Aquaponics is similar to hydroponics in the way that marijuana grown in an aquaponics system are grown in water. However, with hydroponics you really only have two components – the water, which carries the nutrients, and the plants. When aquaponics are used for growing cannabis, you’re actually creating an entire ecosystem, one in which many different components – fish, plants, waste, and nutrients – all work together to better the health of the entire system, and everything within it.

How does aquaponics work?

Indoor Aquaponics System

Aquaponics works very similarly to hydroponics. The plants sit just above the water with their roots dangling into the water so that they can absorb the nutrients that pass through the water. With aquaponics however, that water below also contains fish, and it’s all contained in an aquarium or other appropriate container.

Aquaponics all starts with the fish. You feed the fish, and they turn that food into waste, which is actually microbes and worms that serve as the perfect nutrients for the cannabis plants. The plants will also absorb microbe nutrients from any uneaten food that is missed by the fish and left in the tank. The plants also filter the water, providing cleaner and healthier water for the fish to live in. Aquaponics is a basic system, but one in which every component is dependent on the other to ensure success.

This setup is not only unique; it’s also much cheaper and lower-maintenance than using a hydroponics system alone. When you first build an aquaponics system, it is likely that you’ll need to add extra nutrients for your plant’s health. However, after a little time, the bacteria and microbes of the system will have built up enough that the entire system should pretty much run itself. Of course, plants will still need maintenance other than simply being given nutrients and the fish will need to be fed regularly. However, you won’t need to invest nearly as much time in an aquaponics system as you would a hydroponic system, or a standard indoor/outdoor grow site.

Aquaponics systems are good for either small or large operations, but you’ll find that even small operations might turn out to be larger than you thought. With aquaponics, plants can be kept much closer together than they typically can, so even small scale systems can provide a plentiful yield.