Aquaponics creates an ecosystem in which the fish make nutrients for cannabis while cannabis cleans the water for the fish. Aquaponics dramatically reduces the amount of water needed for raising fish, while also producing high-nutrient plants.
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Aquaponics combines aquaculture with hydroponics. In an aquaponic growing system, fish are raised in a tank and the nutrients they produce are converted by bacteria into nutrients for the plants. The plant roots help clean the water before it is re-circulated back to the fish tank, completing the cycle.
Aquaponics creates an ecosystem in which the fish make nutrients for cannabis while cannabis cleans the water for the fish. When choosing a type of fish for your system, aim for a species that is hardy and tolerates crowding. Tilapia is an edible fish that adapt very well to aquaponics, and koi or goldfish are perfect ornamental fish since they are nice to look at and can thrive in sub-optimal environments.
If you are looking to raise both fish and plants, aquaponics may be the most efficient solution because merging them lowers the cost of farming each by itself. In commercial operations, aquaponics is used to produce profitable combinations. In smaller setups, aquaponics is a sustainable, low-technology and efficient way to create food even with infertile land and low resources. Plus, aquaponics dramatically reduces the amount of water needed for raising fish, while also producing high-nutrient plants.
While aquaponics can be very rewarding, there are a few obstacles you may run into while running your system:
1.) Cannabis plants need lots of nutrients. Growing cannabis in aquaponics is similar to hydroponics, but fish and bacteria make the food. In order for the plants to benefit from the nutrients of the fish, fish waste must to be converted to a usable form by the bacteria in your biofilter. Creating a hearty colony of bacteria for your biofilter can take six months or more, meaning additional nutrient supplementation by natural sources will be necessary to grow a cannabis plant in aquaponics initially. During the budding/flowering stage of cannabis growth, the plants have a huge appetite for nutrients. While beginning your journey with aquaponics, you can expect to run into nutrient issues, but don’t let this deter you from discontinuing with your aquaponics system!
2.) Cannabis plants may need separate vegetative and flowering areas. Vegetative and flowering cannabis have different nutrient requirements in order to produce the best growth. Because of this, you may need to maintain multiple tanks. You do have the option of adding extra nutrients to your system during the flowering stage, however this can be harmful to your fish unless the plants use most of it prior to the water recirculating back to the rearing tank. Extra planning and water testing is recommended to manage which nutrients are available.
3.) Planning for extra fish. If a grower would like a constant supply of fish to eat or sell, an aquaponic system is a great solution. However, if you would rather not harvest your fish, a plan needs to be in place for the extra fish as they die and need to be replaced. It is recommended to regularly add new young fish to your system as the mature ones die in order to maintain the equilibrium of your system.
This article was first published on https://www.cannabisimp.com.