Aquaponics is a self-sustaining system combining hydroponics, which bypasses the use of soil in plant growing, and the farming of aquatic life, known as aquaculture. Those two methods create water waste on their own, but when used in combination the systems compliment one other to balance and continually cycle the water. Aquaponics –> no water waste!
Why it Works so Well
Water is continually recycled in this system. Good bacteria convert the fish waste ammonia into nitrates and become nutrients the plants can use. This nutrient-rich water is pumped along the root system of the plants. After consumption the clean water is pumped back to the fish tank, creating a fresh supply of healthy water for the fish. This closed loop system ensures water conservation, and creates a high nutrient density food production system for the fish and plants.
It’s actually an ancient method, used by the Aztecs who gardened floating islands on lakes, and by the Indonesian and Thai, who added fish to their rice paddy fields.
Fortunately, we have indoor aquaponic starter kits becoming available in the near future to look forward to. Patents, such as the photo to the right, are currently being developed and can be found on kickstart.com.
Here is one of my dreams – a pit aquaponics greenhouse. Pit greenhouses retain heat year round, though my dad, a Dutchman with his own flower nursery, argues that in our climate we’d still need to run a heater in winter. More research required!