Making an Aquaponics System with a Barrel Making an Aquaponics System with a Barrel
An aquaponics system is a type of controlled environment where aquaculture or fish breeding and hydroponics or soil less plant growing is integrated together in an artificial habitat. It is composed of a re-circulating environment where the fish and plants live symbiotically. Both light and temperature are controlled in an aquaponic system. This type of system post a common problem which is toxic water buildup from fish emulsion and fertilized water from the water-grown plants. Aquaponics work in a way where the waste form the fish environment is pumped into a section where water needs to be treated. It is mixed with natural bacteria to covert ammonia to fish nitrite to nitrate. This nitrate now can feed the plants since the “fish water” is pumped into the hydroponics system to feed the growing plans living in the same environment. Thus, eliminating the wastes created by both organisms. The cycle continues to go around without discharging or exchanging water but only adding water when the level starts to go down because of evaporation, plant absorption or biomass removal from the aquaponic system itself.
Barrel-ponics is another word for aquaponics in a barrel. Since a big aquaponics system is costly, low cast aquaponics using barrels has been an option for people who want to create such type of system to grow vegetables at the same time, aquatic lifestock. This system is good especially in areas where there is low soil or the weather does not permit growing outdoors since these systems are typically placed indors where there is a controlled environment.
This type of system would require materials that can be found in any reliable hardware store but the key is to get quality 3 quality barrels. Barrels from questionable sources made up toxic or unknown material should never be used as these containers will grow food that will be consumed by animals and humans. Blue and white plastic barrels are safe to used once it has been cleaned thoroughly. Black barrels are not recommended to be used especially if they were recyclked since this barrels are typically used to contain chemicals. Never reuse barrel (wether blue, black or white) with no labels that indicate what they were initially used for. The best to use would be blue over the white once because they will not grow algae as much as a white one would.
Functions of the Barrels
The three barrels that are 55 gallons in size has its own functions. One barrel would be for the fish, the second would be cut in half and laid down for the plants to grow in, and the third would be for water return maintenance. Piping and pumps work in tandem to make this whole system work along with lighting and controlled temperatures. The environment is maid in a way that the light and temperature coincides with normal crop-growing environment.