Growing Rice with Aquaponics
It is a common fact that growing rice requires enormous amounts of water and other nutrients too. The paddy fields are always laden with water. A very recent branch of science known as aquaponics is fast emerging as a step to grow in-house a part of the rice consumed in homes. Aquaponics is the amalgamation of aqua culture, which is fish farming, and hydroponics, growing crop plants and vegetables without any soil. In this system, the water that contains the fish excreta and waste is circulated to the plant bed. The plant takes up the nutrient from the water, which is toxic for the marine life. The remaining water is then circulated back to the fish tank. The water loss occurs only by the absorption by plants and evaporation. Hence, there is no need to constantly replace the water.
Step 1 – Join the Drain Pipe
Make a hole of about ½ inch in the plastic tank to be used as the grow bed. Fix the pipe into the bell siphon. The bell siphon remains inside the grow tank and drains the water out of the grow tub back into the fishpond. Whenever the water level goes above the standpipe inside the grow tub the bell siphon quickly drains all of the excess water back into the fish tank.
Step 2 – Set up the Pump
Join the ½-inch PVC pipe to the motor pump. Place the pump into the tank that will be used as the fish tank. The pump pushes water into the grow tub. Clamp the drain end of the PVC pipe on top of the grow tub.
Step 3 - Set up the Grow Bed
First, mark the water level on the outer side of the grow bed using a marker. Now, add hydroton to the rectangular plastic tank. Add some small pieces of stones so that the hydroton is settled nicely in the bed. Hydroton is pH neutral and cuts out the work of adjusting pH all the time.
Step 4 – Set up Fish Pond
Use the plastic tank with the 15-gallon capacity to set up the fishpond. Place it below the grow tub at a vertical distance of about 4 feet. Add water to the tank. Add fish to the tank. You can use any kind of ornamental fish of your choice.
Step 5 – Seed the Grow Tub
Since this aquaponics system will be used for growing rice, add the paddy seeds into the hydroton-filled grow bed. It's better to tap the hydroton balls from the top using a small tapper.
Step 6 – Check the System
It is essential to start the motor and check the flow of water. Check for leakage at the drainage hole. If there is a leak, seal the joint and the spaces in the hole with the sealant.