Thursday, 14 September 2017

Indoor Aquaponics Systems, Can you build your own at home?

Growing Using An Indoor Aquaponics System

Growing of plants at home has been known to have positive effect on people. Plants produce a lot of oxygen and their beauty is also known to lift people’s moods. This is one of the reasons why house plants are so popular nowadays, some people also discovered that majority of the food crops can do well indoor. It is also good to grow plant that will provide many benefit if you would grow any. There are plants that can provide fresh vegetables and also beautify your home. Indoor aquaponic systems allows you to do this in an effective way without the challenges of potting soil, fertilizing and watering.

What is aquaponics?

Aquaponics combines the growing of plant with a fish tank which is another form of home decoration. Fish are known to produce a lot of wastes, these waste are full of different nutrients that are of great benefit to the plants. In a typical fish tank, the water goes through a filter that removes the waste from the water. If this is not done, the waste will accumulate to a certain level and will become toxic to the fish. However, the plant loves these wastes, but fishes don’t. So the idea of growing plants in nutrient rich fish water is amazing and work very well for plants. In this system, the plants also do an important thing; they filter the water and make it clean, less toxic for the fish. With this kind of system, the water can be recycled again and again. While the plant continues to clean the water for the fish, the fish will continue to fertilize the plant.

This can be done in a soil free system because plants don’t really need the soil in order to grow; they only get the nutrient and water out of the soil. So you can bypass soil by giving them water and nutrient directly, you won’t have to do other works associated with planting such as conditioning, digging, getting your hands dirty, etc.

This type of system can be used indoors, in the greenhouse or outside if the climate permits. However it is mostly used indoors and in this case controlling the climate will be very easy. If it is outside, the weather will determine what and when you can grow. But inside, the temperature is being controlled and common garden pests are eliminated. No more snails, gophers, slugs, weeds or any other predator. This system also makes it easy to grow food in a small space. Young crops can be alternated with older crops to make a nice contrast and to also decorate your home. This will also make it easy for you to pick organic product outside your living room whenever you desire.

If you wish to construct an indoor aquaponics system, you will be in need of some materials which are listed below:

  1. A fish tank: the size of your room will depend on the kind of tank you’ll be able to use. It is also important for you to note that you must leave the tank to run for at least three weeks before stocking fish; this will allow the natural bacterial which will serve as foods for the fish to grow.
  2. A filter: the filter will help to remove the solids from the water before it gets to the crops. This is important because the solid waste will start smelling when they get to the grow beds.
  3. Plastic piping: this will serves as a channel for the water to the grow beds. The water will be pumped through this pipe and it is best placed at the bottom of your indoor aquaponic tank so as to get rid of waste that sinks naturally and to keep the tank clean.
  4. Grow beds: it is good to place the fish tank higher than the beds so that the water would be taken back into the tank by force of gravity. The ideal object is a shelving unit and make sure you use netted pots so that the water can pass through easily.

Now that you’ve gotten all the materials necessary to set up your indoor aquaponic system, so let us get some vegetables growing. The first set of pipe should be passed over the grow beds and should be perforated so as to allow water to reach the plants. This water has enough nutrient needed by plants so as to grow well without using any chemical, this makes your vegetable and other plants to be organic. The second set of pipes is placed under the beds and directed downward in order to allow the filtered water to return to the fish tank, with this the cycle will be repeated over and over.

Because some water would be lost because of evaporation and the usage by plants, you will need to fill up your tank. The topping of water is one of the hard task, other ones such as feeding of fish, harvesting are simpler. With this system, it is very easy to harvest the fish because the grow beds are placed on a raised shelve so you won’t have to break your back to harvest them.

Aquaponic is perfect for everyone because it reduces wastage and is easy to practice however; there are other reasons why it is of great benefit.

Benefits of Aquaponics:


Instead of buying tons of equipment for traditional farming, aquaponic provides a recyclable system that is self-sustaining. After paying for the initial equipment, you won’t have to buy expensive materials or chemicals to maintain the system.


Fish normally discharge ammonia as a waste which is useless in traditional farming. However, with aquaponic, the same waste can be used for plants and can also be harvested for other purpose. Therefore, you’ll observe that maintaining an aquaponic system is easier to maintain than a fish tank.


Less land is required to produce crops in an aquaponic system. Also it can be constructed anywhere you desire. If you have a space in your home, you can place an indoor aquaponic there and you’ll definitely love it.

