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Aquaponics is a great way to grow cannabis plants

Mike Wilson
Mike Wilson
cover photo

Growing aquaponics with marijuana is somewhat similar to hydroponics, the main difference being the plant’s nutrient source. Thus, the nutrients are not added in the irrigation but are produced through the detritus of the fish. They are dissolved in the water and pumped to an upper pond where the plants are suspended. The roots absorb these nutrients and purify the water before it is returned to the aquarium. The only thing that you will have to add to your aquaponics cultivation with cannabis is the fish food, part of which you can buy or grow.

The main nutrient produced by fish waste is nitrogen with multiple trace amounts of other minerals. Because of this, aquaponics growing systems are very effective with marijuana. Mainly because nitrogen is essential for plants with green leaves. If you are considering marijuana with many nutritional needs or other types of crops such as vegetables and fruits, you will have to add other types of additive nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium.

This can be remedied with a double-root zone. A double-root zone allows you to divide the roots of your aquaponics marijuana grow into two sections. The bottom half of the pot will be submerged in water, while the top half will be covered with soil. In this way we can add additional nutrients directly to the roots without having to contaminate the water. The two parts can be divided with a burlap, which allows the roots to establish themselves while preventing the soil from coming into contact with water. When we carry out this process we have to avoid oversaturating the soil and keep the water of our aquaponics cultivation with marijuana clean.

How does aquaponic work?

First, the fish, or the animals being raised, have to be regularly fed with the feeds chosen by the grower. It can be any commercial food or feed available at pet stores or aquaculture stores, a homemade mix of organic ingredients, or anything in between. From this food, the fish will produce waste, providing different nutrients to the water, so it is important to take into account what, exactly, will end up passing through the plants that will later be used to medicate. Uneaten food, as well as waste, is quickly converted to ammonia through a process called nitrification.

As a second step, we tell you that the water that contains plant food sponsored by the fish is transported to the plants through any of the connections with which the installation works: pump, pipe, cultivation table or by the roots of the plants. directly submerged in the tank.

how aquaponics works

Third, cannabis plants absorb the nutrients necessary for their development, resulting in filtered water, free of ammonia, at the other end of the closed loop of the system. It is then poured back into the larger tank, to be reused in the same closed loop over and over again.

Although aquaponics is an efficient way to minimize water use, such a grow space may require one or two water changes per season. This depends almost entirely on the source of the initial water supply. For example, if water from a river is used, the excess nutrients are likely to accumulate very quickly, which can be detrimental to fish and plants alike.

Set Up your aquaponic cannabis system

Now we will see how you can build your own aquaponic system for growing cannabis step by step. Yes, you have grown in hydroponics, this will be much easier for you, although if you do not have that experience, do not worry because with this guide you will be able to achieve it quickly and easily.

Set up the tank for fish

The first thing is to configure the water tank where the fish will live, since they need an optimal environment to live, develop and where their lives are not at risk. You must start having the pond for the fish, which you must fill with water and you must let the water dechlorinate. When you let the water rest for a few days in the tank due to a natural issue of the compound, the chlorine will dissipate.

Next, he runs the pond which must be active for at least a month before adding the fish, thus ensuring the appearance of bacteria. The circulation of nitrogen in the pond is vital for the same reason, it is required that the bacteria and microorganisms develop in a good way, since it is their job to produce nitrogen. Therefore, if the pond with water does not have the necessary bacteria, it will not have the nitrogen that the fish need.

set up aquaponics cannabis

Here we clarify that you can add a little ammonia to the pond water to attract the bacteria that go to work on the production of nitrogen. Although, if you want to do an optimal and safe job, we recommend that you purchase one of the kits to produce bacteria in fish ponds at the nearest pet store. Also, it is important that the system is cycled, for that you must check the nitrogen and ammonia levels in the pond. To achieve this, you’ll need high-grade pure ammonia that you can buy at local stores, or you can get kits online that also include ammonia, bacteria, and algae. Initially, the ammonia increases but decreases as the bacteria convert the nitrite to nitrate, but be careful not to use too much, as you can kill all the bacteria. Now, you should start testing the ammonia levels in the water each day, if you have already watered the fish. You should also install a pump to circulate the water from the fish tank to the grow bed and vice versa.

