What is aquaponics?
Not to be confused with hydroponics or peeponics, aquaponics is the process of a symbiotic relationship between the fish and the plants. Simply put the fish provide nutrients for the plants through their waste, the plants clean the water for the fish. You provide the food for the fish or the fish will eat algae that grows in the tank. This is a perfect system because you don't have to worry about cleaning or discarding water nor do you have to worry about filtration or added chemical fertilizers.
The graphic to the left from Backyard Aquaponics best describes the process of how Aquaponics actually work. In short your system will thrive off beneficial bacteria. The beauty of this is that nature takes care of all of this automatically. Once you make the water right for the fish, then natural process begins to start. From that the beneficial bacteria will make the water right for the plants. Aquaponics can be a simply backyard project with the kids to a large commercial farm.
- If you chose it aquaponics provide food at its maximum, food from plants as well as the fish.
- Water used efficiently for plants and fish
- Plants grow much faster since roots are constantly fed nutrients (see our pic of 3 months of growth)
- No need for artificial fertilizers
- no need to worry about weeding
- it's a complete natural and organic system
Disadvantages of aquaponics
- Although no fertilizers needed you do have to feed the fish
- requires electricity for small pumps
- Depending on your climate you may need a greenhouse
- Does cost money to set up. Our system cost about $450
- In the beginning you need to monitor the water
- Root crops and trees are much more difficult to grow
Final words on aquaponics
So is aquaponics the best way to garden? It does produce very good results but are they better then soil based gardening? Well that probably depends to a large extent on where you live and the type of climate you have. If you live in drought effected areas (as much of Australia has experienced over the last decade) then I believe there could be some significant benefits using aquaponics to reduce water usage. Also if you have a limited space to grow vegetables then it is possible that aquaponics could allow you to grow more produce and make the best use of your vertical space. These I think are the distinct advantages to aquaponics; after these the advantages become a little more cloudy and, compared to soil based gardening, the disadvantages start to balance the advantages that aquaponics has to offer.
Building Aquaponics with an IBC Tote
IBC Aquaponics 3 month update
Solar powered aquaponics
Did you know?
Aquaponics uses up to 90% less water than conventional farming does.
Aquaponics have been known to grow 30% faster than traditional gardening methods.
Aquaponics have been around since ancient times among the Chinese, Aztecs and other cultures