Aquaponics systems are a way to grow your own vegetables, fruit, and fresh fish all in a single system by making every part of the system work together. Set up an aquaponics system in your home and you are well on your way to complete food independence.
The Best of Both Worlds
Aquaculture and hydroponics each have their disadvantages, but aquaponics uses these disadvantages to make the whole system work together. When I used to grow vegetables hydroponically by themselves, I found the cost of the nutrients needed to feed the plants too high for what I got out of it. Aquaponics solves that problem in elegant way.
In standard aquaculture the water from your fish tank needs to be filtered as the waste products of the fish build up and make it toxic. That means throwing out some of the water each day, which then needs to be replaced. In aquaponics, this waste-water is treated with natural bacteria which converts the waste into nitrogen-rich nutrients and is then pumped into the hydroponic beds, where it feeds and waters the plants. This process serves to filter the water and balance it’s pH, so it can go directly back into the fish tank, clean and clear and ready to be used again. The fish feed the plants and the plants clean the fish-water, with no expensive fertilizer required. A harmonious arrangement if ever I’ve seen one.
A Sustainable Model
Aquaponics is a truly sustainable model, because it is entirely self-contained. The only thing you need to add is feed for the fish and a very small amount of water to replace any which evaporates or is soaked up by the plants themselves. Aquaponics only uses one tenth of the amount of water that would normally be needed to grow the same volume of vegetation, as in a traditional garden or farm much of the water seeps through the ground or evaporates due to heat and sunlight.
The whole systems is fully integrated in a way that is often found in the most well-balanced natural ecosystems but very rarely in human cultivation. It also uses no dangerous water treatment chemicals, herbicides, or pesticides. Aquaponically produced vegetables, fruits, and fish are fully organic and packed with nutrients, as well as being highly energy efficient.
Aquaponics Systems At Home
Aquaponics systems can be large, complex farm-sized installations, but they can also be simple and small enough to set up in your back yard. Once the system is put together it needs surprisingly little maintenance and upkeep; no more than growing your own garden or cultivating your own fish, but with far fewer resources. You never have to weed it or add fertilizer, and it can give even greater crop yields than regular hydroponics systems.