aquaponics

Aquaponics information portal

What is aquaponics?

Aquaponics is the successful integration of two well established and proven food production methods, Hydroponics and Aquaculture. This is accomplished without the use of chemical or synthetic fertilizers (for the plants) and without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones (for the fish). The use of either automatically and adversely affects the other, effectively making neither organic.

The whole process is very simple and extraordinarily efficient. A variety of freshwater fish (or diadromous fish) are hatched, raised, fattened and kept (to plate size) in an aquaculture system with a balanced diet of good quality fish feed (non land animal based feed), discarded plant matter, larvae and worms from the system. The fish excrete faeces containing natural ammonia which enriches the water with nitrites, which in turn are converted to nitrates by naturally occurring useful bacteria (the nitrogen cycle). The remaining solids from the faeces are harvested by mechanical means between the two processes or captured by gravel filtration in the hydroponic section.The water is then pumped to a "hydroponic" system where the nitrates feed the plants which in turn filter the water. On their own the fish faeces constitute a powerful and complete natural fertiliser for other plants (fruit orchards etc.) outside the aquaponic system. The resulting absolutely clean water is now fed back to the aquaculture system and is good for fish to live in. This describes a balanced, closed loop system.

The field of Aquaponics (Aquaculture and Hydroponics) is growing at a phenomenal pace due to its uncommonly bountiful productivity in comparison to other competitive agricultural systems such as in-soil planting and hydroponics.

The methodology requires no heavy machinery or large tracts of arable land and the mechanics are very simple but production is exceptionally profuse. Aquaponics also surpasses the production levels of stand alone Hydroponics from the second year of production.