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Growing Tips

Caring for Your Plants


Since an aquaponic system is mimicking an eco-system, it is important to understand that anything you add to your plants or aquarium will affect the system as a whole. Most aquaponic practitioners use artificial additives sparingly and only as necessary. With practice, it will become much easier to strike a balance between caring for your fish, your plants, and the microbes that make the whole system possible.

Aquaponic systems generally do not need traditional fertilizers, and adding them may endanger your fish. The N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) that are the primary components of fertilizers will be provided by the fish food, via fish waste. However, some nutrients may occasionally require supplementing. Most commonly, plants grown in hydroponics or aquaponics may require more Calcium and Magnesium than is supplied by the water and fish waste. Garden nurseries and hydroponic/aquaponic supply shops will typically carry “CalMag” supplements which can be used to add these nutrients if your plants become deficient.


Even in a healthy system, you may occasionally have issues with pests or diseases. While you’ll want to avoid most pesticides and medications for the health of your system, there are solutions available! Many plant diseases can be remedied by fixing nutrient deficiencies and trimming away diseased parts of the plant. Hand-applied, natural pesticides can help with pest problems; if you have issues with white flies, aphids, spider mites, or similar pests, a solution of Neem oil or insecticidal soap in a small spray bottle can be a very effective treatment. Be careful to get as little as possible in the water, as these solutions, while mild, can still be harmful to your fish. (Note that this rule applies the other way around as well - be careful when treating any fish diseases, since common aquarium medications may be toxic to plants, or may be taken up by the plants making them noxious and inedible.)


Have Fun!


The AquaSprouts Garden is as much about beauty and education as it is about production. The most important rule to remember when planting your Garden is to enjoy it! Don’t be afraid to experiment. There’s a wealth of information out there about aquaponics online, and plenty of people who are excited to share what they’ve learned. And remember: the AquaSprouts Team is dedicated to helping you have a great experience with your Garden through customer support and providing an ongoing source of ideas and answers on our blog, so keep in touch!