As more people seek a sustainable and eco-friendly way to grow food, aquaponics is gaining popularity. Many aquaponics enthusiasts are looking for ways to learn and experience aquaponics gardening and learn how it works before investing in a larger system. A small aquaponics system is a fun and easy way for a beginner to grow fish and vegetables that do not require much space and low maintenance.
One easy and simple way to learn aquaponics is the mason jar aquaponics system. In this article, you will learn what mason jar aquaponics is, how it works and how to create it in your own home.
What is Mason Jar Aquaponics?
Just like any aquaponics system, a mason jar aquaponics imitates a symbiotic relationship between fish and plants in one recirculating environment. The only difference with other systems is instead of using large fish tanks and multiple grow beds.
A mason jar aquaponics system uses a glass jar that can hold at least a gallon of water and grow only a single plant. A mason jar aquaponics system also uses betta fish instead of common aquaponics fish like tilapia, carp, goldfish, and trout. It is because betta fish are suitable for small jars as they are not schooling fish and prefer to swim alone.
Things to Consider Before Setting Up Your Own Mason Jar Aquaponics
1. The Container
You first need to consider choosing the correct mason jar or container for your setup. There are three rules of thumb when choosing the correct mason jar container.
- Size (volume): Choose a jar that can hold at least 2 to 2.5 gallons of water. Choosing the right size will allow you to harvest more from your plant.
- Space: Keep in mind that your fish should have enough room to turn around and swim inside the jar.
- Opening: The opening at the top of the container should be wide enough for a plant pot.
2. The Fish
When it comes to choosing the perfect fish for the mason jar aquaponics system, the popular choice is the betta fish. This is because the betta fish is one of the easiest fish to raise in a small container. They don’t require a filter like to be alone and beautiful to look at.
3. The Plants
A wide variety of plants, including flowers, can be grown in mason jars. But the recommended plants are small leafy greens and herbs such as spinach, kale, lettuce, basil, coriander, and other small root system plants.
Materials Needed to Make a Mason Jar Aquaponics System
You will need the following to make your own mason jar aquaponics system. Most of these items are available online or at your local pet or garden store.
- Glass jar (Any glass design will do as long as it can hold the size of the fish. For example, a betta fish requires at least 1 gallon or 3.8 liters of water. The opening of the jar should be wide enough to pet the net pot in the rim.)
- Net pot (3 inches)
- Grow medium
- Betta fish
- Plant, clone, or started cube with seed
- Decorative rock/gravel
- Air stones
- Water conditioner
Steps in Building Your Own Mason Jar Aquaponics System
- Prepare the glass jar and carefully place the decorative rocks and air stones at the bottom of the jar and fill it with chlorine-free water. Make sure to leave an inch of air at the top to allow plant roots and betta to take in oxygen.
- Pour the water conditioner that is recommended for the size of the water volume.
- Acclimate and add the fish to the jar.
- Add the plant. If you’re using a plant that was already grown in soil, wait for at least a week for the betta fish waste to build up before transplanting it to the container. But if you’re starting from seeds, you don’t have to wait a week since plant growth will take time, and the fish will already produce enough waste. In transplanting a mature plant from the soil to the net pot, ensure that the roots are cleaned so there are no soil particles left that can serve as a water pollutants. Ensure that the grow media is evenly spread in the net pot so the plants can properly absorb the nutrients.
- After the plant is transplanted, put the net pot at the top of the glass jar and place the mason jar in an area where it can get lots of sunlight.
Maintaining Your Mason Jar Aquaponics System
Maintaining your mason jar aquaponics system is as simple as it gets. Feed your betta fish daily in small amounts in the morning and the evening, and always remove uneaten fish food after feeding. Also, top off the water when needed to submerge the plant roots.
Clean the jar or change the water when needed. If you see that your system has started to develop algae growth, then you can rinse the jar with warm water and wipe it out to remove any algae growth. You can also run water to the roots of your plant to remove algae. After cleaning, refill the jar with clean unchlorinated water, add some conditioner, and let it set before placing the fish and plant back in the jar.
Growing plants through mason jar aquaponics is an easy start for anyone who wants to embark on a soilless planting method. It is a great way to start and learn about aquaponics. To learn more about other methods of aquaponics, click here.