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

How To Start An Indoor Aquaponics System

A Rudimentary Guide to the Aquaponics System

Explained simply, indoor aquaponics is the integrated system produced from combining hydroponics and aquaculture. Aquaculture is the science of raising fish for food and hydroponics, the science of growing plants and food produce without soil.

The system works in a simple cycle. The fish provide the valuable minerals the plants will need to survive and the plants filter the nutrients from the water that is returned to the fish in their tank. The other important players in this symbiotic circle are the microorganisms that feed fish waste and the composting of red worms.

Each player has an important role; the bacteria will work to transform the ammonia in the fish wastes into nitrites and nitrates. This not only protects the fish from high levels of ammonia which can kill them but also provides the plants with an important food source. The red worms then consume all the solid wastes and in your aquaponic system into another important source of plant nutrition: vermicomposting.

Best Fish for Aquaponics

Just about any freshwater fish can be raised in your aquaponic system, but specific breeds will better suited to the climate and needs of the aquapon (aquapon: an aquaponic gardener). Tilapia is one of the most popular options for most aquapons, but many others are also growing catfish, trout, bluegill and even red claw crayfish.

But you don’t have to eat your fish either, goldfish and koi are very popular options as well and survive a wide range of temperatures. Precise temperatures will provide optimal productivity and some research should be done be done on the best fish type for specific locations.

Trout is a popular choice too because it is delicious and a large freshwater fish. Nevertheless, it will only begin to thrive when the temperatures of their waterfall between 45° – 55° F. Tilapia prefers warmer waters and temperatures higher than 70°F.

Fruits and Veggies from an Aquaponic System

Just about any fruit or veggie can thrive in an aquaponic system including coconuts, bananas, cucumbers, potatoes and every leafy veggie imaginable. Just about the only types of plants that will not go well in the system are plants that have special soil needs such as azaleas and blueberries that thrive in acidic soils. The water in your aquaponic system is generally kept just below a balanced pH level at 4.0 -5.0.

Ideal Climates for Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics can be successful and prolific in all type of climates so long as the fish and plants are well adapted to the ambient temperatures. Some protection for the fairly delicate balance is always a little better and many people have placed their systems in a backyard greenhouse. This has the added benefit that the various components of the system including grow beds, fish tanks and sump tank all create a large thermal mass that keeps the temperatures fairly constant. The nice thing about the backyard is the free sunshine.

Many other people have set up successful aquaponics systems in their basements and garages, using artificial lighting. The best thing about aquaponics is that the design of the system is pretty straightforward and can be assembled from the most rudimentary materials. The task of balancing the water till the fish are thriving and keeping the sump tank filled with nutrient rich water. If you are not so DIY inclined, there are many kits available online that make the job even easier check out our aquaponics buyers guide.

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

2 Days at a commercial aquaponics farm

Course in aquaponics on Bioaqua farm

I wanted to learn more about aquaponics on a commercial scale, so I went to the beautiful Summerset just outside Wales, a rolling landscape with hedgerows and meadows.

Along a small road has Bioaqua Farm with Antonio spearheaded set up their business with the cultivation of trout, they have four large swimming pools buried in the ground with two associated greenhouse. Two new greenhouse was about to be put up when I was there and there were even a couple of hives helped with pollination. I was the only “foreigner”, where although there were some who lived both in Brazil, South Africa and Greenland! Delightful mix of people of all ages but different amount of experience. The course was an intensive introductory course in two days alternating theory with practice.


Salad Aquaponics Began with the theory and history of aquaponics. The aquaponics is not at all new but already used thousands of years ago by various different peoples. We also went through different systems, pros and cons. Antonio claimed that Zipgrow Towers was equivalent to the NFT which I do not entirely agree with. The downside of NFT / zipgrow was under him that it acted as a major element, which heated the water, creating temperature fluctuations. It may well be that in certain situations with clean NFT, but it feels weird to Bright Agrotech not have pointed this out at all. Their system is much larger than Bioaqua farms.

After completing the theory that offered some interesting discussions, we went out and inspected greenhouses. They were solidly built with a wood frame and UV-protected plastic that covered too. They also had a good ventilation possibilities in hand, the plastic that you could cover for open depending on weather.


