Tropical Fish to grow plants – that’s Aquaponics
Aquaponics is the science of growing vegetable with the wastes from tropical fish providing most, if not all, of the nutrients they require. The concept is quite new, combining hydroponics with keeping edible fish. A closed system uses their wastes to provide the required nutrients for the plants. The plants also have an important job. They provide a natural filter for the water as it passes, removing nitrogenous wastes created in the fish tank and purifying the water as it drains through.
There are lots of ways to move the water from the tropical fish tank, the water can be constantly pumped through the system or it can be placed into a reservoir that slowly drips it through the area where the roots are situated.
Self proclaimed tinkerer and greenhouse keeper Hank Brinzer has developed a system in his semi-detached greenhouse to grow vegetables with the wastes of goldfish he keeps in tanks below the plants. This is a system that he designed and built that is mainly for the health and growth of the plants.
His 30-gallon fish tank is equipped with a pump on a timer. Every three to four hours, water is pumped up into trays filled with plants. The water slowly drains through an overflow back into the fish tank below. It’s a system in the hydroponic community called ebb and flow. The plants live off what the fish provide; no other nutrients are added.
Homebuilt Aquaponics system promotes plant growth
Aquaponics is an efficient way to combine the art of keeping tropical fish and using their wastes to grow edible plants. It is a way to get personally involved in providing organically raised food in a very confined space and benefiting from the results in a meaningful way at the dinner table.
Although Mr. Brinzer uses goldfish, there are a number of other species such as tropical fish like the assorted tilapia species, trout and many other edible freshwater fish could be used instead. That way, not only does the system produce fresh, totally organic vegetables, but fish protein as well.
More and more, our foods are becoming contaminated with pesticides and other additives that are not all that beneficial. The aquaponics set-up described above cost very little to install and create. Most of it was recycled materials, even the tropical fish tank was a gift. It really is not so expensive to begin to take some control of the vegetables you eat, even if you are not looking to consume the fish that provide the nutrients.