Are you inspired by other expert preppers that use a quaponics ecosystem to feed their family, but lack the outdoor space for such a large set up or you are scared about the costs ? We’re bringing you budget versions of the preps inspired by expert preppers.
What is Aquaponics?
Explaining aquaponics is a lot like trying to explain a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The jelly and peanut butter can both stand alone on bread but when you put the two together, you have the best of both worlds.
The same principle holds true with aquaponics, which is the combination of aquaculture; the raising small aquatic life in water tanks, and hydroponics; the growing of plants in water. In aquaponics, the water from aquatic animals (fish, etc.) is used to feed the plant roots. Then the plant water (cleaned up by the plants) is given back to the fish.
Aquaponics systems can be as big and elaborate or a small and compact as you wish to make.
Our focus for showing you how to create your own aquaponics system will be in a doomsday scenario where space, time, and food could all be scarce. We will show you how you can have freshwater fish, snails, crayfish, prawns, tilapia, perch, catfish, cod, and a vast array of your choice of garden veggies like lettuce, basil, tomatoes, okra, bell peppers, beans, peas, radishes, strawberries, onions, parsnips and herbs, to eat from a small amount of space with little to no energy exerted to maintain. And this type of system can fit into practically any living situation whether a high-rise apartment, a house in the suburbs or a rural farm.
The concept of the aquaponic system is pretty simple. You have two containers: one for fish on the bottom (acquaculture) and one for plants that sits above the fish container (hydroponics). A small aquatic pump is placed in the bottom container, which pushes up the fish effluent (the fish poop water and ammonia) into the plant container, where the ammonia (the toxic part for the fish) is broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria (what is known as biofilm), and turned into nitrates and nitrites, which are nutrients that are absorbed through the plant roots submerged in the water. Then the water goes back down into the fish container through a spout and the cycle begins again.
Things to Consider:
Depending on the fish you raise, you may or may not have to maintain a certain water temperature. Tilapia, for example, are a tropical fish, and need more warmth. On the other hand, catfish are not as susceptible to temperature.
Each gallon of water can support between one half to one pound of fish stock depending on how grandiose a system you make. And each gallon of fish water, can support 1 square foot of plants life. Another consideration is lighting. If your system does not have natural sunlight, you will need some sort of artificial lighting.
Begin by procuring two containers. We chose the typical storage container you see pick up in any big box store. You will need one container for the aquaculture (fish) portion and one for the hydroponic (plant) portion.
You will also need a foot or so of PVC pipe that is 1 ½ inches in diameter, as well as a 1 ½ inch locknut fitting, a 1 ½” male adapter and a 1 ½ inch elbow.
You need to begin by determining where the containers are going to be placed and how much distance there will be from the plant container to the fish container. (The plant overflow tube will need to be able to reach back into the fish container.) Once this is determined, you can start your build.
Fill your bottom tank to an adequate level and turn on the pump. (You can adjust the flow of the pump using the switch on the side of the pump- so you can speed up the water circulation, or slow it down.)
Now you are ready to insert the fish. (Make sure that the fish and the water in the tanks are at about the same temperature before placing the fish into the water. You can shock them with a big temperature change.)
Most importantly if this is getting a little confusing for you don’t worry about it, it can be difficult to conceptualize exactly how these things work, if you follow through our simple building and installation steps you’ll be able to build yourself an organic aquaponic system in no time.
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