In the world of gardening, there are many methods besides growing in traditional soil. One of these methods is aquaponics with products such as Aquafarm. Aquaponics is an ancient farming practice developed by the Aztecs. It is a sustainable technique that uses 90% less water compared to conventional farming methods.
This ancient farming method combines aquaculture and hydroponics to create a symbiotic environment where fish and plants can thrive. Aquafarm is an innovative way to maintain an attractive fish tank while nourishing plants in a countertop setup that provides endless opportunities for harvesting fresh plants.
What is Aquafarm?
The Aquafarm, also known as the Back To The Roots Water Garden, was engineered to perform as an aquaponics system. For those who are not familiar with this gardening method, it is an easy way to try this fun way of growing plants and bringing some wildlife into your home.
Aquaponics is one of the most complex cultivation methods that does not utilize soil. The fish tank preserves water that produces nitrates from the ammonia-rich waste. Beneficial bacteria form and are pumped to the roots of the plants allowing them to grow and thrive.
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What Does Aquafarm Include?
As you open the box, you'll notice that everything you need is included. The kit includes various items from different companies. Home Grown Ponics is a company they use for the fish prep, the dechlorinating, the tank cleaner, and the beneficial bacteria.
The seeds are provided by Seeds of Change, another one of their partners. It is an outstanding company doing a lot of great things for the planet.
The Aquafarm system includes the following:
Size of System
Aquafarm holds three gallons of water for the fish tank. You'll be able to maintain two to three fish in this space. It is ideal for countertops such as a nightstand, bookshelf, breakfast bar, or office desk.
It is an ideal way to save space while maintaining both a garden and a fish tank.
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How Does Aquafarm Work?
Aquafarm is perfect for growing fresh vegetables and herbs at home. It is a great way to save space while using your countertop to maintain a garden and fish tank.
Here's how the Aquafarm works:
Water that is pumped through the fish tank reaches the roots of the plants on the grow tray above the fish. The roots of the plants act as a natural filtration system that breaks down toxic ammonia from the fish waste and converts it into nitrates, which keep the plants nourished.
After the ammonia is converted to nitrates, clean water circulates and returns to the fish tank ensuring it stays clean and free from waste. The great thing about the system is that it practically maintains itself.
During this step you simply watch your plants grow. You'll enjoy growing a variety of plants such as leafy greens, wheatgrass, herbs, and small vegetables.
The final step is to harvest your crops. In only a few weeks, you'll see your plants grow and thrive. Your plants will continue to grow above the fish tank with minimal effort.
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Is Aquafarm Really Effective?
Depending on which crop you choose, you'll find Aquafarm to be efficient enough to yield consistent crops. Wheatgrass and lettuce are perfect for this type of system. They grow abundantly and easily using Aquafarm.
Although the lettuce takes a bit longer than other plants such as wheatgrass. For instance, in normal growing conditions using soil, lettuce takes about two months to harvest from the seedling stage. That is about the same amount of time Aquafarm takes to grow lettuce.
In contrast, when using hydroponic systems, lettuce may grow in half the time taking approximately one month to harvest from the seedling stage. Unfortunately, using Aquafarm doesn't provide enough nutrients to grow reliable crops because it relies on the waste of fish for nutrition.
In a hydroponic system, nutrients are perfectly balanced. Aquafarm is not a highly optimized system for growing food, but it does provide an effective method for growing plants.
With only one betta fish, you can upkeep up to five plants. The garden will thrive even if you don't use 100% optimized nutrition.
Let's take a look at how the system performs after two weeks:
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How to Keep Aquafarm Cleaned and Maintained?
Most people likely find cleaning and maintenance to be the biggest challenge when working with Aquafarm. Traditional hydroponic systems have a cover over the nutrient reservoir, where it is protected from light.
However, with Aquafarm, the top is exposed to allow the user to look at the fish. This creates a problem as the nutrient-rich water in the tank is exposed to light. It creates an optimal environment for algae to grow, something you do not desire in your garden.
As you notice algae increasing in your tank, you may try adding sea snails into the ecosystem to help control the algae. The snails eat the algae and convert it into waste, which produces nutrients for the plants above the tank.
The snails are not able to clean the air hose and water pump. Unless you manually clean these components every week, they will continue to get dirty quickly but it doesn't seem to affect the plants.
Benefits of Using Aquafarm
Aside from the benefit of having fresh plants, there are other reasons why someone would benefit from owning an Aquafarm.
These benefits include:
The Aquafarm provides an easy system that is sure to please those who want to combine a fish tank with a garden. People enjoy watching and caring for the fish while enjoying the benefits of an aquaponics system.
Keep in mind that this system is not meant for supplying your daily amount of leafy greens. You'll certainly have enough to use once in a while. It is an easy way to maintain a garden while using one of the oldest methods for growing plants.
Its beautiful display is a great addition to your home's decoration. It is sure to provide countless hours of entertainment while doing something productive such as gardening.
One of the best parts about Aquafarm is how easy it is to use and maintain. There's no need for you to keep the pH balanced or to constantly adjust nutrients as you would with a normal hydroponics system.
All you have to do is continue to feed the fish, be sure to top off the water level and keep an eye on the plants. That's absolutely everything you have to do, it is that simple!
Aquafarm is certainly worth trying if you like having fish and growing a garden. It is a great addition to any space and it makes a fun gift, especially for kids intested in nature.