Aquaponics Plant Germination and Algae Eating Fish

This is a box I have set up for plant germination of my aquaponic plants:

The red plastic plate under the lid is just for ventilation to provide oxygen for the seed germination process. I’m using 2 and 3 inch black plastic net pots (5 cm and 7.5 cm) for the aquaponics system, and I’m sowing directly into the net pots:

There are very few nutrients in the coconut fiber material so when the seedlings develop their first true leaves I move them into the aquaponic plant tank where the water is filled with nutrients. This is a good thing about an aquaponics system; you don’t have to replant your seedlings with risk of damaging the roots.

In the beginning I kept a journal of everything I sowed with a serial number on every pot, but it takes a long time to update and since I haven’t got that many different plants in the system I can usually see right away what type of plant I’m dealing with when the seedlings appear, so I won’t be updating the journal anymore. I’ll just focus my energy on getting a truckload of plants through the system instead 😉

The fish in the aquarium connected to the plant tank are thriving. The interior of the tank is beginning to look like a natural environment, although we’re experiencing some really nasty looking algae, with a green synthetic like color. (If you know something about algae classification, please leave a comment below this blog post).

Fish tank and algae pictures:

But the fish seem to be okay with their artificial environment and fortunately they’re algae eating fish.

They’re pumping out fry, actually the third litter in one month. These are some of the blue acara fry, out of a litter of about 200(!):

The plants in the plant tank are doing well too. This is flat leaved parsley stretching for the grow light:

This strawberry plant did provide us with a few strawberries, and sent out a runner which I replanted in a new pot, but then it started to wilt:

I don’t know what happened – I’m sure I gave it enough water. (Get it?… enough water – in the aquaponics system?… Oh I crack myself up sometimes).

But then there’s the chives:

These are the workhorses in the system at the moment, with really long roots, and lots of them.

Note that both the strawberry plants and the chives are from the nursery where they were started in soil, which makes it hard to transfer to an aquaponics system, but we had to get some plants into the plant tank to clean the water for the fish as they where going into the aquarium no matter what. Or, at least Charlotte had a very good opportunity to buy tropical fish of the type she wanted at that particular time.

Both runner and bush beans are growing fast when they are plugged into the aquaponics system:

This is a bush bean type – runner beans are not practical in this particular system as the growing height above the plant tank is limited to 50 cm (20”) because the plant tank is placed just below the ceiling. I’m expecting a good yield from the bush beans and I’m looking forward to seeing the results. It seems like they are growing really well and we haven’t even done any adjustments of the pH value yet.

I can’t help dreaming about a nice big backyard aquaponics system, but after all it’s probably wise to get the basics right before scaling up the system.

2 comments on “Aquaponics Plant Germination and Algae Eating Fish

  1. -

    You have thought this out so thoroughly. I look forward to reading more. Welcome to Blotanical.

  2. -

    @The Sage Butterfly: Thanks! 😉 I love the beautiful pictures you have on your blog.

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