How to grow tomatoes in aquaponics

16-09-2020    09:31   |    Homeguides

Aquaponics is a growing method that incorporates fish and a growing container for plants. A tube transports nutrient-rich water from the fish tank to the plant in the growing container. Aquaponic systems are available in several sizes, from a small hobby-enthusiast garden up to a commercial operation. Fish water is particularly ideal for tomatoes, providing the right level of nutrients for growth and fruit production.


Test the water pH to verify it is between 5.8 to 6.8. Adjust the pH up or down to the appropriate level by adding a fish-safe pH stabilizer that is available at garden stores that sell aquaponic supplies or online retailers.


Rinse the aquaponic growing medium with water to remove dust and other particles that may change the water pH. Fill the growing container one-third full with the medium.


Remove the tomato seedlings from their containers, and gently rinse the roots with water to remove the soil. Use caution to prevent root damage or breakage. Plant the seedlings in the aquaponic growing container by spreading out the roots and carefully adding more growing medium to cover at least 2 inches of stem so the plant is secure and upright.


Add red wiggler worms to the growing medium to help control algae, and provide organic matter that is healthy for plant and fish growth. The nutrients from the worms castings are transferred from the growing container to the fish tank through the transfer of water with the tubing system. An 18-gallon growing container can support 1/2 to 1 cup of worms.


Monitor the pH level every day for the first month of growth and then every week thereafter to keep the pH at an appropriate level. Low pH is a sign the phosphorus levels might be low. Make adjustments with a fish-safe stabilizer, as needed.


Monitor the plants for the presence of aphids, a small insect that looks like lice on the tomato plants. Spray the leaves with an organic solution of household vinegar mixed with equal parts water.

Things Needed

·       pH test kit

·       pH stabilizer

·       Aquaponic growing medium

·       Tomato seedlings

·       Red wiggler worms

·       Household vinegar


·       Assemble the aquaponics system, and run water through the tubing to verify everything is working properly before planting tomatoes. Let the system run for at least one week before planting the tomatoes.


·       Use tomato seedlings that have been raised without the use of fertilizers or pesticides that will harm the fish.


·       Change no more than one-third of the water at one time to prevent disrupting the good bacteria and nutrients in the system.


·       University of Kentuck Extension: Recirculating Aquaculture Tank Production Systems: Aquaponics—Integrating Fish and Plant Culture

·       University of Illinois Extension: Aquaponics Combine Fish, Tomatoes, and Ingenuity

·       Colorado State University: Aquaponics



·       Backyard Aquaponics: Information

About the Author

Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.


Source: Homeguides

Photo created by prostooleh - freepik

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