Aquaponics is a system that combines aquaculture, the growing of fish, with hydroponics, growing plants on water (instead of in soil). Fish is kept in a fish tank. The water of this tank, with the faeces of the fish flows to a growbed with growmedia (for example clay pebbles) in which grow bacteria. These bacteria convert the faeces into nutrition for the plants. which results in filtered clean water for the fish. This closed system has proven to use about 90% less water than conventional agriculture and has the advantage that no soil is needed.
The principles of aquaponics have been around for a long time dating back to the Aztecs and ancient China. But in recent years it’s being reinvented and many think that it could be an important part of the solution for feeding the world in a sustainable way.
Because it’s actually really simple to build and maintain, many people are experimenting with it and want to show the world it’s potential. Combined with innovations in hyrdoponics, aquaponics can provide both fruit, veg and animal protein diet grown locally practically anywhere.
There are three basic types of aquaponic systems (APS)
- Media filled – the bacteria live on a media in which also the plants grow. The grow bed is continuously being flooded and drained.
- Nutrient Film Technique – the conversation of the fish waste into the plant fertilizer occurs in a separate tank (the bio-reactor) from which the nutrient rich water flows to the plants.
- Deep Water Culture (DWC) aka floating rafts. Plants float on water with their roots completely submerged.