Aquaponics has many benefits including: reusable water, energy efficiency, local food production and educational opportunities.
Water is recirculated using a method involving biological filtration. Low water usage produces multiple benefits. For example, applications in areas where farming would normally not be possible. It reduces overall cost by increasing energy savings.
Local Food Production:
Family and commercial farms provide organic vegetables and fish daily, enhancing the local economy and promoting healthy eating.
Aquaponics can be run on little electricity or with an alternative energy sources such as solar panels or bio-gas.
Aquaponics can be used as a hands-on model for the study of integrated bio-systems in high school and college biology classes. It also shares many practical applications at the elementary and junior high school levels, including math and science.
How it Works
Aquaponics is the combination of growing plants and fish symbioticly in a recirculating system. Aquaponics is completely different than conventional fish farms. A major problem within conventional fish farming is the ease in which disease spread throughout the fish poulation and the use of antibiotics to control disease. The antibiotics and hormones used by many farms are passed on to people when they eat the fish.
In an aquaponic system fish grow quickly and stay healthy (as long as they are put in there that way). One of several factors that limit the spread fish disease are the high levels of dissolved oxygen present in aquaponic systems. Aquaponic water is always moving throughout the system making it difficult for pathogens take hold. An established aquaponics system contains a lot of beneficial bacteria. This also makes it hard for pathogens to establish they are simply out competed by the good guys!
Here are the basics:
Aquaponics is a symbiotic method of raising fish and vegetables. The fish waste provides food for the growing plants. The plants naturally filter waste in the water. The beneficial bacteria (also called microbes) play a critical role in the process. They exist on the moist surfaces of the aquaponics system. Their job is to convert the ammonia from the fish waste that would normally be toxic to the fish and convert it first into nitrites and then into nitrates. The nitrates are harmless to the fish and provide excellent food for the plants.
Types of Fish
Many types of fish have been used successfully in aquaponic systems. The most commonly used fish in The United States are Tilapia, Catfish, Perch, Trout, Sunfish, Goldfish and Koi. In Australia, Barramundi, Jade Perch, Silver Perch and Murrary Cod have all become successful species.
Aquaponics in your Greenhouse, Home or Business
With todays aquaponics technology it is possible and beneficial to provide your household with sustainable food from both fish and plants.