This is copied from the questions I posted on ********************* - just wanting to get a few more opinions on it! Fire away!
Has anybody here had any experience with aquaponics?
Most of us know our fish water can be highly beneficial to the plants in our gardens. Most of us also know plants can be highly beneficial to the quality or our fish tank water, or at least eat some nitrogen and delay the "inevitable" water change. I put inevitable in quotation marks... do read on....
Aquaponics is the combination of agriculture (farming plants) and aquaculture (farming fish). Now cichlids and plants don't always get along together. A refugium or sump might work for plants but this aquaponics system might be a better method of filtering out those nitrates and keeping our water clean.
What the big idea?
Starting on a very small scale we could put up a shelf above our fish tank, place on it a couple of pot plants which have been modified to drain down some piping (that stuff that's dead cheap, widely available and really easy to work with) into your fish tank, this would be the return or drain pipe. As you've probably just figured out you can simply use an aquarium water pump on an electronic timer to feed your plants and let them filter your water.
So, it's dead easy, could be appreciated by your fish, should result in water changes being required less frequently and you finally have a cool way to grow some herbs and spices for your kitchen. Some concerns might be the scale of it and providing lighting for your plants. If you think about it, there's allot of water to filter, you could grow quite a few plants in a moderately stocked cichlid aquarium... I'm sure old Oscar could feed a small plant or two?
For those of you breeding cichlids with multiple tanks (with the same water chemistry), why not run your overflows into your vegetable garden and back inside to your fish room? Use a small pool pump to move water around the garden and or back into the fish room, into a central or a couple reservoirs from which it drains back into your tanks. Save your water bill, save on your vegetables, have the energy and the patience to set it up?
Hope to hear some thoughts on this!