A Brilliant Marriage Between Aquaculture and Hydroponics
To define the term aquaponics, it is necessary first to understand aquaculture and hydroponics. This is because Aquaponics = aquaculture + hydroponics. In simple terms, aquaculture involves the rearing of freshwater fish or other water based animals in enclosed systems. It is the artificial cultivation of fish in a controlled way. Hydroponics, on the other hand, entails the growing of fruits, vegetables, etc. without any soil. Plants are grown on a sterile medium that helps them get required water and nutrients. Aquaculture and hydroponics were great inventions were it not for some challenges they pose.
Aquaponics is a hybrid system that combines the two technologies to maximize benefits and minimize drawbacks associated with either of the two technologies. In aquaponics fish and plants are grown in one system. Aquaculture has drawbacks such as waste disposal problems and risks of disease and infections. Hydroponics uses synthetic fertilizers to feed plants, and this poses some environmental concerns. Aquaponics aims at alleviating these challenges.
In aquaponics, there is a symbiotic relationship between the fish and the plants. Plants feed on the waste produced by the fish. Fish tank waste is rich in ammonia and bacteria. When ammonia mixes with water, it changes into nitrates that are vital to plants. The plants feed on the nitrates filtering the water in the process. In this ingenious arrangement each survive because of the other. They mutually benefit with the fish feeding the plants and the plants making the water conducive for the fish.
An aquaponics system is very economical because it minimizes wastage. It takes little space and solves many problems simultaneously. The plants grow fast and organically without the need for synthetic fertilizers.
How an aquaponics system works
� In an aquaponics system plants are grown on grow beds and fish are reared in a water tank for the fish.
� The grow beds and the water tank are then connected using pipes.
� Using a pumping system, water full of fish waste is pumped from the fish tanks to the grow beds.
� The same water is pumped back into the fish tanks via a filtering system. The filtering system may use sand and pebbles to clean the oxygenated water before it reaches the fish tank.
� The process is repeated in a similar cycle.
Reasons why aquaponics is great farming/gardening technology
� It is a green way of growing fish and vegetables as no chemicals and synthetic fertilizers are required. The system helps manage diseases and infections in the fish tank by filtering the water. The system mimics nature in every sense.
� It conserves water since the same water stays in the cycle. The only water that is lost is due to evaporation in the filtering system. The loss is negligible, and any farm with water supply problems can, therefore, benefit from aquaponics.
� It is a very economical eco-friendly farming/gardening technology. Once the aquaponics system is set up, it is self-sustaining.
In a nutshell, aquaponics is the rearing of freshwater fish and cultivation of plants in a mutually beneficial way. An aquaponics system solves the major problems in aquaculture and hydroponics. Aquaculture worries about how to get rid of fish waste while hydroponics frets on how to feed plants. Aquaponics takes the fish waste and feeds it on the plants. If you want to read more information on Aquaponics read aquaponicsideas.com