Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (growing fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). Aquaponics uses these two in a symbiotic combination in which plants are fed the aquatic animals’ discharge or waste and the plants feed the fish with recycled clean water.
Aquaponics works on microbiological processes to foster the relationship between plants and fish. Above is a general picture that shows the science behind the relationship between the fish and plants thriving together. Ammonia is released by the fish waste, while high levels of ammonia would normally kill fish in an Aquaponics system this ammonia is converted into nitrites and then into nitrates by naturally occurring bacteria that develops in the Aquaponics system. The bacteria that occurs naturally in this system is good bacteria and necessary for an Aquaponics system. The nitrates that results from this conversion process are then absorbed by the plants, which provides all the necessary nutrients for the plant to grow. The result of this natural process is clean water that provides a safe environment for the fish.
Aquaponics system uses only 1/10th of the water used by a soil based farming. The water from the fish tank is pumped to the grow bed using a submersible water pump. The bell siphon fitted in the grow bed automatically flushed out the water back to the fish tank once it reaches a certain level in the grow bed. This whole cycle repeats at a regular interval depending on the size and volume of your grow bed and fish tank. A typical Aquaponics system design looks like the one below.
Below problems from traditional growing method are minimized in Aquaponics system.
Pesticide and artificial nutrient usage
Pests, Weeds and insects
The amount of water required
The heavy digging, the bending and the back strain
Knowledge required on water, fertilizers to be used, and composition of the soil
Benefits of Aquaponics System:
Uses 1/10th of the water to grow more food per acre compared to traditional agriculture
Natural fertilizer source from fish waste
Efficient, sustainable and highly productive system
100% Organic produce free of pesticides
Fresh tasty fish with no hormones or antibiotics
No soil, no soil borne diseases
Can be setup in indoor and outdoor, anywhere !
Aquaponics requires fair amount of knowledge in science, water pH, fish and plants nutrients. Once the system is set up properly, one will be able to produce 2 to 3 times the yield from traditional farming not only plants but fresh organic fish too for consumption.