Worms are proven to be effective additionals to aquaponics gardens, especially for the media-based type. Just like in conventional soil gardening, their presence is significant to achieving robust well-being for your plants. Worms in aquaponics dwell in the growbed and play a variety of tasks to keep the system healthy, resulting in a productive and profitable crop harvest.
What worms can you use for aquaponics?
There are three types of gardening worms that you can add to your aquaponics grow bed. I listed and described each of them below:
These worms, often known as red wigglers, are recognized to be the finest composter. These small reddish-brown worms are typically located behind a pile of leaves or under a stone, and they exclusively eat rotting stuff. These worms are instrumental in the breakdown of fish waste as well as bugs that may gather at the bottom of your aquaponic media beds.
While red wigglers can be found in damp areas containing organic waste, such as under logs or cattle manure, determining if they are the proper kind for an aquaponics garden can be tricky unless you are an expert at spotting them in nature. To be sure that the red wigglers suit your garden, purchase them from a reputable worm farmer.
Aquaponics growers may find it difficult to distinguish between red wigglers and the red earthworm Lumbricus rubellis. After all, they are both redworms, possessing similar size (although red earthworms are somewhat larger) and have the same habitat and food preferences. On the other hand, red earthworms are well-known for their adaptation and productivity in colder climates.
Because they can harm native forests, red earthworms are considered an invasive species in North America. Because of their tolerance for cold and wet conditions, they can flourish on plant underground residue, which acts as a barrier to tree surface roots.
What aquaponics system best suits worms?
Of all the three primary aquaponics setups, the media-based aquaponics is the best candidate for worm cultivation. The explanation is very simple: In this media-based aquaponics, you utilize a growing medium where the worms can burrow and hide. This gives them a similar environment when they crawl under the soil.
Grow beds for the media-based aquaponics are moist, which the worms prefer because they are slimy creatures. When using traditional growth methods, vermicompost is present in the soil. It happens more quickly in aquaponics. This is because the vermicompost produced by these worms is regularly immersed in oxygen-rich water.
Which worms are best for aquaponics?
Red worms, such as those I profiled above, are the best for aquaponics. These worms perform an outstanding job breaking down sediments that build at the bottom of the grow bed. Red worms enjoy eating decaying or dead plant materials, extra fish food, and other solid wastes on the grow bed, providing excellent fertilizer for your plants in the process.
What benefits do worms bring in aquaponics?
By adding worms to your aquaponics, you are providing your plants with significant aid. Examples of the benefits worms bring are shortlisted below:
Decomposition of fish waste
The fish in your tanks produce ammonia and ammonium. The microorganisms in your growbed convert these into nutrients for your plants. However, the bacteria are ineffective when it comes to solid excrement from your fish.
Your aquaponics worms come into play here. They will consume the solid wastes produced by your fish, as well as extra plant roots and other leftovers that the plant throws away. These are subsequently processed and thrown away as waste, resulting in vermicompost, which is beneficial to your plants.
Red worms, for example, are prolific producers of composting worms. If you add them to your grow bed, they can reproduce swiftly, providing you with far more than you require. If you have an excess of them, you can pick some up and feed them to your fish. Of course, this is assuming you keep carnivorous fish. Redworms are a great source of protein and can even be used in place of fishmeal.
Worms also reduce the number of infections that humans are exposed to. This is accomplished through the release of antimicrobial coelomic fluids. This antibiotic kills practically all infections while also encouraging plant development.
How can you add worms for aquaponics?
Since we have established how worms can improve your plants' well-being, the next question that needs answering is this: How should I add worms in my crops' grow beds? Let me give you some general tips concerning this issue:
- The best time to add worms to your system is daytime. The reason behind this is that worms hate the light, and once they detect it, they will immediately burrow.
- Suppose you are an indoor grower, it is advisable for you to use growing lights to make the worms crawl under and hide.
- The worms should be clean as you introduce them into your growing media. This practice is very important so that the worms do not bring unwanted bacteria to your system.
- Put the worms in a sifter and rinse them with a hose outside to remove the soil, and this will provide you with clean worms to use in your grow bed.
How to take care of worms in aquaponics?
Before you add red worms into your system, be sure they are already cleaned thoroughly and come from a reliable seller. Again, if the worms come to your garden unclean, you are potentially bringing pollutants or bacteria into your system that may lead to problems in the future.
Worms, like plant roots and microorganisms, require oxygen to avoid drowning. Because worms breathe oxygen through their skin, make sure your system has enough aeration for them to survive, grow, and reproduce. Because the flood and drain aquaponics system maintains the grow bed moist and well oxygenated, it provides a perfect habitat for the worms to dwell in.
If you ask me, employing worms in your aquaponics system has little to no drawbacks. Indeed, they are beneficial to your aquaponics system since they increase nutrient quality, eradicate infections, and lessen the need to clean your system frequently.
With so many advantages and more negligible downsides, you should start investing in red worms right away. Including them in your aquaponics system can be one of the most effective ways to ensure a successful and thriving system.