Add the fish in tank

At this point you can add the fish, but do it only when the system is correctly cycled and you must be patient because to have optimal results, you must wait even up to 1 month. It is also good to know what type of fish you can select and here we leave you some of the most suitable recommendations such as fish, gold carp, koi, barramundi, tilapia, ornamental fish such as guppies or mollies, catfish and trout.

fish set up aquaponics cannabis

Create a media (grow) bed for your plants

To sustain the cannabis plant it is necessary to create a media bed where the plants can develop their roots. However, first you must use a net pot with which you are going to support the plants, this is very similar to what is done in hydroponic systems. Next, you must put the pots with the plants inside another container which is inside the tank and receives the water from the tank. Always, it is good to use resistant plastic containers, since they must support the weight of the plants, the pots and also the water.

It is very important to add a layer of clay pebbles to the tray or mesh pot, since they are the culture medium, being able to maintain a good PH and also, conserving the qualities of the water. It is also of importance to put a burlap on the pebbles. Finally, add a layer of pH-balanced soil on top of the burlap. For this reason, the cultivation area where the plants go contains the net pots that also have pebbles, burlap and some soil on top in layers.

how does quaponics cannabis work

With this system you create a dual root zone because one part of the root is aquatic and the other is terrestrial. It highlights the terrestrial zone that helps to build an area full of bacteria which are beneficial for weed plants. This is the reason why a burlap is used, since it helps to separate the two cultivation environments, that is, it divides the land from the water, preventing the roots from suffocating and promoting their optimal development.

Start Growing

This is when you can start growing your cannabis plants with your aquaponics system, although you must also mark the amount of fish you will need according to the number of plants you have. You will learn the above as you become an expert in aquaponics.

Regarding the automated system which is in charge of circulating the water from the pond to the plants and moving the water inside the pond, you just have to ensure that it is working optimally and nothing more, since the same system is in charge of do much of the work.

Advantage of aquaponics for cannabis

Double production:  If we carry out an aquaponics cultivation with cannabis with edible fish, such as tilapia, we will be obtaining two types of production. In this way, while your plants grow, you will be producing a very nutritious fish. Generally, this type of fish takes between 6 and 9 months to reach the right size for consumption, although the speed of growth depends on the temperature of the water.

EcoFriendly: The aquaponics cultivation system with marijuana is truly sustainable. The fish food, specially formulated for aquaponics, guarantees a toxic-free culture and provides the fish with everything they need to grow strong and healthy. It’s just precise food for fish as well as topsoil nutrients for aquaponics. With this you can grow fish and cannabis for your own consumption.

love aquaponics cannabis

Heavy Yields: Aquaponics cultivation with cannabis is an optimal method if we are looking for rapid growth of our crop. By allowing roots to take in high levels of oxygen, they are able to absorb more nutrients and grow faster.

Less water consumption: It is estimated that the aquaponics system uses up to 90% less water than traditional systems.

Disadvantages of aquaponic cannabis growing

Not Cheap: Setting up an aquaponics system won’t be cheap. In fact, it will be more expensive than growing traditionally in soil or hydroponics. If you are looking for a cheap way to grow, forget about this one.

Maintenance of aquariums: Fish need water at a certain temperature. If you are growing outdoor, you will need to maintain the necessary hot and cold values 鈥嬧媡o keep your fish happy and the system running at its best.

aquaponic cannabis growing

Aquatic plant: As with hydroponic systems, there are many aquatic plant species that breed in the moisture of the aquaponics culture. You have to be alert for the growth of unwanted algae that can endanger your plants. For this reason, the system requires a high degree of cleanliness.