The ebb and flow / DWC / Aero

The water is fed out to the plant beds content spirit hydrograins using a distributor controlled by a timer. When the water in the planting beds reached a certain height started a siphon that began to empty down to a line of DWC beds. A special type of Styrofoam had holes drilled in with nätkrukor which mainly lettuce grew, but other major crops.

aeroponics propagation

The abundance of these ran down into a sump which also acted as a large propagation system using sprinklers. To get the first root growth were planted cubes first in this aeroponics system for later transfer to a “nursing board” where the holes for nätkrukorna set more tightly. Finally, as they were moved over to the disk where the holes were further apart so that all the plants would get plenty of light.

clever tricks

Bioaqua farm had devised some clever ideas which nätkrukorna did not go all the way down the hole without sticking up a little bit. The reason for this was that when the plants get bigger and heavier so they weigh down the Styrofoam so much so that the water reaches the crowns which makes them rot. This was enough, however, a problem that was quite specific to their solution as they were very large and heavy plants in their DWC.

Another smart idea was to plant the seedlings in a zig zag pattern so that the water circulated better around the roots. They had also thoroughly with oxygenation with a large oxygen rock every meter in the summer and a little less in winter ( read the article on oxygen and plants ).

greenhouse Inside

Something I have not thought of, but which was very logical was that the roots became host to microorganisms in DWC system, similar to that seen in the plant bed onto Leca balls. This meant that Bioaqua farm let the plants remain until they could replace them just because the microbes would continue to work. Had they removed all the plants at once, this had probably led to problems with the mineralization.

After the tour of the greenhouses, it was time to say hello to the fishermen. They were outside in the round and buried in the bottom conical tanks in a pattern number five in a dice where the sump was in the middle. They were well protected during both net and a tent. If I remember correctly, they held a total of 100,000 liters of water in the marshes. In each tank so swam a large amount of char in different plant stages which made it very easy to “reap” on various occasions. The variety was exclusively rainbow trout as this was both tasty, durable and quickly grew. They had tested other types of trout, but these grew half as fast resulting in significantly lower returns. The only thing that was different was the texture of the meat as Antonio. They were also GMO free which was unusual in the industry.
fish feed

Bioaqua farm use only “organic” food, which means that the corn used is GMO-free. This is mixed with catches which vessels have raised. According to Antonio’s what the fish eat determines how it will taste. The trout is a predator and it is the fact that makes it taste just fish. The price of the GMO-free feed and the “organic” feed skilled not a lot in price, but when you go through a pallet of the day in large plantations begins suddenly felt. What was one of the reasons that GM feed is used more often in large plantations. If the water is not filtered properly so the fish have a slimy taste.


In Britain controlled all fish farms regularly and tests taken by the water. Bioaqua farm has very good values compared to traditional fish farms, probably due to the effective filtering with aquaponics, and that they do not fill their tanks.

Clean water

To fish would taste as good as possible, it was important to filter the water properly. Therefore had Bioaqua farm set up filters between the plant bed and DWC system. Because the holes were so small they were filled quickly back and Antonio emptied them several times a day.


Time to build
After lunch it was time to get practical. We would put up our own aquaponicssystem (without fish). An IBC 1000 liter acted as the fish tank. These are cheap and easy to get started, but needs to be covered over when the resin is UV-resistant and temperature would shift too much if you let it stand in the sun.

It would then build a “radial flow” filter so that solid substances would sink to the bottom. The water here would lose a plant bed filled with hydrograins and a siphon would drain the water into a DWC system. A pump with T-cross was supposed to fill in both the IBC and the NFT system on the other side. Much to do, lets go!

Radial flow filters

We were divided into two groups where one group built a radial-flow filter, while the other began to cobble together a plant bed. To build the filter was very simple, and it is difficult enough to find the right material, rather than putting it together. What was important was that the filter tank corresponding to approximately 1/4 of the large tank volume.

plant bed

Finding a plant bed of the right size is very difficult, so instead they built Bioaqua their farm with the help of wooden planks that were painted on the outside and the inside covered with plastic, very smooth. Antonio used exclusively Torx screw, and when it was time to drill holes through the plastic began his first anticlockwise not the plastic would stick in the hole saw.

Building the plant bed

It was about what we he with on a day which was not a little.


We banged us again in the classroom and now we went into more rules about fish and how to get hold of their first fry. The rules for the UK probably differ somewhat from Sweden which meant that this part did not give as much. It was very interesting to listen to the section on water dynamics and how to build fish tanks that performed better than others. Around and tapered at the bottom seems to be the way to go.

