Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that everyone can try. It can both serve as a hobby, and later on be a business that will surely generate money. Before dwelling on further details, what is really the definition of Aquaponics? Is it something that is too complex to learn by average person? The answer is definitely, YES.
It is defined as a system that combines aquaculture (refers to raising of aquatic animals, – fish, prawns, crayfish inside aquariums or tanks), and Hydroponics (pertains to cultivating plants in water). Overall, if you combine these 2 words, you get an idea of plants and aquatic animals living in a symbiotic relationship, or in a re-circulating system, the effluents of one area, will be beneficial for the other and vice versa.
So, how can you make your own Aquaponics System? One thing that you must understand here, is that most of its components are man-made. Therefore it greatly depends on the design, construction, and maintenance of people. First, let us go through the 3 main styles of Aquaponics System. Media filled beds aside from being the simplest ones, has the nature of using containers filled with expanded clay which tends to absorb water from the fish tanks. The second style, is NFT, or Nutrient Film Technique. In this setup, nutrient filled water is pumped in tubes going into plant gutters, which then flow to the plants themselves.
The main limitation of this style is that it is only intended for green and leafy vegetables and not for large plants having big and elongated roots. Lastly, we have DWC or Deep Water Culture. From the word itself, it involves growing plants above water, ensuring that their roots are hanging downside in the water itself. DWC is one of the most commonly used for commercial purposes because of its practicality and effectiveness. Upon looking into all of these types, which is the best Aquaponics System for beginners? For simplicity, media-filled beds are proven to work. They also require average to low maintenance, so no worries on your end. Slowly, as you gain years of experience, you can also try exploring the other styles, and later find out which one suits your interest, need, and capacity.
As for the components needed, you basically must have fish tanks, containers, or even aquarium, plant beds where you can place your chosen plants neatly, water system, solids tanks (where extra food, or extra wastes are being placed), and biofilter. Most of these items can be bought in the local hardware, and the other parts such as plant beds can actually be created by you! Yes- most of the practitioners in this field, just use scrap wood, or plastic, then they try to construct their own. In this way you can apply your creative juices to come up with your own stylish and useful aquaponics system. As you progress in this field, you will also learn how to choose the right fish and plants, and which combinations produce the most desirable effect. In the end it is all about hard work, patience and enthusiasm.