Homepage 2019 » Forums » Water Sustainability » Aquaponics question

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    So here is my question about aquaponics – How do you start seeds in an aquaponics system? I see all the pics with plants growing in them but how do you get them started without having the seeds wash away or get moldy and rotten?



    There’s a few different ways. I’ve successfully started seed as normal either under a grow light or directly in the soil and then pulled them, rinsed the roots and stuck them in the clay balls on a fill and flush setup. I even do this with volunteer tomato plants that spout in my compost heap. Or you can start them in a rock wool cubes as they do in Hydroponics. Or in the case of large seeds such as wheat grass, you can just layer them on top of the ever wet porous clay balls or other porous rocks and let them sprout right from there. I do this with a small goldfish aquarium I have utilizing an airlift tube to the grow area that just runs back down to the goldfish tank. I’m sure there are other ways as well. Experiment and have fun!



    Hi Rob — there are many ways, as Mike mentioned. However, most aquaponic practitioners would avoid starting any seeds in soil media due to the cross-contamination of bacteria that would ensue. Also, roots grow differently (as in at a different rate and even shape) in soil than in water. So things started in aquaponic systems will usually struggle if transferred into a soil environment, so that isn’t recommended either 🙂 Are you doing DWR or media based? Either way, what are you using as your growing media? If coconut, you can simply direct seed into the coconut coir in the net cup. If hydroton/clay balls/cinder then it can be hard to get the right moisture levels for successful germination. So in that case, if you want to direct seed (and not transplant) then keep a damp cloth over the tray until you have germination. Or, another option is that we sometimes start seeds in vermiculite, worm castings or perlite and then transplant as soon as we have true leaves emerge. Does that help?

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