After the theory we were treated to lunch with fish from own cultivation. Very juicy and tasty, but it apparently took 20min to peel. Take it times 10 fish then you have some work to do. For the most part so smoked the fish and made a pâté of it was very tasty. The question came up about how the fish were raised and killed.

Fishing net

For single fish, a large landing net, but then there were different types of networks that mattered. The fewer the fish that were in the tank, the smarter they became, and the more easily escaped the all fishing effort. Finally covered the entire bottom of a net which drew up the final bottom.

An important point that Antonio took up was to use gloves when the fish’s body temperature is much lower than ours. The large difference in temperature burn otherwise the fish skin and create unnecessary suffering.

Once up, he took a firm hold of the tail and with a finger in his mouth, he broke the fast neck of the fish. The whole thing took no more than three seconds without any suffering.

More construction


Now it was time to complete the system. New beds were built, but this time they were filled with water instead. Styrofoamskivor (polystyrene) normally used for floor became a “floating raft” Once the holes were drilled. To avoid having to measure out the holes each time had Bioaqua farm made a smart template with screws that formed a perfect impression when pressed together with another disc.

The second group began working with a siphon that turned out to be a real headache, but eventually began to suck water. Personally, I am not eager to build when there are many parameters to fiddle with the width of the pipe, the amount of holes in the ground and how much water is entering the bed.

The bed was filled with three sacks hydrograins, oxygen stones placed in DWC system and NFT troughs that were completed since the previous placed so that it had to tilt the DWC. All that remained now was to get some power to the pump and then everything started to circulate. A little leaks here and there, but to have put the system on two afternoons, we can be quite satisfied. Speaking of leaks as Antonio had tried everything and wanted to be absolutely sure it is not leaking so he recommended something called PU-40 is a super silicone. No idea if you can get the equivalent in Sweden but it might be worth checking out.

A rewarding course in beautiful surroundings. For Bioaqua farm as the fish was the main income which is different from what I have seen and are used to. This meant that the farm was better attended than the greenhouse where some defects appeared on the plants, probably when the pH was too high in my opinion. Being aquaponicsbonde however, is a right reserved plot and sometimes lonely job where the greatest social contact occurs at the farmer’s market. Pushing for the product you have is better is also a challenge, but the only way to go if you want to get paid for what you do.

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Monday, 24 April 2017

Indoor Aquaponics System Buying Tips

Buying An Indoor Aquaponics System

indoor_aquaponics_systemAre you interested in growing healthy plants? Do you want to take full advantage of the resources around you? If so, you may want to look into an indoor aquaponics system.

What is aquaponics? It’s a system that combines aquaculture — raising fish — with agriculture. You can use the water the fish are in to help your plants thrive.

If you’re going to set up something like this in your home, you’re going to need a great system. Here are a few of the things you should consider.

Does This System Meet Your Needs?

If you have a limited amount of space to work with, you are going to have to look for a smaller aquaponics system. If you want to raise certain types of plants or fish, you are going to have to seek out a system that works with that.

No matter what kind of system you wind up purchasing, you will want to invest in something that meets all of your needs. You should be fully satisfied with the product that you purchase.

Is The System Easy To Use?

If you are new to aquaponics, you aren’t going to want a system with a high learning curve. You’re going to want something that you will be able to start using right away.

You should do some research before you purchase a new system. Try to find something that is beginner friendly. If you will be able to use your new system without a problem, you will be a lot happier with it.

Consider Installation

When you purchase a system like this, it is going to have to be installed. You have two options available to you. You can install the system yourself, or you can hire someone to install it for you.

Not everyone is comfortable installing a system like this, and that’s okay. Installation options are available. With that said, getting a system set up isn’t as challenging as you might think. A number of systems come with clear instructions. If you take your time, you’ll be able to get everything figured out.

Choose A System That’s Well Reviewed

It’s smart to do a little bit of research before you make a big purchase like this. You should see what reviewers have to say about the system you’re considering. Has it received a lot of positive feedback? If people are praising it, that’s a very good sign.

Reviews can be a very valuable source of information. If you want to select the best aquaponics system, you should take the time to look at as many reviews as you can find.

As you can see, there are a number of things you’ll have to consider when purchasing an indoor aquaponics system. Buying a new system is a great idea, but you’re going to want to ensure that you are happy with whatever you buy.

Thankfully, there are plenty of amazing systems out there. If you do decide to buy a system like this, you’ll be able to select something you’ll love.

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