he most simple definition of Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish.
The third participants are microbes (nitrifying bacteria). These bacteria convert ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, and then into nitrates. Nitrates are the form of nitrogen that plants can uptake and use to grow. Solid fish waste is turned into vermicompost that also acts as food for the plants.
In combining both hydroponic and aquaculture systems, aquaponics capitalizes on their benefits, and eliminates the drawbacks of each.
The problems with traditional soil-based gardening
- Pesticide and artificial nutrient usage
- Weeds, pests, and soil-borne insects
- The amount of water required
- The heavy digging, the bending, the back strain
- Knowledge required to know when to water, when and how to fertilize, and what is the composition of the soil
- Location – traditional farms are often located thousands of miles from where the food is consumed
How Aquaponics changes the game
- Waist-high aquaponic gardening eliminates weeds, back strain, and small animal access to your garden.
- Aquaponics relies on the recycling of nutrient-rich water continuously. In aquaponics there is no toxic run-off from either hydroponics or aquaculture.
- Aquaponics uses only 1/10th of the water of soil-based gardening, and even less water than hydroponics or recirculating aquaculture.
- No harmful petro chemicals, pesticides or herbicides can be used. It’s a natural eco system!
- Gardening chores are cut down dramatically or eliminated. The aquaponics grower is able to focus on the enjoyable tasks of feeding the fish and tending to and harvesting the plants.
- Aquaponic systems can be put anywhere, use them outside, in a greenhouse, in your basement, or in your living room! By using grow-lighting, and space can become a productive garden.
- Aquaponic systems are scaleable!