Aquaponic plants are one of the most important factors in an aquaponics system. Without plants the system cannot function properly. Early on in the research of recirculating aquaculture systems, experiments were done to determine the efficiency of aquatic plants in consuming the nutrients in aquaculture water, therefore helping to purify the water for the fish in the system. As research continued, terrestrial plants were tested and proven to be an effective means of water purification for aquaculture and this nutrient rich water a nearly ideal hydroponic solution for growing plants. Lettuce, chives and other leafy crops were first considered for aquaponics but, more recently, commercial growers and researchers have had great success with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, melons, flowers and many other crops.
Growing plants in soil is fairly easy but takes up valuable space because of moisture and spacing requirements. Dirt farming is kind of a knee jerk response. You see the plants wilting and add water, plants yellowing and add nitrogen or compost. Aquaponics takes care of this automatically, without much thought except to insure the flow of water. If the electricity quits or a pump fails the plants will survive several days up to two weeks depending on the temperature, but of course the fish will die within hours.
Even plants needing large amounts of nitrogen, like tomatoes, can exist side by side with plants that require little, like lettuce. The nutrient rich water reaches all plants and because it only passes through, only what is needed is used. Even with good plant coverage there are a lot of nitrates flowing out the drains back to the fish tank, enough in fact to power up another group of grow beds. This is not a concern unless the water is cloudy in the fish tank. We have found that 6-8 grow beds per 400 gallon tank is a good operating number. Transplanting seedlings and cloning plants is easy. Bury the seedling up to the last couple of leaves, removing all others and hand water for a couple of days until established.
Aquaponic Plants Chart
|Impatiens||Peas||Beets||Swiss Chard||Black Seeded Simpson|
|Water Cress||Watermelon||Chives||Cabbage||Redina Lettuce|
|Garlic Chives||Zucchini||Okra||Cilantro||Most common household plants|
If you want to obtain great results make sure you purchase organic seeds, so that you know exactly that your crops will be 100% organic. This way you will enjoy the real taste of freshly harvested vegetables in the comfort of your home. What can be better than that?!