The Basics of Aquaponics Tank and System
By definition, aquaponics is generally the combination of two popular ways of growing fish and plants: aquaculture and hydroponics. These two have been proven to work and produce substantially. But then again, they come with certain downsides. For instance, utilizing hydroponics means buying nutrients to feed the plants which can be very expensive investment wise. Also, the same system needs consistent flushing of the system, corresponding to waste disposal problems in the long run. Aquaculture on the other hand requires a lot of water removal and replacement during the re-circulating process which is practically done every day.
It is no secret that both systems are effective in terms of producing fish and vegetables. But opting for aquaponics will actually eliminate the downsides of both systems and instead turn them into advantages. So what is aquaponics really?
Building a system like it means deciding whether you’re going for either a simple aquaponics tank with a grow bed on top or opting for something more complex but also more productive. But the thing is every single type of aquaponics system certainly produces both fish and plants with utmost efficiency that you don’t have to spend so much on maintenance in the long run.
The system works this way: the plants on the grow bed extract nutrients and water for them to grow. At the same time, the water where the fish thrive is eventually cleaned by the plants while the nutrients that plants need come from fish waste. And with the presence of bacteria found on the surface of the grow bed, the ammonia waste coming from the fish is converted by the same bacteria into nitrates, which in turn is used by the plants as food. Hence, the fish in the aquaponics tank survive by supplying them with food, and that’s practically the only expense in the entire system.
But in order for the grow beds to become ideal for the plants or vegetables, they should be filled with media that include gravel or clay pebbles. However, a grow bed is only one of the many ways to grow plants in the system. There have been several innovations in recent years like those using floating foam rafts placed on top of the water. There are also many far more complex techniques in growing the plants.
And when it comes to fish species, there are also a lot of options for anyone planning to fill their aquaponics tank with abundant fish. The choice primarily depends on the regulations and permissions granted by the government of the local area where the system will be placed. Even though only little water is used, the re-circulating nature of the entire aquaponics system can still grow a lot of fish. As a matter of fact, an area with a size of 8 meters x 4 meters can produce about fifty kilograms of fish and a hundred kilograms of vegetables/plants in just six months of production. Now that’s really efficient and effective without the huge production cost.