Hydroponics essentially refers to the process of managing to grow plants without actually making use of soil. Hydroponics enables plants to grow in water by nourishing their growth through mineral nutrients. Besides Hydroponics, there is also the style of growing plants called Aquaponics. The latter essentially goes a step further by adding up the use of fish to supply further nutrients to grow plants. Both of them are types of container gardening processes and both are deemed to be effective, however, there may be cases where one is more suitable than the other.
The Fish Element
Aquaponics is the process where fish are utilized to grow plants. This is enabled by channeling fish's wastes into the plants beds. It basically serves as a natural nutrient as in the case of organic fertilization in normal plant growing processes. Therefore the main basic question to be posed to anyone wishing to take up these types of gardening procedures is whether he or she likes fish or not. If you are interested in fish and have a basic knowledge as to how to maintain a fish tank with healthy fish, then you should try Aquaponics.
The Organic Aspect
If you choose Aquaponics, it is a smart way of using an organic system to provide fresh, organically sustained fish for your family. Such fish would be free from chemicals and other harmful contaminants from the sea. Tilapia is one of the most popular kinds of fish used in Aquaponics since it is fast growing and also makes an excellent fish for dishes.
The Environmental Aspect
Both systems are productive and organic gardening methods. However, Aquaponics is a very environmentally friendly procedure when considering that there is the efficient use of nutrient-rich water. It is also a way of indirectly saving water.
Primarily both methods enable a high supply in a small space. Produce can be sustained all year round irrespective to the climate, since suitable thermometers and heating systems can be used. Also, when using hydroponics, you can benefit from the fresh supply of fresh vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, and other leafy kinds of vegetables. These are known to be more efficiently produced in Aquaponics systems, since the water that is present from the fish tanks enables the plants to be more rich in nitrogen. These systems are also used for commercial purposes when used on a larger scale.
The Costs Involved
If you do not already own a fish tank you will need to buy one together with all the necessary accessories such as lights,a pump, a filter and a heater. Needless to be said you will need to buy fish and their food supplies. Mainly it is the setting up that involves the major costs since you will not need to spend much money to maintain it or to feed the fish. If you do not wish to purchase all of the above you will then better stick to Hydroponics by itself rather than taking up Aquaponics.
The Equipment and Maintenance Required
If you already own a fish tank then it is recommended that you give Aquaponics a try since practically all you need to do is to fill it with water and fish and connect it through a piping system to the hydroponic plant beds. It does not require much maintenance other than the need to regularly feed the fish, since the pump will do all the cleaning. It will absorb the fish's waste and channel it to the hydroponic plant beds to enable the Aquaponic process to take place.
The filter will in turn allow the water to be relatively clean all the time for the fish's well being. Obviously you will need to carry out some water change from time to time so as to ensure best results. Also pay special attention to the number of fish you should add according to the size of the tank. Specialized hobby centers and pet and gardening stores will supply you with all the necessary equipment and information.