What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is a combination of Aquaculture (raising of fish) and Hydroponics (growing plants in water).
However, when these two practices are combined in Aquaponics, the waste stream is eliminated and a sustainable living ecosystem is created for producing food. These systems mimic the processes in nature by recycling the waste and turning it into food. The fish waste provides organic fertilizer for the growing plants and the plants naturally filter the water in which the fish live. The most critical factor in every Aquaponics system are the beneficial bacteria. They help to complete the Nitrogen cycle, which converts the waste from the fish into food for the plants.
At the same time, composting red wiggler worms can help to convert the solid waste and decaying plant matter in your aquaponic system into vermicompost. The worms also help to balance the systems chemistry, and can provide a tasty snack to the fish.
What are the Benefits of Aquaponics?
Besides closing the waste streams of two industrialized agricultural practices:
Water use reduction – Aquaponics uses 90% less water than traditional outdoor gardens (If a traditional garden uses 100 gallons of water per week, then an equivalent aquaponics garden would only need the addition of 10 gallons) This is because aquaponics is a closed loop system, where the water is recycled continuously. The only loss is through evaporation and plant transpiration
No fertilizer requirements – All of the organic nutrients are produced by the fish. In one case study, the fish waste fertilizer was tested at NPK 9-6-2, a perfect blend for vegetative green plant growth.
All Organic food – Your fish can be grown at home so you can be sure there are no heavy metals or toxins in the fish you eat. These systems are maintained without any chemical pesticides or fertilizers and so you can be certain that your vegetables are clean and organic!
Year Round Production – These systems can be set up indoors or outdoors to suit your needs for year-round vegetables and fish. Indoor systems have the added benefit of filtering the air in your house, to provide clean air, water, and food.
Aesthetic Home Grown enjoyment – Besides all of the edible benefits, you get the aesthetic enjoyment of pet fish, running water, and a living system that gives back exponentially for what you put in.