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Best Plants For Mason Jar Aquaponics (Easy Guide)

The Best Plants For Mason Jar Aquaponics

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With the rising popularity of aquaponics, many enthusiasts are building a small mason jar unit as an introduction to the system. Creating this mini aquaponics set-up is an effective way to educate children and even adults on how to take care of fish and plants as well as to understand their symbiotic relationship. Aside from its educational benefits, it can also serve as a gift or a home ornament since they require little maintenance. For you to get started, you must know the best plants for mason jar aquaponics to ensure that you won’t choose one that is inappropriate for the size of your system.

Unlike backyard systems, mason jar aquaponics is relatively small, so there are instances where it cannot sustain large vegetables and fruits. Here are some of the best plants for mason jars aquaponics which is mostly leafy greens and herbs:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Lettuce 
  • Basil 
  • Coriander

In this article, we will be discussing how to grow plants in mason jar aquaponics and some of the ideal herbs and vegetables that works best in this small system.

What is mason jar aquaponics?

What is mason jar aquaponics

Just like small and commercial scale aquaponics, mason jar aquaponics mimics a symbiotic ecosystem through the presence of the plant and fish. The only significant difference is that instead of large fish tanks and multiple grow beds, mason jar aquaponics uses a glass jar that can hold at least one gallon of water and only a single plant.

It is also necessary to note that mason jar aquaponics uses betta fish instead of tilapia, carp, and catfish which are known to grow several inches and are commonly used in small scale systems. These betta fish are suitable in little jars as they are not schooling fish, and they prefer to swim alone.

How to grow plants in Mason jar aquaponics

In growing plants aquaponically in a mason jar, you would need a large glass jar that will serve as your fish habitat, net pots, grow medium, betta fish, plant seedling, decorative rock/gravel, air stones, and water conditioner. After completing all these items that are mostly available in Amazon and local aquaponics stores, the following procedures should be followed in setting up the system:

  1. Prepare the glass jar by ensuring that it is thoroughly cleaned. Any glass design will do as long as it can hold the size of the fish. For instance, a single betta fish usually requires 1 gallon or 3.8 litres of water. Another thing to be considered is the opening of the jar. It should be wide enough so the net pot/s can fit in the rim.
  2. Place the decorative rock or gravel at the bottom of the jar, including the air stones.
  3. Fill the jar with purified water but make sure to leave an inch of air at the top. Also, pour the water conditioner that is equal to the water volume.
  4. If the fish came from stores like Petco, you should let them acclimate first before putting it in the jar.
  5. After the mason jar is put in order, it is best to wait a week for the betta fish waste to build up before putting the plant since it will be the source of its nutrients. This is suggested if the plant was already grown in soil and will only be transferred to the container. If you are starting from seeds, you won’t have to wait a week since the plant growth will take time and the fish would already be able to produce enough nitrogen through its waste.
  6. In transferring the mature plant from soil to the net pot, make sure that its roots are well cleaned so there are no soil particles that can serve as a water pollutant. You also have to be sure that the grow media is evenly spread in the net pot for the plant to absorb more nutrients and moisture. This goes the same if you are starting with seeds.
  7. After setting up the plant, put the net pots at the top of the glass jar and place it in an area where it can get natural sunlight.

What are the best plants for mason jar aquaponics

Selecting the plant to grow in mason jar aquaponics is considered as the fun part of setting up the whole system. A wide variety of plants, including flowers can be grown in mason jars; however, most available literature on this type of aquaponics suggests that leafy green vegetables and herbs are the best options. Below is a list of some of the most common plants that grow well in mason jar aquaponics along with the general suggested conditions to grow them. Researching about the varieties of each plant and the parameters that best work for them is still recommended for optimal growth.

Spinach

Spinach in mason jar aquaponics

Spinach is a dark leafy vegetable that is considered a superfood. It contains a lot of vitamins that help maintain healthy skin, hair, and bone. It is relatively easy to grow, especially in mild weather conditions, and it yields a lot of leaves in a short period of time.

