Aquaponics - Growing sweet potato in water

The good thing about growing things like potatoes in aquaponics is they grow like crazy.

The problem with growing things like potatoes in aquaponics is they like to make babies in your plumbing, and block the water flow.

Following the seemingly happy tomato in a bucket I seem to have created, I figured I give something else a try along the same lines.

I thought I'd suspend a sweet potato over the fish tank and see what happened.

It looks like this...

If you look carefully, you can just make out the roots entering the water diagonally back from the section of sweet potato, and meeting the water just at the waterline of the IBC.

And that's obviously a leaf starting to grow at least it has a chance.

If it grows properly I'll rig a better hanging system for it, but I'm not even sure what time of year they should be planted, so there is a fair chance this wont work. At least the first time.

I tested the fish to see if they would attack the roots and/or  potatoes, and other than for the first few hours, they seemed content to share their world with the plants.

I originally added a sweet potato that had gone crazy with roots, and I suspect the fish simply thought they were worms, but soon gave up when they ended up tasting funny, not behaving sufficiently worm-like, or whatever else fish decide are important traits of their food.

If it works, the lid will be closed to keep the light out, and the plant will be encouraged to grow through a hole in the lid or something. I'll work it out. The result will be some interesting cover for the fish, extra surface area for the nitrifying bacteria to live on, and very visible sweet potatoes that I can watch grow. I should also be able to keep them from getting into the plumbing just because I'll be able to cut them back if it looks like they are getting too close.

One additional advantage will be that I will be able to harvest them one at a time without pulling the plant and disturbing all the small ones before they are ready to be harvested.

But it's early days.

120 Things in 20 years - Aquaponics - Growing sweet potato in water - Maybe.


  1. How is this working out? Little worried that my sweet potato will clog up the drain in my aquaponics as well. Very curious if this could work.

  2. Not so well.

    That plant died off after a few weeks.

    I'm not sure what time of year they should be planted, and really should look it up and see when to try again.

    The tomatoes planted in the same way have gone insane and I've been picking heavily.

  3. Sweet potatoes are tropical plants and there are dozens of varieties (100's?). They need HEAT and lots of it. The best thing about a sweet potato is that they are very easy to propagate. Slips are good, but clippings are super easy too. ...and besides being very ornamental, the leaves make a great salad and are not bitter.

  4. You can eat the leaves?!!!

    I should have guessed. The green caterpillars seem to enjoy the sweet potato leaves on the plants growing in the compost heap. Green caterpillars are probably a pretty good guide. ... except when they eat tomato leaves.

    I thought sweet potato were part of the nightshade family , and were off limits to we mortals.

    I love learning stuff.


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