What is Aquaponics?
The definition of aquaponics is in its name - it is a combination of AQUAculture (the growing of fish) and hydroPONICS (the growing of vegetables and herbs). Aquaponics is a perfect example of sustainable food production, and many people are turning to this system of home food growing. Using aquaponics to grow your food will save you lots of money and give you food that is organic and of higher quality than what you'd buy in shops.
In an aquaponics system, the water from the fish reaches the hydroponic beds. The plants will take up some of the water, and with it the nitrogen in the water. This nitrogen will have originated from fish manure and decomposing feed. If the nitrogen is allowed to build up in the fish tank, it will reach toxic levels. However, this nitrogen happens to be a perfect fertilizer for the vegetables! This saves you from having to add artificial fertilizer, which is expensive and contains synthetic chemicals that are potential harmful. After the plants have taken up the nitrogen, the water returns to the fish pond squeaky clean. Hence, you won't need complicated filtering systems for the fish water, as the plants will do this work for you!
The benefits of aquaponics are many. It is a sustainable system of food production, where nutrients are recycled and external inputs are minimal. It is the most efficient method of food production as it can produce large amounts of food in the least amount of space and with the least amount of expenses. It is a very flexible system, allowing you to grow a large variety of fish and plants. And it can be set-up practically anywhere! In addition, it is very easy to scale according to needs, as the equipment required can easily be built at home. In other words, make it as big as you want. Maybe you just want a small unit to produce food just for your family. Or maybe you want to dedicate a whole room to it so that you'll have lots of vegetables and fish to sell for a profit! Remember that all the foods grown in an aquaponics system are organic, as no additives are used. And, as you know, organic foods are of better quality and fetch higher prices than non-organic food. In fact, many are turning this hobby into a source of income.
Once you understand the concepts of aquaponics, you'll realize that the set-up required is actually very basic, and it can be easily constructed using materials from around your house or purchased cheaply at any local hardware store. All you need are some core instructions and a few diagrams to get you started.
Learn more about aquaponics, and how to build your own system in Aquaponics 4 Idiots