Aquaponics = aquaculture (the raising of edible fish) + hydroponics (growing vegetables and herbs without soil).
Per square foot, it is the most productive form of agriculture on the planet and is an example of a living machine: a self-sufficient assembly of plants and animals that functions like an ecosystem, producing food for people without creating waste products or pollution.
Here’s how the system works:
Ammonia-rich fish waste accumulates in the fish tank, potentially toxic to the fish, making them inedible for human beings. The waste water from the tank is pumped into a flood tank. When enough water has accumulated, the tank releases this nutrient-rich water into grow beds of an assortment of plants. Bacteria, cultured in the grow beds, breaks down the ammonia by a biological process into nitrites and then nitrates, which the plants feed on. The plants help filter the water, which is then aerated and pumped back into the fish tank, for the process to repeat itself.
It’s just a darn good way to grow food! Here’s why “we aquaponic!”
Water Conservation: Aquaponics uses 90% less water than traditional farming. Water and nutrients are recycled in a closed-loop fashion which conserves water. The minimal use of water means Aquaponics is the answer for drought stricken environments. It’s like the oasis in the desert.
we can’t use chemical pesticides of any kind or our fish would die, period.
The huge benefit of aquaponic growing is that it grows 100% chemical free, all natural produce. If any chemical or synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers are used, the fish could die, effectively killing the system. There is no question that aquaponically grown food is chemical free as it cannot be cheated. Even most approved organic pesticides could kill the fish.
For the commercial farmer, aquaponics produces two streams of income, fish and veggies, rather than just one.
It boasts the benefits for both aquaculture and hydroponic operations. The integration of the two eliminates costly practices in either one. One of the biggest costs in an aquaculture operation is filtering the water free of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate accumulations. However when combined with hydroponics, the plants are the sole source of filtration as well as a great source of income. When compared to hydroponics, aquaponics doesn’t require system to purges or dumps or use expensive chemicals that must be constantly replenished to grow the food.