Why Invest in an Aquaponic System for Growing Cannabis?
Aquaponics is a complex cultivation method that may be intimidating for first-time growers, however, it has distinct benefits. Not only does it cut down on water use, requiring 90% less than soil cultivation does, it’s also a symbiotic system. This means that farmers can have a source of fish, a source of fertilizer, and a harvest of quality cannabis.
Nature makes use of aquaponics through river and lake ecosystems every moment of the day. Fish excrete ammonia into the water, which is then converted to nitrites, which become nitrates, and are then absorbed by the plants with roots in the water.
This is the same process that lily pads use to grow above lakes. In a closed-circuit aquaponic grow operation it allows cannabis, which is a nutrient hungry plant, to cleanse water by drawing out nitrates. At the same time, this supplies the cannabis with a reoccurring source of nutrients.
Due to this process cultivators save money not only on soil, not only on nutrients, but on labor as well. Although there are issues with limited nitrogen exposure for the fish, and sometimes crops requiring different chambers for their vegetative and flowering stages, it’s a pretty resilient system. Once it’s set up correctly it’s most self-sustaining and self-regulating.
Crops grown through aquaponic methods also tend to produce rich, dense buds that allow cultivators to make more out of square-footage than soil methods. Plants require less space to create denser harvests.
Is it too difficult for an uninitiated person to break into?
With knowledge of marine life, cultivating plants, and basic assembly, aquaponic systems shouldn’t be too difficult to set up for those with patience. As long as a healthy water-flow can be established between separate parts of a closed-loop system, then cultivators will find this method to be one of the least demanding grow methods.
Tilapia, such as the fish used by Seth Ingenthrone are a particularly hearty fish. His fish have been through food shortages, ph spikes and drops, and many other hazards. He has not lost a single one and continues to use them in his hydroponic grow. There are other marine life which one can use, such as shrimp, however it’s recommended to use resilient species for those who are unfamiliar with nurturing aquatic life.
Those looking to get into aquaponics shouldn’t be too afraid. As long as they are responsible for the construction of their system, wary of the health of their fish, and wary of the health of their plants, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Anyone with cultivation experience looking for a challenge that could save them a large amount of money on labor, water, soil, and nutrients should look into aquaponics as a potential method for their next build.
How Can Aquaponics Be Maximized?
Green Relief can get over a pound of cannabis per square foot in their aquaponic facility. They also use 40% of the power other facilities use while requiring none of the fertilizer. The system they have is completely scalable and can be increased in size to produce any sized harvest. This is a very commercially viable business model.
The tilapia from Green Relief get donated to a homeless shelter, and they have fed over 35,000 people with their fish. Staff at Green Relief believe that aquaponics is the agriculture of the future as it cuts down on water needed to grow crops. The government has already begun discussing with them to work towards attaining food sovereignty.
Maximizing cultivation is about more than just profits. The more that farming develops the more food and medicine can be plentiful. Becoming a part of the aquaponic movement helps create a sustainable future where food cultivation and inexpensive living become the norm.
Popularization and Adoption of Aquaponic Cultivation Methods In Mainstream Culture
Since the 1990s commercially available products grown through aquaponics have been available on the market such as lettuce and other greens. It has not received as much media attention as it deserves, however, as most Americans are unfamiliar with the process.
In an age of far fetched environmental ideals and solutions, aquaponics allows countries to progress on one of the largest issues: water preservation. While several states in the deserts of America run through water continuously and terribly, most of this is due to unsustainable practices such as unnecessary lawns, wasteful farming methods, and public mismanagement of resources.
If aquaponics was popularized then at least some of the water supply could be used more efficiently. Environmentalists would be wise to champion causes such as these which promote sustainable, economically viable, and ethical solutions to our problems.
This system also does cut out labor requirements, and so fewer workers are needed in agricultural operations. Perhaps this can contribute to a healthier economy and a better environment for workers to make their living.
Potential Struggles When Growing With Aquaponic Systems
The most difficult step while running an aquaponic system is setting it up. The mechanics behind the method need to be fully understood, all the equipment must be set up correctly, and the timing needs to be perfect. If rushed into then cultivators can kill their crops or their fish. Instead, a set up should be completed, and a trial with a cheaper crop wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Cannabis is a crop that requires a large amount of nutrients to grow. To achieve this, cultivators need to create a mature bacterial colony on their bio-filter. Getting bacterial balance to the correct state can take up to six months which is why experience is recommended for this cultivation method. Too many nutrients can kill the fish, which is why having a separate chamber for the budding of the phase is ideal.
Some add worms that help process the nutrients of the fish while adding additional nutrients through their castings. Others use add nutrients and use a barrier between to keep from chemical residue from draining back into the plants. This method has not been completely developed yet, and innovations can always be made. The more cultivators who work with aquaponic systems the quicker the technology will develop to its full potential.