What is Aquaponics?
The purpose of this thread is to give a basic overview of what aquaponics is for newcomers.
Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (raising plants without soil). It is a very advantageous fro a variety of reasons, and is the most water and land efficient way to produce food ever utilized by mankind.
In aquaculture, the biggest challenge is getting rid of fish waste and supplying enough fresh water to the fish. In a typical flow through system, water is diverted from a stream to a concrete channel, then back to the stream. This supplies the fish with constant fresh water, but the discharge is highly concentrated and will impact the stream's ability to support native life. Also there is no bio-security, the fish are exposed to any pathogens or harmful chemicals in the water. It is also basically impossible to use medications or affect the water parameters in any way.
In hydroponics, the biggest challenge is feeding the plants. Liquid fertilizers must be added consistently to the water supply. The amount of fertilizer must be regularly monitored and adjusted to have any hope of success. These fertilizers are typically made from non-renewable mined minerals, and are fairly expensive. While many large scale commercial hydroponic farms exist today, there is serious doubt that this technology a sustainable and reliable way to feed the world in the coming years.
Aquaponics is taking two difficult and complex disciplines, and combining them in a way that cancels out the negatives, and creates a self-balancing symbiotic loop.
In essence, you feed the fish, the fish feed the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish.
Any type of hydroponic system can be adapted to use fish waste. The most commonly used are fluidized media beds, floating raft systems, and nutrient film technique systems.
My interest in aquaponics is a hobby, with the goal to produce organic veggies and tilapia for a household. Some day I could see myself going into aquaponic production full time. At least it sounds more fun than swinging a hammer all day!
I don't know what else to say really, so please ask questions! Lets keep this conversation going. If everyone had one of these in their back yard, we would all be eating healthier and from a safer, more reliable supply.
Last edited by plantedlab; 07-02-2009 at 08:51 PM.