Aquaponics is a system that has been growing in popularity over the years. Through mixing the advantages of aquaculture and hydroponics, people now have a practical way of growing plants and fish at the same time.
This integrated system can even use fish waste to feed plants. The microbes simply convert ammonia to nitrates which is beneficial for producing flowers and seeds. Of course, the relationship between the two is mutual since the plants will continually filter the water.
So, if you’re interested in having this system in your house, what do you need? Well, you first have to find the right aquaponics grow bed for your setup.
In order to determine what kind of aquaponics grow bed you need to have, you must first know its function. In simple terms, this grow bed is responsible for being the central point of your aquaponics system.
Whether you are growing fruits or vegetables, all of these plants will be inside this container. While a grow bed requires a sizable amount of space, the rewards you will reap in terms of the harvest will surely be worth it.
Regardless of whether you will be placing it inside or outside of your house, you can actually choose almost any size for your container. Of course, this will be dependent on just how many plants you intend to grow. The more fish and plants you want inside, the bigger the container needs to be. On a related note, remember that more water means more pressure for your grow bed to handle.
Additionally, your aquaponics grow bed must be sufficiently deep. The widely used depth for containers is 30 centimeters. This depth is enough to allow room for various plants to grow while also allowing enough filtration.
If you want to have a small aquaponics grow bed, you can convert a lot of things into the right container. Plastic containers and food containers can be turned into grow beds. Likewise, wooden boxes can be converted into small containers.
As for medium-sized aquaponics grow beds, you can use troughs that were originally used for animal feed, water, and concrete mix. If you prefer a big container, large aquaponics grow beds are readily available for purchase in stores. Still, you have the option to build your own containers.
The key to having a great aquaponics grow bed is to ensure a couple of features for the materials. First, it needs to be watertight. Check if there are any holes or cracks on any side. If it isn’t watertight, your container could leak water once you add plumbing fittings. To keep every part of your grow bed watertight, we recommend using rubber gaskets and high-grade silicon.
Likewise, the container should be sturdy. As we have mentioned earlier, more content inside the container will lead to more pressure. An aquaponics grow media can usually weigh around 450 grams while a liter of water is equal to one kilogram.
Aside from the grow media and the water, the container must also carry the plants that grow in size and weight. Once the pressure becomes too much, cracks will start to appear. At worst, your grow bed could begin to burst and turn into a huge pile of mess in your home.
Apart from being watertight and durable, the materials you choose for your grow bed should be safe not only for your plants but also for the bacteria and the worms. None of the materials should be toxic. Metal is not a good choice since it can undergo corrosion, which can lower the pH level of your grow bed. Once the pH level is changed, optimum plant growth can be negatively affected.
The material must be able to effectively block sunlight. If your container is constantly exposed to direct sunlight, algae could grow fast and damage the root systems of your plants. In addition, grow beds that are placed outside must have materials that can withstand UV rays. Otherwise, chemicals can be leached into the aquaponics system.
Some of the grow bed materials you can use include fiberglass, wood, and plastic. Concrete is also a good choice for your container, but it has to be sealed first. Otherwise, the concrete can disrupt the water chemistry.
As you can see, there are several factors you need to consider. The size is dependent on how many vegetables and fruits you wish to grow. Likewise, you need to know whether you will be placing your grow bed inside or outside.
The materials should be watertight, UV-resistant, non-toxic, and extremely durable to withstand constant pressure. By looking for these features, you will have an aquaponics grow bed that won’t cause you any trouble in the years to come.
We hope that our basic guide on grow beds helped you. If you have any questions, do give us a comment.