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What to Plant - Best Plants for Aquaponic Gardening

The most important thing to consider when picking plants to grow aquaponically is the nutritional need of the plants. Different plants have different nutritional needs, and your aquaponic system will need to be more well established to support plants with higher nutrient demands.

First, a quick recap on how aquaponics works:

A standard aquaponic unit works by creating a nitrogen cycle. In this system, water is shared between a fish tank and grow beds. In the fish tank, the waste produced by the fish is high in ammonia content. Pumps carry this waste to the growing beds, where bacteria process it into an extremely rich fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen.

The plants extract the nitrogen from the water, making the water safe for reintroduction to the fish tank. This cycle repeats over and over, with the fish providing the basic nutrition for bacteria, the bacteria providing nutrition for plants, and the plants acting as a bio-filter for the fish. All that’s left for you to do is feed the fish and decide which plants you should grow.

Start With These: These plants have low nutrient needs and grow well in hydroponic/aquaponic settings, making them ideal "starters" for an aquaponic system this is just getting up and running.

  • lettuce
  • pak choi
  • kale
  • swiss chard
  • arugula
  • basil
  • mint
  • watercress
  • chives
  • most common house plants

Graduate to These: These plants grow well in hydroponic/aquaponic settings, but have higher nutrient needs. We recommend only growing these in systems that are established and are working well.

  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • cucumbers
  • beans
  • peas
  • squash
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • cabbage

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