Aquaponics: Sustainable Food Production for Anyone

Aquaponics is an innovative, super-efficient and fun method of gardening and a great way to keep some pet fish extremely happy.

Gardening? Fish? What can these two things possibly have in common, you might wonder?

Aquaponics is a form of hydroponics. Hydroponics is where plants are grown directly in water which is saturated with nutrients and no soil is used. That nutrition must come from somewhere.

Fish, on the other hand, toxify their own water with their own waste. Anyone who has ever owned fish knows that within a week, any fish tank will become hazy with ammonia, algae, nitrates, minerals and assorted waste. It isn’t healthy for fish to swim around in their own waste, so fish tanks must be flushed and refilled regularly.

One fish’s waste is another plant’s nutrition though. Minerals, algae, ammonia and nitrates constitute a stellar diet for a plant.

Aquaponics resolves both problems – removing the waste from the fish tank and feeding the plants – in one fell swoop. Plants in an aquaponics system are located on a floating barge just above the water level of a tank with their roots in the water. The nutrients from your fish are fed through the roots into the plants. Then the newly cleaned water is circulated back to the fish. The fish in turn have clean water to live in. As they excrete waste/nutrition, the nutrients are once more circulated to the plants. Thus, a symbiotic relationship is established. This is much like what happens in the wild when the roots of trees and other plants are underwater in streams, rivers and mangroves.

Not only is Aquaponics an organic system based on nature’s own workings, but it has a history of human use spanning thousands of years. The tradition of aquaponics goes clear back to the ancient Aztecs, who grew plants on stationary islands called chinampas and manually drew in waste from the surrounding canals to nourish their plants. Farmers in China and Thailand have long used a form of aquaponics by raising fish in their rice paddy fields. Aquaponics has worked in nature and industry for thousands of years.

What are some benefits of Aquaponic Systems?

• You no longer need to water your plants or clean out your fish bowl. Since the system re-circulates the water and the plants clean it out automatically, your fish will be healthy and happy without your interference. People who keep fish know this can save literally hours a week. Flushing fishbowls is very stressful to fish too, and they will live longer, healthier lives without that trauma. As to your plants, their water will no longer get absorbed into the soil and end up evaporating without entering their roots. Aquaponics uses only 2% of the water that soil gardening consumes!

• Save energy – up to 70% and save money. Aside from the energy you need to circulate the water in the aquaponics system, you should have almost no gardening expenses.

• Never weed or dig again. There’s no soil in aquaponics, and thus no weeds!

• Your plants will grow twice as fast. Since aquaponics conditions are optimal and stay that way and food is always available to your plants, they will grow incredibly rapidly and taste delicious.

• Space-saving. Aquaponics conserves space without crowding plants.

Aquaponics is easy to learn and almost effortless to maintain. It provides you with incredible growing capacity, saves you money, time and effort, and gives you the joy of keeping pet fish. Both gardening and fish are difficult hobbies for many people – but aquaponics can teach you how to harness the natural power of symbiosis to have healthier fish and gardens.