What Exactly is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is short for growing plants without soil and adding nutrients to the water the plants grow in as needed. Fish are one of the main providers of these nutrients. Typically plants are grown in a controlled environment enabling the growers to raise produce year round. Greenhouses are a common structure to house these systems.
At the crux of the entire system is an unexpected helper - fish poop. Fish live in one part of the system while plants live in another separate area. Between these two areas, life in all manner of sizes, is unfolding. Fish are fed by the caretakers, fish poop is converted into nutrients the plants can use for food, and the plants in turn cleanse the soiled water which enters right back into the area where the fish live.
This simple yet complex system is happening all throughout the Earth as we speak. In varying degrees plants are cleansing water much more contaminated than what unfolds in an aquaponic system. This system structure is the basis for all food grown in aquaponics.
What Does Aquaponics Do Traditional Farming Cannot?
Aquaponics is to an iPhone like the mobile phone was in the 90's. In other words - aquaponics can do everything traditional farming can do - but better.
Here are just a few things aquaponics excels at:
* Aquaponics uses 90% less water than traditional farming.
* Water and nutrients are recycled.
* Controlled environments enable year round growing.
* Food can be grown in drought stricken areas.
* Less pests.
* No weeding.
* Urban areas can be utilized to raise food.
Break-down of a Common System
In aquaponics there are two foundational tanks that must be reserved for fish and for plants. Between those two tanks there are numerous add-ons that can be included, but are not absolutely necessary. All of the surface area in the system is already being utilized by bacteria breaking down fish poop and converting it into food for the plants (more on the chemistry behind the bacteria later). U.V filters, bio-media filters, calcium filters, and other equipment can be used to help cleanse water in systems.
Aquaponics is rapidly emerging as a viable alternative to traditional farming. As the costs, both environmentally and economically, rise for traditional farming other means of raising food are cropping up. Aquaponics strikes at the heart of a growing fresh food demand both in America and around the world as well.