With farmers looking for more sustainable and eco-friendly ways of farming, aquaponics farming is gaining popularity. This style of farming is a perfect combination of hydroponics and aquaponics. The waste produced by the fishes in the aquaponics system is fed to the plants growing in the hydroponics system. As this is a closed-loop system, the purified water is sent back to the fish. For the system to work efficiently and grow healthy plants, the fishes need to be fed with the essential nutrients. While most farmers depend on expensive fish food, it would be great to use duckweed for aquaponics.
Duckweed is one of the best alternatives of commercial feed available in the market. It is because it is rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and lipids and meets the nutritional requirements of the fish. It is a free-floating small plant that grows very fast. Duckweed for aquaponics is best because it flourishes on the waste fishes leave behind, filtering the water so that it can once again be fit for the fish. It is the best feed for fishes like perch, tilapia, trout, and koi.
How to grow duckweed?
If you are planning to grow duckweed, make sure to use a separate tank. Here are the steps that youcan follow to grow duckweed for aquaponics.
- An empty tank connected to the system
- A container
Step 1. Place the container in the tank. Make sure that the tank does not have fish.
Step 2. Now, drill two holes on either side of the container. Drill one four inches from the top and the other two inches from the top. Both of them should be approx one and a half inches.
Step 3. Insert the pipe into the holes at both ends and use a silicone sealant to secure it. Leave it for 24-48 hours so that it is fixed perfectly.
Step 4. To ensure a smooth flow of water into the container to the tank, drop the pipe from the lower end in the tank long enough that it does not submerge. Connect a water pump to the other end. When the pump is turned on, the water in the tank flows into the container and as the container fills to the required level, the water flows in the tank from the other end.
Step 5. Now, add a small amount of (1 teaspoon) duckweed to the water in the container. To ensure healthy growth, maintain the required temperature and avoid sunlight.
Step 6. If the duckweed is overgrown, you can harvestit and freeze it. It can be fed to the fishes later. You can also use it to enrich the compost or use it as a fertilizer for the soil.
Duckweed is an organic feed for the fishes in the aquaponics system. The best thing is that it is easy to grow and is a healthy diet for the fish. As it saves money that farmers invest in buying commercial feed, it is now a more preferable choice.
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