Aquaponics integrates the aquaculture production of fish and the hydroponic production of plants making up sustainable resources. The system reduces the usage of the non-renewable system and natural biological cycles that makes it economical and profitable over time. The aquaponics system should have plants and fish with the same requirements in terms of pH and temperature. The best crops for a sustainable system are leafy plants such as greens, lettuce, and herbs. Warm and freshwater fish also do the best for the aquaponics system.
How it Functions
Vegetables in a greenhouse receive water pumped from a fish in a recirculating system. The crops in aquaponics float snugly in foam rafts and do not use soil. The roots instead hang down into tubs filled with water. The waste from the fish acts as a fertilizer, and the vegetables, in turn, purify the water, thus creating a system with mutual benefits.
Some beneficial bacteria are also a key player in this system with the significant role of breaking down the fish waste and transforming it into nitrogen that the crops rely on for growth. The fish excrement would be of no help were it not for the bacteria.
Sustainability in Aquaponics
Aquaponics is a system that is entirely natural and mimics all the waterways, lakes, rivers, and ponds on the planet. Below are the benefits of Aquaponics that ensure sustainability for both small and large systems employed by mini aquaponics DIY and commercial systems.
1. Water Management
Water quality and availability always limit food production in the world. This problem is taken care of in aquaponics as less water is required to recirculate through the crops and fish system. An aquaponics typically uses 1/6th of the water needed to sustain eight times more plants per acre compared to the traditional way. The system can recirculate 100 gallons of water for some days or weeks, and the same amount would not take a soil garden for a day.
2. Eliminating Soil Challenges
Many people tend to think that soil has everything it takes for crops to grow. Thatâs often not true as aquaponics removes soil from the equation by providing the oxygen, nutrients, and water that the plants require. It also eliminates the human involvement in irrigating, tilting, composting, fertilizer, or organic manure. The crop roots also donât have to penetrate through the soil when growing.
3. Constant and Natural Fertilizer
The crops in aquaponics obtain their nutrients from the fish waste materials, water source, and likely from the media materials used. The system gets away with the pollutants involved in traditional crop production, such as herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and chemicals. Among the benefits of aquaponics is that it guarantees high-quality food production and safe for consumption. The cost and workforce involved in herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides is also forgone.
4. No Waste Production
There is no waste produced by the aquaponics as the whole system mimics nature. Any material that comes from the fish system can be applied to berry bushes or tree lines. Also, the crop remains that are not harvested can be added to the compost or fed to livestock.
5. Crops Can Grow in Areas That Otherwise Wouldn’t Thrive
Aquaponics allows food and fish production in many locations that plants would not survive, such as industrial, rock, cray, and rocky areas. The whole system can be installed outdoors, in a green house or indoors mini aquaponics DIY.
Aquaponics is one of the recent innovations in the food industry which recirculate water to grow veggies and produce fish within the same system. The sustainable resources offer food security, which is necessary right now with the population being estimated to hit 9.7 billion by 2050. The method is also resource-conscious and Eco-friendly.