Bitten by the aquaponic bug

I have been fascinated about aquaponics since I picked up a book “Aquaponic Gardening” by Sylvia Bernstein a couple of years ago. Since then I really wanted to build an experimental aquaponic system at home, but never gotten around to do it. Now that my other farming projects are progressing slower than expected, I’m moving ahead with building an aquaponic system to experiment with.

If you are not familiar with aquaponics, here is a brief introduction. Aquaponics is a method of growing fish and plants together in a mutually supporting environment. In an aquaponic system, plants grow in soilless grow beds filled with gravel or other similar medium. Water from fish tank, which contains ammonia and other solid waste produced by the fish, is circulated through the grow beds on a regular interval. Bacteria and earth worms (or red worms) that live in the grow beds convert ammonia and fish waste into nutrients needed for plants. Water gets filtered as it flows through the grow beds and clean water is returned to the fish tank. In short, fish provides nutrients for plants to grow and in return grow beds provide cleaned water for fish. If you are familiar with hydroponics, aquaponics can be considered as organic hydroponics where external supply of chemical nutrients in hydroponics is replaced by organic nutrients converted from fish waste.

There is plenty of information available online on home based aquaponic systems, especially from US and Australia, but not many are adapted for availability of materials in India (or Kochi, to be precise). I plan to stick to proven models established in these regions, but with adjustments for material availability and weather.

Over the next few posts we will discuss about the key components in an aquaponic system and build a home based aquaponic system together. Hopefully I’ll make it all the way through. Well, I hope you are still with me!  🙂

Following is how I am thinking of breaking up the components, may be each as a separate post…

  • Fish tank
  • Grow beds (container)
  • Supporting structure
  • Grow medium
  • Water pump
  • Plumbing
  • Fish
  • Plants
  • Bio-filter
  • Red worms / Earthworms
  • Water cycling
  • Water testing
  • …and whatever else come on our way 🙂

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