This plant also has low nutrient requirements, so it is ideal for cultivating in mason jar aquaponics. A single fish can produce enough waste to supply its needed nitrogen, and it would still grow loaded with nutrients.

Here are the best conditions for growing spinach in mason jar aquaponics:

Temperature Sunlight requirement pH requirement Harvest
45° to 75°F 10- 14 hours in full sun or partial shade

Also grows through artificial grow lights

6.0 to 7.0 30 to 45 days

Kale

Kale in mason jar aquaponics

Kale is a form of cabbage which is high in vitamin K, C, and calcium. It is also an antioxidant, and it contains sulforaphane which is a chemical that helps prevent cancer according to Palo Verde Cancer Specialists.

Just like the spinach, kale is not a nutrient demanding plant, so it fits well in mason jar aquaponics. It also matches almost every fish type and grows even on artificial light. Kale prefers cooler temperature, and it tastes bitter when exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period. This plant can be kept indoors, and it will not impede its growth.

Here are the best conditions for growing kale in mason jar aquaponics:

Temperature Sunlight requirement pH requirement Harvest
55° to 70°F 6 hours in partial shade

Also grows through artificial grow lights

6.0 to 7.5 55 days

Lettuce

Lettuce in mason jar aquaponics

Among the best plants for mason jar aquaponics is the lettuce. Whether you are planning to harvest its leaves to include in your salad or just simply display it inside your home, lettuce, without a doubt, is one of the easiest plants to grow. 

Lettuce has high water content, and it is also loaded with minerals such as zinc, potassium, and magnesium, among others. It also matures rapidly so you can expect that it is fully grown in 40 days.

Here are the best conditions for growing lettuce in mason jar aquaponics:

Temperature Sunlight requirement pH requirement Harvest
60° to 75°F 18 hours of direct sunlight

Also grows through artificial grow lights

6.0 to 6.2 40 days

Basil

Basil in mason jar aquaponics

Basil is an herb that is mostly used in Italian cooking. It belongs to the mint family and has a fragrant smell with a peppery taste. According to Medical News Today, basil has a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help the body to become healthier.

Aside from the nutrients it gives, it is also the choice of many because it is fairly easy to grow, and it is tagged as a high-value crop. It is suitable for mason jar aquaponics since it thrives in a wide ph range and its root systems are not complex and don’t spread out, allowing better nutrient cycling.

Here are the best conditions for growing basil in mason jar aquaponics:

Temperature Sunlight requirement pH requirement Harvest
64° to 86°C 6 to 8 hours of full sunlight

Also grows through artificial grow lights

5.1 to 8.5 50 to 60 days

Coriander

Coriander in mason jar aquaponics

The coriander is a member of the parsley family and is considered as one of the world’s oldest herb. To clarify, coriander and cilantro are parts of the same plant. Cilantro pertains to the leaves, and the seeds are called coriander. 

Growing this plant in your mason jar aquaponics is highly beneficial. According to a study, coriander can reduce blood pressure because its extract is diuretic. It is also useful in lessening abdominal pain and bloating. You won’t find it hard to access these benefits since this plant is quite easy to grow and very low maintenance. 

Here are the best conditions for growing coriander in mason jar aquaponics:

Temperature Sunlight requirement pH requirement Harvest
65° to 70°F 4 to 6 hours of sunlight

Also grows through artificial grow lights

6.2 to 6.8 3 months

Conclusion

More and more people are embarking in soilless planting through mason jar aquaponics. This type of growing plants has been highly educational, even though it is low maintenance.

The best plants for mason jar aquaponics are mostly leafy vegetables and herbs such as spinach, kale, lettuce, basil, coriander, and mint. However, if you have other plants in mind that you would like to cultivate, you may do so, but intensive research is necessary to ensure that it will thrive in your system.

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Campbells

The Campbells love finding sustainable and fun ways to increase their independence from traditional brick and motor supermarkets. Aquaponics provides a full lifecycle food source for families and a great hobby. #aquaponicslifestyle

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