What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics also known as pisciponics has ancient roots and there is debate on where it started. It is a sustainable food production system that combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics.
Water recirculates from a fish tank through a vegetable grow bed. Nutrients from the fish waste feed the plants, and the bacteria filter the water to keep the fish healthy.
The Aquaponics Gardening Community defined the term “aquaponics” in November 2010 as the cultivation of fish and plants together in a constructed, recirculating ecosystem utilizing natural bacterial cycles to convert waste to plant nutrients.
This is an environmentally friendly, natural food-growing method that harnesses the best attributes of aquaculture and hydroponics without the need to discard any water or filtrate or add chemical fertilizers.
Cultivation is a system for agriculture for encouraging the growth of the plants and fish that we wish to consume.
Fish and Plants Together
This is really the heart of the Aquaponics system. The fish and plants working together in their very own ecosystem. Depending on each other to survive, one no more dependent than the other.
Constructed and Recirculating Ecosystem
A system that is built which retains its water and recirculates it rather than letting it drain off somewhere is said to be recirculating. Aquaponics is a constructed recirculating ecosystem that consists of plants, fish, bacteria, and worms that form an efficient community within the environment they are given.
The “aqua” in Aquaponics means “water” and refers to the aquaculture side of the Aquaponics equation. Aquaculture is defined as the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants, especially fish, shellfish, and seaweed, in a natural or controlled marine or fresh water environment.
Aquaponics got its start from aquaculture but it fundamentally departs from it in a very important way—what is a waste product and problem for aquaculture is a valuable resource in Aquaponics.
Hydroponics is a method for cultivating plants without soil, using only water and chemical nutrients. The “ponics” in Aquaponics comes from Hydroponics. The term “hydroponics” means “water working”.
Aquaponics is a hydroponic growing method and it requires no soil and uses 10 % of the water used in traditional farming. The plants roots are soaked in oxygenated, nutrient rich water.
Top 5 Improvements over Hydroponics
Listed below are the top five improvements Aquaponics has over Hydroponics in no particular order.
1. Expensive chemical nutrients are replaced by less expensive fish feed.
2. You never dump your nutrient solution.
3. Maintaining an Aquaponics system is significantly easier.
4. Aquaponics is more productive.
5. Aquaponics is completely organic.
Nitrification, the aerobic conversion of ammonia into nitrates, is one of the most important functions in an Aquaponics systems as it reduces the toxicity of the water for fish, and allows the resulting compounds to be removed by the plants for the nourishment.
Learn the Benefits of Vertical Farming in this video
What fish are grown in Aquaponics?
Tilapia, Bluegill, Crappie, Perch, Catfish, Peruvian Pacu, Oscars, Koi, Goldfish, Freshwater prawns to name a few!
What kind of plants are grown in Aquaponics?
Lettuces, Herbs, Watercress, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Squash, Zucchini, Peppers, Broccoli, Melons, Strawberries and more!
Is Aquaponics the farm of the future?
I believe we are in the early stages of a food production revolution. We are beginning to take better control of our food supply. More people are learning more about the benefits of eating better-than-organic food that can be grown locally all year round whether it be commercially or in your back yard greenhouse. It doesn’t get any better than that folks.
What are the advantages of growing fruits and vegetables in an aquaponics systems vs a traditional farm? Read my post on the advantages of an aquaponics farm.