Introduction: DIY Household Aquaponics - Small Scale
I've always wanted to start my own Aquaponics at home. I'm starting on a small scale with a 1,2 m double walled safety glass fish tank. The idea with my Aquaponics system is to grow my own vegetables 4 x faster in a small space like an apartment or a suburban home.
Aquaponic systems is a natural way to provide fish and vegetables for your family. This will reduce your dependency on buying food from the grocery store and will provide you with high quality fish and vegetables that are free of chemicals and pesticides.
You do not have to add fish or snails to the aquaponic but the snails keep the tank free from algae and the fish add nutrition to the water for your vegetables.
The system is clean and no messy soil. The water is also fresh and won't smell fishy.
Put the tank in a safe place away from children and pets.
Step 1: Purchasing All the Items You Need.
- 1 x glass fish tank, double walled approximately 1,2m long.
- 1 x air pump
- 2 x small air stones
- 2 x one way valve with tubing
- Internal filter
- 2 x pieces of styrofoam to fit top and bottom of tank
Step 2: Dechlorinating the Water
Fill the fish tank with water. Add the 2 small air stones and connect to the end of 2 one-way valves with tubing to fit the air pump. Run the pump for 5 days to make sure the water is dechlorinated. If the water's PH level is not correct after the 5 days for the fish or snails, use a dechlorination agent to remove the chlorine.Make sure the PH level is between 7 - 8.
Step 3: Adding the Snails/fish
When the dechlorination is done. Purchase the snails or fish that you would like to add to the tank. I purchased the snails first. Float the snails on-top of the water in the tank for about 30 minutes to start the acclimation of the snails. After 30 minutes scoop up the same amount of tank water, put it in the bag and seal the bag. Wait another half-hour or hour and remove some water. Add the same amount of tank water as you've taken out of the bag. Seal the bag again. Repeat a couple of times until the bag contains mostly tank water. Untie the bag and pick up the snails with your fingers or tongs. The snails should now be used to the tank water. Put them in the tank. Feed the snails with sinking food.
The snails are not a must have but I suggest that you add them to keep the tank free from algae. If you don't add them you might end up having to clean the tank often.
Step 4: Getting the Stryrofoam Ready
Cut a piece of styrofoam that fits the top of the tank. It has to float on-top of the water. Measure the holes on the styrofoam for the plants of your choice and to your liking. Use a knife or scissors to cut out the holes. Float the cut out styrofoam on-top of the water in your tank.
Step 5: Adding the Plants to Your Tank
Purchase or collect vegetable plants from your garden. I had some lovely lettuce, kale, basil and spinach in my garden. Make sure you wash all the soil of before adding it to your tank. After washing the plants put them into the holes in the styrofoam. Make sure the roots are in the water.
If you do not have sufficient sunlight add some grow lights to help the growth of your vegetables.
Step 6: Adding the Fish of Your Choice and Acclimating Them
You don't have to add fish if you don't want to but it adds nutrition to the water for your vegetables. My preference of fish are goldfish but you can add any fish that are safe to put in an aquaponic. If you want an edible fish, goldfish is not the way to go.
I bought 7 small goldfish and 2 big ones. To start the acclimation process you have to float them for 30 minutes in the tank in the bag. After 30 minutes take some water out of the bag and replace it with the same amount of water from the tank. Leave the bags in the tank to float. Wait another 30 minutes and repeat the process again. You are slowly making the fish used to the water in the tank.
Step 7: Reasons to Go Aquaponic!
- Faster and easier to grow for beginners.
- It's sustainable.
- Pesticide free and a more natural way to grow vegetables.
- Indoor growing. You don't need a lot of space.
- A lot less messy.