Thanks for tuning in and Welcome to the Blog about my DIY Indoor Aquaponics project. The Plan is to grow Vegetables , Herbs and Fruits at home in a sustainable way. I am really frustrated with buying food with a high carbonfootprint due to transport and all the plastic packaging that comes with it not to mention all the unknowns in terms of pesticides and other chemicals that are added to keep it fresh. Especially during winter months.
Also I just REALLY like to see things grow! And I like Aquariums! And this is all in one 🙂
My Goal in writing this Blog is to share my journey through building this system at home but also later on the growing of food for the table in this ecosystem and hopefully inspire some people to get into this through my passion of this adventure into Aquaponics.
Quick Introduction to Aquaponics
For those who dont know about this fairly ancient but somewhat neglected technology I try to give a basic introduction from what I have learnt about it.
Hydroponics have to understood first. It means growing plants without soil using just water (with added nutrients). Media like expanded clay peddles or rocks can be added to the Water to give plants a better grip and increase surface area for bacteria and oxygenation but its not needed. The Roots are completely exposed to highly oxygenated water and take up nutrients a lot more efficiently that way. There is many different types of Hydroponics Systems, see the link here for an overview.
In a nutshell Aquaponics is basically taking any hydroponic system but changing the nutrient delivery by using fishwaste as the source for nutrients for the plants instead of adding liquid or powder fertilizer.
Fishfood -> Fishwaste -> Bacteria convert it to Nutrients (Nitrates etc) -> Plants take up those Nutrients -> Clean water goes back to the Fish -> Constant loop of water flow repeats this process
This diagram is from Google and explains this visually
In a traditional Hydroponic system you would add liquid or powder fertilizer to feed your plants. An Aquaponics system is a closed loop, an ecosystem if you will. The fish eat food that is added to the Tank, they release waste which gets broken down by the bacteria in the water into nutrient that can be used by plants. In turn the Plants clean the water for the fish by removing the nutrients. Isnt that just insanely logical, simple and just so fascinating? Its strange to me that this hasnt been used more for commercial food production but a lot is happening on that front in the last few years and it is great to see as the carbonfootprint is way lower compared to agricultural and water usage is 90% less! I wont go into more detail on this but do a Google there is plenty of info out there.
So here some Pro’s and Con’s of small scale Indoor Aquaponics vs Outdoor gardening or buying from the shop
- Zero pesticides needed as there is no soil and its indoors.
- If using organic fish food the whole system is pure organic!
- No waste from packaging and transport etc
- Plants grow up to 4 times faster in hydroponics/aquaponics
- Harvest and Grow all year around
- Grow exotic plants that wouldnt be able to take the local climate (very important for us!)
- Can be done literally anywhere, cellars, abandoned warehouses etc (if using artificial lighting etc)
- Setup Cost (Can be next to nothing but also very high depending on many factors, depends on scale of artificial light type and amount)
- Electricity Running Costs for artificial lighting
- Fruiting plants need to be pollinated manually as no bees around indoors
Of course Aquaponics is not limited to Indoors. Many people in fact most people use Aquaponics out in the garden or in greenhouses for very easily increasing the scale and without the need for artificial lighting but its very dependent on the Climate.
Also for bigger indoors or outdoors systems larger edible fish like Tilapia can be used that can then be bred and also harvested for food which adds a whole other dimension to the potential of the Aquaponic system.
So its clear to see that this is a fantastic way to grow your own food but also in a bigger scale for commercial enterprises. Its also a neat way to justify getting another fish aquarium which is always great 🙂
In the next few Posts I will go through the building process of my own designed and built system and I hope it will show just how “easy” and cool and beautiful it is to grow healthy food at home even without a Garden while seeing Fish and Shrimp grow and breed. I am so hyped about this and I really hope this will inspire a few other to get into this hobby/lifestyle.