Aquaponics is definitely Stuff Stoners Like. What is aquaponics exactly? Well it’s a closed-loop ecosystem, meaning a completely self-contained environment for growing plants (yes including marijuana plants) and raising fish. It combines traditional aquaponics or raising fish in a tank or pond (basically for food) with hydroponics. Basically creating a self-sustaining set-up. We’re talking a fish tank that cleans itself while feeding your plants at the same time How cool, right?
Aquaponics v Hydroponics
If you smoke weed or have ever considered growing a weed plant you’ve definitely heard the term hydroponics or hydro, right? It simply means cultivating plants using water. However when most marijuana growers or smokers talk about hydroponic setups they immediately think of hash chemical fertilizers. Sure you can create an all organic hydro setup, but aquaponics systems by nature are all organic. The fish and plants form a symbiotic relationship where the fish are providing the plants with a food source, and the plants are acting as a natural filter to clean the water the fish call home. You form a symbiotic relationship by taking care of ’em. Everybody’s stoked.
How do aquaponics systems work?
Does all this growing weed with fish sound fishy? It isn’t, man. Think about how nature works and you’ll get the idea. Basically fish eat. They turn that food into waste. Then naturally occurring nitrifying bacteria, that inhabit every and all surfaces of an aquaponics system converts that ammonia-rich waste into nitrites and then nitrates. That nitrate buildup is why you have to continually change the water in your fish tank. Rather quickly it’ll amount to toxic level and can kill your li’l fishy. In an aquaponics system, however, plants use these nitrates as food. This cycle basically leads to a self cleaning fish tank. Dope, right?
Aquaponics and marijuana
Traditionally aquaponics gardeners raise plants like lettuce, spinach, arugula, basil, mint, watercress, chives and common houseplants. Like marijuana, plants such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other flowering plants need higher level of nutrients. But that hasn’t stopped cannabis cultivators from trying to grow weed using aquaponics systems. We first learned of the system when we interviewed The Rev from Skunk magazine about a book he put out called True Living Organics: The Ultimate Guide to Growing All-Natural Marijuana Indoors. His True Living Organics or TLO methodology is all about being as organic as possible. He even recommends buying your own Worm Farm and practicing vermiculture to create your own worm castings. We tried it and love it, plus we’re saving a ton of money literally making this shit ourselves. Anyhow during the interviewed he talked to us about using water from his fish tank in his garden. So if you’re not ready to start up an aquaponics system just yet, this “FISHY WATER” from an aquarium is a great idea. We do it and have had much success. The Rev says as long as your tank is healthy you can use that fishy water in your marijuana garden. You can also use it as a base for brewing nutrient tea.
At Ed Rosenthal’s place we talked a bit about aquaponics while sitting on his front porch near his massive and beautiful coy pond behind a fence and a row of outdoor-grown hydroponic tomatoes. Rosenthal is know as the Guru of Ganja and is the co-founder of High Times magazine, element #100 on the PERIODIC TABLE OF STUFF STONERS LIKE and one of the world’s best-known authorities on marijuana cultivation. He mentioned that he was interested in the process of auaponics, but said his pond would be too much trouble to convert. Although he’s pondering ways to incorporate aquaponics into his gardening practice.
A few years back we followed a really interesting aquaponics grow on the THC Farmer site. Apparently the grower, named The Preacher, built an aquaponics system from scratch, tried his hand at using it to cultivate cannabis and documented his entire experience in a very interesting ten page long thread. He ran a drip system to four 7 liter buckets containing hydroton balls in a ScrOG style grow. He claimed that you have to keep a close eye on the PH level of the water in your aquaponics system when growing weed. Since hydro-grown cannabis runs in the 5.5-5.8 region and fish enjoy around 6.5-7.5 it’s best to keep a PH of 6.2. He also says that fish react poorly to drastic changes of pH. If you need to drop your PH make sure it’s only a .2 drop each to keep fish happy. If you need to make adjustments to an organic garden make sure to use an organic based PH down like Hydro Organics Earth Juice Natural Down Plant Supplement. We also came across an awesome documentation of a marijuana grow using aquaponics in Spain on the BackYardAquaponics forum. Anyhow this dude grew some amazing looking flowers (shown at top) and kind of put the doubters in their places.
What type of fish are raised in an aquafarm using aquaponics systems? Typically Tilapia are the most popular type of fish raised in an aquaponics system the systems—at least as far as raising fish for food. But we’ve heard of that aquaponics fish can range from betas to goldfish to large mouth bass. Many aquaponics gardeners also raise snails, crayfish and even prawns with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Like the amount of fish you can grow with aquaponics, the amount of plants you can produce using an aquaponics system depends on size.
Want to try aquaponics?
However, like nature, aquaponics is all about balance. There are many factors that go into aquaponics, and it is definitely not an ideal growing technique for unexperienced growers. But don’t let that stop you. You can build an aquaponics system in your backyard or buy a home aquaponics system. These things are basically a mini garden that sit on top of a fish tank. They’re all over Amazon. One that made national attention and a ton of money on kickstarter is the Back to the Roots Water Garden. It’s a cute little 3-gallon aquaponics set up. The ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kit w/ Dual T5 Grow Light looks pretty ideal for vegging weed. That might be cool for the veg side of a perpetual garden setup. Here’s a more desk-top version, Tabletop Hydroponics Fish Tank Planter Aquaponics System. And of course you can buy the Aquaponics Plumbing components separately and build your own aquaponics system.
Why’s aquaponics SSL?
Why is aquaponics stuff stoners like? Well you can use it to grow weed of course but that’s not all. While large-scale commercial aquaponics systems and aquaponics farming is still in its infancy the practice is being used by many smaller operations like urban farms that are growing vegetables, fish, and herbs to sell to local restaurants and at farmers markets. Plus who doesn’t want direct access to fresh and organically grown fruits, vegetables, and fish? Plus we hear many non profits are working to establish sustainable communities in undeveloped countries, as well as urban settings where agriculture was thought to be out of the question. Aquaponics systems are even appearing in classrooms for educational purposes.Educating the youth and creating sustainable farms and food products that allow people to eat healthy and locally and perhaps even grow weed? Now that’s stuff stoners like.
Have you experimented with growing weed using aquaponics or have you created a successful aquaponics system? Let us know in the comments below…