Getting started with an aquaponics system can cost anywhere from $800 to $6000, but the benefits seem to far outweigh the initial start-up capital. Systems can be started for small individual home use, or larger commercial ones are available as well. With one gallon of water in your fish tank, you can have a grow bed that is ½ to 1 sq feet of grow space, and one lb of fish requires roughly 10 gallons of water.The most popular fish that people decide to use for their aquaponics system is Tilapia, while some other individuals have opted to go with catfish, trout, or some other variety. The system can be setup indoors or outside, and food can be grown all year.
To get started, the system does require reliable access to electricity and water, and will continuously require careful water quality monitoring. Aquaponics is showing to be the best of both hydroponics and aquaculture, it is increasingly described as being more efficient than traditional soil based farming and gardening. Although urban homesteading can sometimes make more economic and ecological sense . With the growing trend of conscious consumers, it isn’t surprising that more individuals are opting for a convenient, and sustainable, solutions which gives them direct control over what goes into the food that their families are eating.
How Does It Work?
The fish are fed, and then produce Ammonia rich waste. The bacteria [which is cultured in the grow beds and fish tank] breaks down the ammonia into nutrients: nitrites and then nitrates. Plants then take in the converted nitrates as macronutrients (acting like a fertilizer). Essentially, the plants take up the fish waste. Plant roots help to filter the water, and the recycled water then gets put back into the fish tank and used all over again. Environmental concerns have a growing impact on the economy, and consumers are increasingly looking for sustainable and efficient options. It’s no wonder the popularity of aquaponics is growing, seeing as it allows individuals to grow more organic food items using less space, and involves overall less water consumption.
Recently, a ground-breaking aquaponics initiative sponsored by Topeka-based Trash Mountain Project was put into motion, and will involve establishing aquaponic systems in the Dominican Republic, and then in many other impoverished nations around the world. The estimated cost to build a system overseas is $20,000, but it is believed that the system once up and running that it will be able to produce 1,000 lbs of tilapia every six to eight months. Aqua Design Innovations have also ventured into designing a miniature aquaponics ecosystem, in the hopes of raising environmental awareness and educating others on the system. They’ll be launching a crowd-sourcing effort to fund their miniature aquaponics EcoQube project starting in November.
Conventional farming techniques using fungicides, pesticides, and other poisons, destroy soil ecology and can reduce the nutritional value of your food. The aquaponics system allows the individual to become more self-sufficient, and to grow and consume healthier food for themselves and their family. If not a full solution to food scarcity, it offers a decently priced method of raising fish and plants in a symbiotic fashion; reducing waste and increasing yields.