December 31, 2020

How aquaponic systems work

Learn how aquaponic systems can help create a more sustainable way of growing food for our planet…

As our planet’s population continues to grow, humans have begun to consider how to feed more people on less available agricultural land. There are many options for growing food besides traditional land-intensive farming methods. For example, we now are able to grow food hydroponically, utilizing limited water resources more efficiently while maximizing vertical growing space. Aquaponic systems are another way to grow food even more efficiently, as it allows one to raise both vegetables and animal protein in the same space, while creating a “closed-loop” system that requires minimal external inputs.

Aquaponics may actually be the most efficient method of growing food that we currently have available to us today. Combining aquaculture with hydroponic growing methods allows for a system that recycles wastewater, eliminates chemical inputs, and produces multiple food sources from one system.

Most aquaponic systems are large setups that are used for commercial farming, but smaller systems are also available for home growers who are looking for more sustainable ways to raise food for their families.

Here are just a few of the top benefits of growing food with aquaponics:

  • Aquaponic Systems Produce Little-to-No Waste

    One of the main issues with raising fish in a controlled environment is that their waste must be continually removed or it will kill the fish. This causes water pollution in the environment surrounding large-scale fish farming operations. However, with aquaponics systems, the waste produced by the fish is actually used to feed the plants, rather than simply going to waste or being pumped out to pollute the environment.

  • Aquaponic Systems Are Highly Water-Efficient

    Once the water has been filtered and fed to the plants’ roots, it is recycled back into the fish tanks, making this a highly efficient system. Only a small amount of water needs to be added to the system once in a while after the original setup to keep the water levels consistent. Therefore, this method of growing food is a much more efficient use of water than traditional land-based methods of food cultivation, which often require continual irrigation with large amounts of water.

  • Aquaponic Systems Are Low-Maintenance

    After the initial setup, most aquaponics systems are practically self-sustaining and require very little maintenance. You will need to monitor the pH and ammonia levels in the water, and be sure to keep all of your system’s components clean so they will function properly. However, there is no digging, weeding, watering, or any of the many other garden tasks that are so time-consuming in a traditional garden.

  • Aquaponic Systems Require No Chemical Pesticides or Fertilizers

    The environmental consequences of industrial farming are astronomical – leading to water pollution, habitat destruction, erosion, species extinction, and more. Many of these issues stem from the heavy usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used to grow food with these farming methods. Besides all of these issues, the food produced using these chemicals may also have long-term effects on our health. Many pesticides have been linked to increased rates of cancer and infertility in both wildlife and humans. However, since the plants in an aquaponic system are fed by the fish, and pest pressure in an indoor setup will be minimal, there is no need for either chemical fertilizers or pesticides in an aquaponics setup.

To learn more about how aquaponics works, see our earlier post here, or check out this quick visual guide:

A visual guide to aquaponics systems
Source: Fix.com Blog

 

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About the author 

Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

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