Aquaponics is one of the most sustainable ways to grow food. It involves a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics in one integrated system. Once set up, very little maintenance or effort is required.
What is aquaponics?
Aquaponics is an integrated system of aquaculture ( fish farming ) and hydroponics ( growing plants without soil ), a system that mutually benefits both environments. Aquaponics was essentially born out of hydroponics, which at the time made farming a lot easier.
This process was associated with the planting of the vegetables in containers with water. The hydroponic model involved the use of large amounts of chemicals and fertilizers to promote growth, so the product was not 100% natural. However, the use of harmful chemicals and fertilizers is not necessary to set up an organic aquaponics system in your own home.
The fish waste is absorbed by the vegetation that is used as a nutrient solution for growing plants, cultivating a wonderful condition to grow. The only external input to the system is food for the fish. Both systems complement each other in practical interdependence. So essentially, if you have happy and content fish, you have an amazing system that will produce fresh food for you all year long.
How does this self-sustaining organic system work?
The basic premise of aquaponics is that the waste produced by the fish feeds the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish, producing a continuous cycle.
This system is completely based on the nitrogen cycle. When fish produce waste (ammonia), bacteria break it down into nitrates. A pump then transports this water, which is high in nitrates, to the culture bed where the plants grow. The plants extract nitrogen from the water, which feeds the plants and cleanses the water, making it safe to return to the fish tank.
This cycle repeats over and over again, with the fish providing nutrition to the bacteria, the bacteria breaking down the fish waste and feeding the plants, and the plants cleaning the water to return to the fish.
How do you build an aquaponics system?
The following video explains in detail how you can build an organic system at home, making the most of the benefits of acuponia.
What are the benefits of aquaponics?
- Up to 10 times more organic plants. With aquaponics, plants can be placed closer together in a floating system above water, so 10 times more plants can fit in the same space. Plant roots are always in nutrient-rich water and there is no crowding.
- There is no more weeding. The system eliminates the need for weeding and debris removal. They give you more freedom and enjoyment.
- There are no more pests on the ground. The need to use pesticides is also eliminated, making it much easier for you to have amazing plants and fruits without toxic chemicals.
- No more watering is needed . The aquaponics system uses only 2% of the water that the garden produces. Because the water is constantly recirculating, no absorption is lost by the soil. Plant roots are constantly submerged in nutrient-rich water and you never have to worry about watering your plants again. Contributes to saving water and saving money.
- Multiple sources of income . When you try this system you will know the amount of plants that can be produced and you may need and decide to share, donate or sell them. And guess what? There is also fish to sell with aquaponics.
- Plants grow twice as fast. Plant experts are amazed when they visit aquaponics farms, seeing how the plants grow quickly. For example, lettuce, which takes 60 days or more to mature, only takes about 29 days with this system.
- It uses up to 70% less energy than conventional gardening.
Planting normally takes a lot of effort and work to bend down and keep up with the growth rate and need of each plant, but with aquaponics this does not happen.