Most Marijuana plants are grown in soil, but there is another way… Agriculture of the future is using nutrients from fish to grow Marijuana.
How can a fish grow Marijuana?
Well, it involves two components that share the same water. One is the fish, and the other being the plants, which are grown symbiotically in an Aquaponic system.
Aquaponics combines the art of Hydroponics (growing plants in water) with Aquaculture (growing fish in tanks). By combining the two, you are essentially creating a mini-ecosystem. With Hydroponics, the plants grow in water but nutrients have to be added. Aquaponics is even better because the fish provide the essential nutrient to grow plants: nitrogen. This is enough to grow most leafy greens, but for cannabis, you will need to add additional nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium (explained below).
Hydroponics + Aquaculture = Aquaponics
The art of Aquaponics has ancient roots. Some say the art dates back as early as the 6th Century. In periods of Chinese history, floating aquaponic systems were used to grow rice and other crops in areas where the land was infertile. These systems are relatively new to Canada, as research of Aquaponics only began in the ’90s.
The idea of using aquaponics for growing Marijuana is all new!
Aquaponic systems are known to be a great method for growing plants fast. The roots are able to take in higher levels of oxygen, absorb more nutrients and therefore they grow quickly. The ideal situation for growing Marijuana!
How it works
Marijuana plants are often suspended on top of a fish tank with only the roots submerged in water. As mentioned above, instead of nutrients only coming from the soil, they are produced by fish. The fish poop and gills are converted by bacteria into useful nutrients for the plants. In an Aquaponic Growing System, the plant roots complete the cycle by filtering and cleaning the water. Then the water is re-circulated back into the fish tank. This is a symbiotic relationship or a “win-win” situation.
Good to know – The plants are not always on top of the fish tank, sometimes they are off to the side. In this case, the water flows from the fish tank to the plants and then gets pumped back to the tank as shown in the figure below.
What kind of fish?
Many different types of fish can be used successfully in an aquaponic system. Generally, you will want a species that is hardy and can tolerate crowding. Some popular options of fish include Tilapia, bluegill, koi, and goldfish, or even shellfish. These fish can thrive in sub-optimal environments which strengthens their survival rate during this process.
The only input you will need here is fish food!
Grow Marijuana with fish
In order to grow Marijuana effectively in an Aquaponic system, it is highly recommended to have a “double-root zone.” As you may have guessed, this means you divide the roots into two zones, an upper and a lower zone.
The bottom “zone” or bottom half will be submerged into water, while the upper zone will have some soil. The zones are divided by burlap and a medium that keeps the soil from getting into the water. This is important because the fish only provide Nitrogen, and your Marijuana plant will require more nutrients to thrive. If you were to add these additional nutrients without creating the “upper zone” the water could become contaminated for the fish.
Good to know – It will take some time to figure out the right balance in your Aquaponic system. You will have to figure out how many fish you need, how much bacteria they produce (which turns into nutrients for your plants), and lastly how many Marijuana plants you will be able to grow.
Aquaponics is the way of the future. It is a sustainable, low-technology, and a highly efficient way to create food (and weed). This is an especially great alternative for areas with infertile land and low resources.
Estimates show that aquaponics systems use up to 90% less water than traditional systems by recirculating water.– Leafly
In short, Aquaponics dramatically reduces the amount of water needed for raising fish, while producing high-nutrient plants at the same time! Seems like a great way to grow Marijuana to us.
Would you try Aquaponics? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Follow @cannalifenet for more articles.
Feature photo designed by Bud Fish