control of the climate to meet the system’s needs. Managing factors such as temperature and pest control are made easier.
It is an ideal system for those that do not have enough land or the environment for farming.
Have the place where you will set up your indoor aquaponic system.
The Fish Tank
The fish tank is where all the fish within your system will reside. Use a fish tank made from non-toxic materials and one that is big enough for the requirements of the fish.
The Grow Bed
This is where the plants will grow. The grow bed should be strong enough, made from non-toxic materials, and must be able to hold water adequately. It must be deep enough to sustain and enable proper growth of the plant roots. Choose the grow bed size according to the number of plants you will grow.
Suggested article: Aquaponic Grow Beds – Everything You Need To Know
The Grow medium
It will supply oxygen, water, and nutrients to the plants and offer plant support. It is usually filled into the grow bed, holds the plants, and enables the roots to grow. The grow Medium should be porous for aeration and moisture retention. The growing medium can be;
- Clay hydroton pebbles
- Lava rock
- Pea gravel
- Expanded shale
Choosing the grow medium
When choosing the media, consider the following factors;
- The cost– The prices of grow media vary. Choose accordingly, depending on your budget. Clay hydrotons are pretty expensive as compared to the other media.
- Size– If it’s too small, it may clog the system, and if it’s too large, it can create gaps that will affect the growth of the plants.
- The weight– for a small setup, the medium should not be too heavy to avoid collapsing. Choose a light to medium-heavy. A very light medium may clog the system.
- pH requirements– A pH-neutral medium is recommended as the levels are manageable.
- An easy on the hands medium– You will primarily handle the medium with your hands. Choose a medium that is safe and easy to handle.
The Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)
The flood and drain regulate water flow. Have a system that will be used to flood the grow bed and drain the same for the provision of root oxygen and water rich in nutrients.
Plants will generally grow properly with proper lighting. Grow lights are very effective and are available in the markets.
Use plants that have developed a small root system. Transplant them into the growing medium. They will adequately establish themselves within a few weeks. Plants that can be grown include leafy vegetables such as lettuce, herbs such as basil, chives, mint, and vegetables such as cucumber, tomatoes, and potatoes. Beans and peas can also be grown.
Suggested article: 11 Best Plants For Aquaponics: Best Options & Less Common Plants
The Fish types
Fish will be the primary source of nutrients for the plants. They must remain healthy. Consider the fish’s size, pH tolerance, dietary needs, and oxygen needs (you will need to oxygenate the water). Ensure that the type of fish chosen will thrive excellently with the plants (if they can tolerate almost if not the same environment). Some common fish types used include tilapia, salmon, catfish, goldfish, bass, and many more.
Mainly, Aquaponics will use fish. However, you are not limited to fish only and can use other creatures such as worms, turtles, snails, or freshwater shrimp.
Suggested article: Best Fish for Aquaponics & a Few Great Alternatives to Try
Aquaponics has become quite common among people today. Different people have chosen the method of gardening for the benefits. The good thing with this type of farming is that it eliminates the need for soil and fertilizers as it is a natural system. Indoor Aquaponics has proven to be very useful. They will entirely function like outdoor Aquaponics but have their advantages. Like any Aquaponic system, they will need consideration of the named factors and caution for them to succeed.
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