Growing an abundance of beautiful vegetables and raising fish for dinner right in your own backyard is made possible using an aquaponics growing system.

Aquaponics is the happy marriage of hydroponics and aquaculture – uniting plants and fish and Mother Nature.

The Nitrogen Cycle

This balanced environment which allows the growth of both fish and plants makes use of the Nitrogen Cycle.

  1. The decomposed fish food and fish waste produce Ammonia.
  2. Two different types of Bacteria breakdown the Ammonia.
  3. One bacteria called Nitrosomonas converts Ammonia into Nitrites.  The second bacteria called Nitrobacter converts the Nitrites into Nitrates.
  4. Nitrates feed the Plants
  5. The Plants return the filtered water back to the Fish.

Larger fish produce more Ammonia converted into Nitrates which the Plants gobble up and increase their growth and size.  Smaller fish produce less.  The plants growth is measured according to the amount of Nitrates they are fed.

Recommended Aquaponics System Size

Murray Hallams recommends a 1 to 1 ratio.  One 1000 liter or 250 gallon size is the smallest size he suggests for raising delicious fish and vegetables to eat.  A system this size could fit into a garage or outside or inside a Greenhouse.  The grow bed for your plants should be one foot deep.

This size system should support 100 fish, based on the one fish to every 2.5 gallons ratio recommended.  Remember that not all fish will grow at the same rate.  As you harvest the largest fish first, the smaller ones will grow faster since they won’t have so much competition for food.

Mother Nature Requires Balance

The Backyard Aquaponics System is a closed loop system which requires Mother Nature’s Laws of supply and demand to equal balance.  When you first begin using an aquaponics system, you should monitor it until you know you have achieved balance.  If you run into any problems with  your fish or plants, change out some of the water.  Once you have achieved the proper balance, you’ll be having fish and veggie bar-b-ques for all your friends.


Filed under: Aquaponics Systems