Many talk about hydroponics when naming different methods for growing cannabis. However, it seems as if aquaponics isn’t spoken of nearly as much, although it serves as a great method for growing many different plants- including cannabis. Aquaponics consists of the combination of hydroponics with aquaculture. Hydroponics is the use of water for cultivation of plants, while aquaculture is the keeping of fish, or other aquatic (water) creatures in tanks, no matter the size of the tank(s). Aquaponics systems are formed and built in a broad range of sizes, from a tiny indoor single fish tank, to a huge fish farm. We will talk about aquaponics on a much smaller scale, as an example here.
The aquaponics system works by acting as an eco-friendly symbiotic relationship. A symbiotic relationship is when two or more organisms live and thrive together while mutually benefiting one another. In aquaponics, the water serves as a medium for the plant to grow in, just as the hydroponics system does. However, it is more complex, and subjectively, much more interesting than hydroponics.
The fish (or other aquatic animal) contributes waste to the water that serves as a medium for the plant’s growth. This happens from uneaten food, feces, etc., and although natural, this seems like it would lead to an unsanitary environment. However, it proves to be greatly beneficial to the entire system. This waste provides nutrients to the plants, acting as the plant’s fertilizer. In return, the plants convert certain chemicals, such as ammonia, into nitrogen, which is an excellent and necessary ingredient in fertilizer for cannabis, and especially crucial during the vegetative stage of growth. This process of conversion is called nitrification. The plant converts carbon dioxide into oxygen, and since water serves as the growing medium in this system, the fish is provided with the oxygen it needs to live by this. Simultaneously, the water is cleaned throughout the process, making aquaponics a totally self-sustaining system. It acts as a cycle, and requires minimum to absolutely no upkeep to maintain an aquaponics system.
There are many advantages to using the aquaponics system to grow cannabis. First, aquaponics takes up much less space than grows that use soil as the medium. Also, plants grow quicker, larger, and denser, which is most desirable for cannabis growing enthusiasts. There is a reduced cost once the system is established, considering fertilizer is provided from the fish, naturally, through processes such as nitrification, for instance. Much less water is used in this process, since the water is cycled through and cleaned by the system itself, which also saves on money. Aquaponics also, in general, is a system with considerably less pest problems, because who enjoys fungus gnats, or stubborn weeds? Last, but not least, it is an extremely easy system to build, and you can do so with a simple, small Betta or Goldfish.
Overall, there are many benefits and advantages to using the aquaponics system to grow cannabis. Not only is it interesting to have a pet along with your plants, but this resource-saving, self-sufficient system is one that can be mastered by almost anyone.