Backyard Aquaponics: How to Start Your Own System

Written by James Puno

January 15, 2020

Aquaponics is a chemical-free, two-way system that allows you to farm plants while raising fish at the same time. Instead of relying on chemicals to feed your plants, you use ammonia from aquatic creatures as the nutrients. In return, your plants keep your fish by consuming the nitrite converted by the bacteria in your filtration system.

Backyard aquaponics is a fast-growing practice nowadays by many gardeners all around the world. If you’re planning on starting your own, then we can show you the basics. Here’s how you can do the best backyard aquaponics system.

Setup

You can either purchase or build the grow bed for your aquaponics. The size will depend on your preference. Make sure that it’s not too big or too small for your plants. Install it somewhere near your fish tank to make it easier for you to pump water. For starters, you can set it up on top of your tank so that the water will run back to the tank.

  • Drill a hole on the bottom of the grow bed. Install an outlet on the hole which will direct the water back to the tank. Place a pipe with your preferred height on the hole and lock it. Use a sealant to plug the hole against leak. The pipe will be used as a overflow drain. Cover the hole with a screen so that the growing medium won’t go down the hole.
  • Fill the grow bed with your preferred growing medium.

Filter Box

Bacteria are stored on your filter box. Divide your filter box into several chambers to screen the water properly. Aside from filtering the water, more chambers also means better breaking down of ammonia into nitrates. The water will pass through the filter box which will be converted by the bacteria into nitrite. Use sponge matting, filter brush, and filter media to encourage the breaking of ammonia. In addition, this also helps in the aeration process.

Water Pump

Use a reliable water pump that you can turn on for a long period of time. Always remember that you need to turn your pump for several minutes before shutting them off to avoid flooding. While some plants do well when flooded, others don’t actually thrive when their roots are soaked. Use a timer to keep track of your watering.

Principle

Your water pump will get water from the tank and transfer it to the filter box. The water will then pass through the filter chambers where the ammonia is converted into nitrite. Once the finished product passes through the grow bed, the roots will absorb the nitrite. Upon reaching the drain pipe, water will flow back to the fish tank. Then the process repeats and goes into a cycle.

Fish

Choose the ideal fish you may want to raise in your tank. Tilapia aquaponics is one of the most popular and commonly used by many growers. Your decision and execution are vital to the success of your system of aquaponics.

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