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.