Aquaponics systems commonly involve raising freshwater fish because they can tolerate diverse water temperatures and pH…
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When it comes to cultivating your crops, aquaponics offers plenty of system design options perfect for anyone with limited space. One, in particular, is vertical aquaponics, which lets you grow crops upwards. If you want to maximize your backyard for fresh produce, vertical aquaponics is the answer. What are the best vertical aquaponics systems?
The best vertical aquaponics systems will eliminate the need for floor space. There are different designs to suit your needs, and regardless, you can set up your own with the following methods:
- Ready-made vertical aquaponics kit
This article will discuss the benefits of a vertical system and which method you should choose.
Benefits Of Vertical Aquaponics
Vertical aquaponics systems can be easily set up regardless of the goals of production. Whether you want a large outdoor system or a small one kept indoors, vertical aquaponics is highly flexible and adaptable.
Below is a list of other advantages of growing your aquaponics crops vertically:
- More space for plants since you’re stacking them in vertical rows
- Vertical gardening also means mounting your grow channels to maximize wall space
- Maintains good gardening posture since you don’t have to bend down to tend to the crops
- When done indoors, you can have a portable system that can easily be moved about
- It is available in different designs, and you can have it customized according to your preferences.
What Plants And Fish Are Ideal For Vertical Aquaponics?
Vertical aquaponics mainly uses nutrient film technique, in which only a trickle of the nutrient-rich water touches the roots. In addition, the system uses PVC pipes as the grow channels. In our previous article, we discussed in detail the best plants for NFT aquaponics, which will also work for vertical setups.
In that case, your vertical aquaponics system is best for the following crops:
- Leafy or salad greens (lettuce, spinach)
- Cruciferous vegetables (kale, mustard greens)
- Certain herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil)
- Perennials (strawberries, pansies)
For indoor setups, the most commonly grown plants are salad greens and herbs. This combination of crops will be an easy source of healthy food. And the best part is, the vertical system doesn’t take up space, making it popular in apartments or urban dwelling.
As for fish, it’s worth noting that any fish can be used in vertical aquaponics. If you have a smaller system, goldfish will suffice. If you have a larger one outdoors, tilapia will be an excellent choice, if your climate is conducive to their growth and survival.
Tilapia are a common choice for both beginners and experts because they are readily available, inexpensive, and extremely hardy. For more information on tilapia aquaponics, click here.
What Is The Best Vertical Aquaponics System
The term “best” will depend on your preferences and resources, but generally, you can have your vertical system from scratch or pre-made. With one that’s made from scratch, you get to choose your materials and customize the size according to your available space.
If you’re fond of DIY projects, this could be an ideal project to work on. Meanwhile, if you want less hassle or you simply don’t want to spend time and effort working on a project, then an aquaponics kit sold online will be the best option.
Some ideas of vertical aquaponics that can be made on your own or found online include:
- Vertical grow towers supported by columns or frames made of either wood or steel
- Mounted grow channels
- Zigzag NFT grow channels
DIY Vertical Systems
For less than $100, you can set up your own vertical aquaponics system. You will usually need PVC tubing as the channels and some wooden frames to support them. All materials involved in making a vertical aquaponics system can be purchased from your local hardware store, pet stores, and online shops.
Before building your system from scratch, make sure to do your research and plan out carefully. If you want ideas or design plans, you can check out the book below.
Several aquaponics kits and other add-ons are now readily available online. They come in different lengths and designs, depending on how much you want to grow. As mentioned, using this method means less time spent building a vertical growing system. That is because you only need to read the manual to set up these pre-built systems.
One big advantage of choosing this method is that it spares you the trouble of getting materials, measuring, cutting, and putting them together. It might, however, cost more than building one from scratch.
Conclusion: Best Vertical Aquaponics Systems
Vertical aquaponics may be the perfect solution to growing crops and raising fish while maximizing the available space you have. The most popular method of vertical aquaponics farming is through the use of NFT grow towers.
These towers can be supported with columns or frames or mounted on walls to add decor to your space. You can do DIY growing systems or buy pre-made ones with their accessories. Your choice of the best vertical aquaponic system will depend on the availability of your time and resources.
If you enjoy doing things on your own, DIY projects may be the option for you. On the other hand, if you’re willing to pay extra just to eliminate the trouble of building from scratch, then buying pre-made materials will be your best bet.