Best cannabis strain to aquaponics growing

At this point, we are going to stop so that you know the best varieties for aquaponics cultivation. We take these recommendations, taking hydroponic crops as a reference and considering the best weed genetics for this crop. This is due to the fact that both the hydroponic and aquaponic cultivation systems are made in water and also have great similarities between them. In addition, the genetics that we recommend we do it under the parameters of cannabis varieties that are easy to grow, that deliver great productions and that, in addition, they will not demand more nutrients outside the normal ones, so that you do not suffer with problems in your nutrition.

Gorilla Glue x White Widow

Why this strain? Well, because we all know that Gorilla is synonymous with super heavy yields and White Widow is the genetic stability, with incredible punch and resin that every cannabis breeder seeks. In addition, this is an easy-to-grow genetic that does not require a lot of work and that adapts great to water crops, being very fast in flowering since it only takes 8-9 weeks.

Gorilla x White Widow

In relation to the yields with Gorilla x White Widow you can get up to 17.6 oz/ft2 in indoor crops and about 19 oz/plant if you grow outdoor. In our case, since you are going to use an aquaponic system, you can do it indoor or in a greenhouse, for this reason you should always look for ways to maximize the harvest. In relation to the flavor, this is usually earthy with notes of pine and a spicy aftertaste, while the effect injects you with a state of happiness and stimulates your appetite, to culminate with a great relaxation.

Amnesia x Kali Mist

This cross between two classic weed genetics such as Amnesia x Kali Mist is mostly sativa and for sure, it will brighten your day due to the sensations of happiness it causes, which is combined with that extra energy you need to get through the day well.  Although its 10-11 week flowering time may seem a bit long to you, you will be rewarded with an incredible yield of 1.82 oz/ft2 of buds indoor and up to 15 oz/plant if grown outdoor.

Amnesia x Kali Mist
Amnesia x Kali Mist

We recommend this genetics for crops with an aquaponics system because, in hydroponic crops, it adapts very well and the tendency is that growers manage to harvest monstrous plants with dense buds full of trichomes. Also, the aroma and flavor of Amnesia x Kali Mist is a special case, since it tends to develop tastes of citric notes, with herbal touches and a sweet background, which rise up your throat and stay in your mouth for a long time weather.

Purple Gelato Lemon Bean

Purple Gelato Lemon Bean is a cannabis variety that takes a standard time to flower as it only needs 8-10 weeks to harvest. As if that were not enough, during this time you will get up to 1.63 oz/ft2 of buds for indoor crops like the one you can do with your aquaponics system and you will get up to 26 oz/plant if you grow outdoors, that is, it is a genetics that deliver super heavy yields

Purple Gelato Lemon Bean

As Purple Gelato Lemon Bean is a hybrid genetics you can use LST or scrog techniques, although if you use the aquaponic system you can apply it but you must do it very carefully. In an optimal crop, you are obviously going to get those buds you want with citrus flavors that are intermingled with floral essences and sweet aftertastes. In addition, you get flowers that have THC levels of 20%-22% and that cause effects that leave you euphoric, stimulate your creativity and end with a soft relaxation that is very bearable and super social.

Strains featured in this article:

Mike Wilson

Mike Wilson is a passionate cannabis cultivator with over a decade of experience in the California cannabis industry. Born and raised in the heart of the West Coast, Mike has dedicated his life to honing his skills as a cultivator, becoming a true master of the plant. His love for cannabis and profound knowledge of its cultivation have led him to explore every facet of this captivating plant, from classic strains to the latest trends in cultivation and advanced techniques.

With a unique perspective on cannabis culture and a focus on sustainability and quality, Mike generously shares his valuable tips and tricks on this platform. Through his posts, he will guide you on the exciting journey of cannabis cultivation, providing expert insights and practical experiences to help you achieve success in your own cultivation endeavors. Join Mike on his journey through the world of cannabis and discover how to cultivate responsibly and achieve exceptional harvests. Become part of his community and unlock the secrets of a true cannabis master!

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