Aquaponic Tips

Practice fish keeping

  • Familiarize yourself with fish keeping practices. It will help you with skills such as testing water quality as well learning to recognize potential problems and how to correct them.
  • Don't buy feeder fish to start your system. The purpose of feeder fish is to feed other animals. They are usually kept in over crowded tanks and carry diseases such as ich as well as internal or external parasites.

Start small

  • It is a good idea to try a practice run before diving into to aquaponics. Try a few different crops at first. Then find your niche. Good plants to practice with are lettuce, spinach or other greens.

Buy quality fish and seed (or starts)

  • Know the source of you fish, fish food and plants. Only purchase healthy fish from a reputable business.
  • Aquaponic systems grow organic fish and vegetables. Only feed your fish the highest quality food available. Supplement their diet with live food whenever possible.
  • Buy quality seeds. Research your seed supplier and look into local seed varieties and local seed banks.

Take Notes

  • Observe your aquarium or aquaponics system. Check your water quality regularly you can purchase test strips at any aquarium store.
  • Observe your fish are they swimming happily or lethargic? Do they eat all their food quickly?  

Take a workshop 

  • Aquaponics workshops are available in many areas. See our workshop schedule for the classes we are currently offering.
  • For what’s new with aquaponics follow us on facebook.

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Sustainability

Aquaponics has many benefits including: reusable water, energy efficiency, local food production and educational opportunities.

Benefits:

Reusable Water:

Water is recirculated using a method involving biological filtration. Low water usage produces multiple benefits. For example, applications in areas where farming would normally not be possible. It reduces overall cost by increasing energy savings.

Local Food Production:

Family and commercial farms provide organic vegetables and fish daily, enhancing the local economy and promoting healthy eating.

Energy Efficiency:

Aquaponics can be run on little electricity or with an alternative energy sources such as  solar panels or bio-gas.

Education:

Aquaponics can be used as a hands-on model for the study of integrated bio-systems in high school and college biology classes. It also shares many practical applications at the elementary and junior high school levels, including math and science.

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How it Works

Aquaponics is the combination of growing plants and fish symbioticly in a recirculating system. Aquaponics is completely different than conventional fish farms. A major problem within conventional fish farming is the ease in which disease spread throughout the fish poulation and the use of antibiotics to control disease. The antibiotics and hormones used by many farms are passed on to people when they eat the fish.

In an aquaponic system fish grow quickly and stay healthy (as long as they are put in there that way). One of several factors that limit the spread fish disease are the high levels of dissolved oxygen present in aquaponic systems. Aquaponic water is always moving throughout the system making it difficult for pathogens take hold. An established aquaponics system contains a lot of beneficial bacteria. This also makes it hard for pathogens to establish they are simply out competed by the good guys!

Here are the basics:

Aquaponics is a symbiotic method of raising fish and vegetables. The fish waste provides food for the growing plants. The plants naturally filter waste in the water. The beneficial bacteria (also called microbes) play a critical role in the process. They exist on the moist surfaces of the aquaponics system. Their job is to convert the ammonia from the fish waste that would normally be toxic to the fish and convert it first into nitrites and then into nitrates. The nitrates are harmless to the fish and provide excellent food for the plants.

Types of Fish

Many types of fish have been used successfully in aquaponic systems. The most commonly used fish in The United States are Tilapia, Catfish, Perch, Trout, Sunfish, Goldfish and Koi. In Australia, Barramundi, Jade Perch, Silver Perch and Murrary Cod have all become successful species.

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Aquaponics in your Greenhouse, Home or Business

With todays aquaponics technology it is possible and beneficial to provide your household with sustainable food from both fish and plants.

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