The fish feed you get in the market isn’t always organic. And besides, buying feed means that you also spend quite a bit of money. The thing to note here is that if you already have an aquaponics system, the best way to ensure that you have an abundant supply of cheap aquaponics organic fish food is to grow it yourself!
Organic fish feed is usually plants that are rich in nutrients and proteins and super easy to grow. This is more so in the case of an aquaponics system, as the water is itself rich in nutrients for the plants to grow. Also, these plants do not use up too much of the nutrients, ensuring that your other plants in the system have their share. And the plant in question is Duckweed. Now, let’s take a look at…
What is duckweed?
Duckweed is a water plant. The best part about it is that you do not need too much to begin with. But given the right conditions, it is prolific in growth! You need to place small amounts in water tanks through which the same water of the aquaponics system is circulating. And very soon, the duckweed starts to grow.
The weed takes about 4-6 days to completely cover a tank. As they grow, the individual plants clump together and form a thick carpet like cover over the surface. In fact, the yield is very good with these. When removing them, you just need to sweep across the water to lift up the weed, and let the excess water drain off. Even when you are harvesting, there is always some residue left over. And again in another 4 days to a week, this residue will grow to cover the entire tank again!
So, now we’ll take you through…
Growing your own Duckweed
Here’s what you will need:
- A tank that is a part of your aquaponics system, but not containing any fish.
- Pipes to connect the system
- A handful of duckweed.
- An old plastic bottle with a wide mouth.
Now here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Set up the bottle in the centre of the tank. Place it firmly in position. Drill 2-4 holes on two faces of the bottle.
Step 2: Place a very small amount of duckweed into the water. Like you see here.
Step 3: Ensure that the water pours into the bottle and through it to the tank. The idea is to have aerated water, but without the duckweed being too agitated. This system allows for that perfectly. The water should form bubbles as it pours into the bottle.
Just make sure that the system is exposed to sunlight and temperatures are average and not too cold. And then give it the requisite number of days and watch your duckweed grow! As for the detailed process, check it out in this video from YouTube:
The best part about having duckweed growing is that you have your very own unending aquaponics organic fish food right at home! And what’s more – it is very healthy for your aquaponics fish too!