Aquaponics - Why Aquaponics?

What is Aquaponics?

The word Aquaponics comes from the joining of 'Aquaculture' and 'hydroponics' and whilst it shares certain attributes of both of these systems, it is in itself something far more developed and ultimately, unique from either of them.

 

Aquaponic systems have three main components - Fish, Plants and Microbes.  The microbes are a commonly overlooked part of an aquaponic system, but it is these that do the most important work in the nutrient cycle.  Aquaponics uses no soil at all - but it can use either an alternative growing media such as clay pebbles, pumice stone, lava rock or gravel, or the plants can simply be grown in the nutrient rich waters coming from the fish tanks.

The Aquaponics Cycle

Please Click Picture to Expand

The Aquaponics Cycle

 

Fish produce waste and ammonia - these are harmful for the fish in elevated quantities and decrease the quality of the water.  In aquaponics, water from the fish tank is fed to a plant growbed where the billions of naturally occurring, beneficial micro-organisms break the ammonia down first into Nitrite and then into Nitrate.

 

Nitrate and other nutrients are absorbed by the plants to assist in their growth and in turn, serve to clean the water.  Solid waste will also be filtered out of the water by either the growbeds or some other mechanical process.

 

Clean water is now returned to the fish tank increasing the water quality and providing the oxygenated water that the fish need.  This is a natural and sustainable process that mimics an ecosystem and produces high quality food without any chemical inputs.