The rapid development in urban areas affects the reduction of existing agricultural land. With the rapid economic development and settlements in urban areas, the conversion of land functions in urban areas has also increased. The areas that were formerly used for agriculture have become residential areas.
With the reduction of usable land potential in urban areas, farm use is an option that can be chosen to support agricultural development in urban areas. The use of shipyards is then very closely linked to efforts to achieve community food security, starting on the smallest scale, namely the household scale. One option that can be used when using the garden is the plant breeding technique using the aquaponics method.
Aquaponics is an alternative to growing plants and raising fish in one tank. The process by which plants use nutrients from fish waste which, if left in the pond, are toxic to fish. Then the plant acts as a vegetation filter, breaking down these toxic substances into substances that are harmless to fish and oxygenating the water for fish farming. With this cycle, there will be a mutually beneficial cycle and of course, for those of us who adopt it will be very profitable as the land used will not be too broad.
The aquaponics system uses water from a tank or fishpond and then returns it through a pipe where the plants grow. If left in the tank, the water is toxic to the fish in it. Nitrifying bacteria convert fish waste into nutrients that plants can use. This plant then acts as a vegetation filter, breaking down these toxins into substances that are harmless to fish. So it’s a mutually beneficial cycle. In general, aquaponics uses a circulatory system. This means reusing water that has been used in fish farming with biological and physical filters in the form of plants and their media. The recirculation used contains a maintenance compartment and a water treatment compartment. The aquaponics system eliminates the need to water plants manually every day as the water in the pond is pumped up to water the plants and a timer can be added so we can choose the watering time as we like. We just have to feed the fish pond, which can eventually get fresh vegetables and fish.
Fish are key in an aquaponic system. Fish provide almost all the nutrients for plants. There are many different types of fish that can be used in an aquaponic system. This type of fish depends on the local climate and the species available in the market, but the most commonly used is tilapia.
Aquaponics isn’t just good for green veggies. Aquaponics will grow almost any type of vegetable. Some of the fruits and vegetables that perform well are; Aubergine (purple), tomato, chili, melon, etc.
Benefits of Aquaponics:
- The benefits of growing with aquaponics systems include:
- Fish manure can be used as a good source of organic fertilizer for plant growth.
- The resulting product is organic because it only uses fertilizer made from fish manure that has gone through a biological process.
- Produce two products at the same time; namely vegetables and fish, from one production unit.
- Can produce fresh vegetables and fish as a source of protein in arid areas and on limited land.
- It is sustainable with a mix of plants and fish and nutrient cycles.
- In addition to commercial applications, aquaponics has become a popular place for both the community and fisheries vocational students to learn about integrated biosystems.
- The population of organic crops that can be grown is ten times larger. With aquaponics, plants can be grown in high density with a floating system on the water. This system can accommodate up to 10 times as many plants in the same space. And every plant root is always supplied with nutrient-rich water.
- Easy care, no weeding required, soil pest free and no watering required.
- With good growth, the plants grow faster.
tools and materials
Aquaponics cultivation does not require expensive tools, but we can use the things that surround us. The tools used in aquaponic growing are:
- Aquarium pump
- Used filter cork
- Oven wick
The steps of the aquaponic growing system:
- Prepare a pond filled with fish
- Make containers for plants
A paralon tube is used to set up the plant, which is perforated according to the size of the planter. A small hole is made at the end of the paralon to drain water into the fish pond. The hole through which the water flows is placed slightly in the center of the paralon so that the current in the water is still present in the paralon and the plants do not wither.
- Sowing seeds
Seeds are sown on a tray or seedling container. Use seeds whose germination rate is over 80%. A good seedling medium commonly used is Rockwool. Rockwool is very convenient as it has high water absorption and is sterile, but as Rockwool is still difficult to obtain it can be substituted with an aquarium filter cork or sponge. When the seedlings are old enough and growing well, transfer the seedlings to the planting medium.
- Prepare plant pots
Plant containers can use special pots/jars for hydroponic plants, or make pots from used plastic bottles by providing an oven wick or absorbent cloth under the pot as a water absorption tool.
- When the plant seeds have started to grow or already have two leaves, the plant can be transplanted into the paralon made. You can use used aquarium filter corks or bowls as a plant substrate.
- After the plants are put into the paralon, the aquarium pump is installed in the pond, where the hose from the aquarium pump is inserted into the paralon so that the water from the fish pond flows into the paralon and returns to the fish pond again.
- If the growth is good, plants can be harvested in a month while tilapia can be harvested within 5-6 months.