Aquaponics is a gardening method that leverages the symbiotic relationship between fish and plants. The two grow together with the plants naturally filtering water for the fish and the fish providing an organic food source for the plants. Learn more about this farming method that has made its way into home gardening.
What is Aquaponic Gardening?
Simply put, aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water). Aquaponics combines these practices into one system, creating a less wasteful setup for growing both fish and plants.
By adding a fish tank into your hydroponic growing system, you can stop using the fertilizers needed for hydroponics and you gain another edible crop—the fish! Both the plants and the fish benefit from this symbiotic relationship. In combining both hydroponic and aquaculture systems, aquaponics capitalizes on their benefits and eliminates the drawbacks of each.
Many different varieties of fish have been shown to grow well in aquaponic setups, including tilapia, bass, trout, perch, and horned pout/catfish. These fish do get fairly large, so you will need a significant amount of space to grow fish for consumption. If you can’t dedicate that much room but still want to try your hand at aquaponics, goldfish make for a great substitute, though they’ll be a pet rather than a food item!
No matter which fish you keep, there is a multitude of plants that can be grown in an aquaponic setup: tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, chard, basil, and even strawberries—giving you enough for a full salad, dessert included.
Of course, there are downsides to aquaponic gardening. As mentioned above, you need a lot of space to raise edible fish (containers are usually hundreds of gallons in size), as opposed to simple hydroponics, which can be done in a 10-gallon tub. Additionally, aquaponic systems cost more to set up and maintain, since you’ll need to buy fish and a constant supply of fish food. It can also be a lot trickier to make sure that the water’s pH and nutrient levels are kept within an acceptable range for both the fish and the plants.
Drawbacks aside, if you’ve had experience and success with a hydroponics setup, dive into something new and give aquaponics a try! Contact us or Visit us today for the supplies you’ll need for a successful aquaponic garden. We will listen and help you achieve your gardening goals!