Aquaponics is a combination of Hydroponics – growing vegetables in water, and Aquaculture – fish farming. It might seem strange to bring 2 different types of farming together but aquaponics get the best of both worlds.
One of the most important aspects of fish farming is taking care of the water that the fish live in. The fish produce waste which must be removed from the tank so that they can remain healthy. Fortunately, fish waste makes an ideal plant food.
In a backyard aquaponics setup the waste water from the fish tanks in pumped into growbeds. These are containers for the plants which allow the roots to reach the nutrient rich water and thrive.
After some natural microbes have done their job of breaking down the fish waste the plants remove the nutrients from the water and the cleaned water can than then be pumped back into the fish tank.
Cycling water like this means that very little is wasted and aquaponics systems require only 10% of the water used in normal old fashioned farming. The only water loss is due to some evaporation.
Since the only inputs to the system are fish food, a little water and sunlight you can easily create an entirely organic backyard aquaponics farm.
You don’t need to have acres of space for an aquaponics system, you can put fish tanks at ground level and then put growbeds on top.
The entire garden could be contained within a greenhouse allowing you to extend your growing season so that you can harvest fresh food all year round.
Backyard aquaponics tends to grow vegetables to maturity faster than conventional gardening with the added bonus of producing a crop of edible fish as well.
It’s an ideal system for growing leafy salads and tomatoes, strawberries and even flowers can be grown.