What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponicss is the synthesis of hydroponics (soilless gardening) & aquaculture (raising aquatic life). It is an elegant synergy- where two ecosystems are functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable. Fish provide plants with nutrients to grow. Plants act as a bio-filter and purify the water for happier fish and we humans eat fresh, local food.
In an age where our food system is drastically dependent on petroleum and large monocrops, it offers a chance for us to grow food intelligently, effectively, locally and with relative ease. Here are some things to consider:
Aquaponics is Biomimicry. These systems model and refine naturally occurring interactions between terrestrial and aquatic life. We all know Mother Nature doesn’t mess around- she’s efficient, effective, and ultimately can’t be outsmarted. So, here we have nature on our side.
Aquaponics Closes Loops. As they say, “it’s only waste if you waste it.” In aquaponics we take the output from the fish (poo & pee) which usually requires expensive filters, frequent water changes, or nasty chemicals to clean and turn it into a valuable input for our plants. The plants, with the help of microorganisms, clean the water which returns to the fish and then it happens all over again!
In Aquaponics Plants Grow Faster & In Less Space. Because we are continually bringing fresh nutrient to the plants roots in a very accessible form, there is less need for the plant to expend valuable energy ‘mining’ for nutrient and therefore less root ‘competition’. Hence we find plants grow faster and often need half the space than in soil based gardening.
Aquaponics Takes Local to a New Level. In a world where our average fruits and vegetables travel 1,500 miles to reach us, it offers fresh, organic, and nutritious food at our finger tips. No more talking about food miles, now we’re talking food feet.
Aquaponics is Scalable. In urban environments where space is a valuable commodity, it can come in all shapes and sizes. You can have a small system that fits on your desk or inhabits a window sill to a full greenhouse scale system all the way up to commercial scale urban farms that occupy underutilized land and warehouses.
Aquaponics is Energy Efficient. In an intelligently built and ideal system the only energy input is one water pump or air pump that ultimately provides lots of fresh food and protein. In a day and age where it takes 10 calories of fossil fuel to get one 1 calorie of food… we think that’s not a bad deal!
Aquaponics Saves Water. It generally uses 90% less water than soil based agriculture because the water recirculates within the system rather than seeps away. The only water loss is through evaporation and transpiration from plant leaves. In a world of declining water resources, this is intelligent farming.
Aquaponics Saves You Time. Although it may seem intimidating and technical at first, truly aquaponics is simple once you understand the basics. It also has the advantage of being a self regulating system where changes in certain elements (like, lets say, an increase in fish waste as the fish grow larger) are buffered by others (like the plants ability to uptake more nutrient as the plants grow or more plants are added). Finally, because it is a recirculating system and a soilless method, that means you don’t have to worry about digging, weeding, and time spent watering.
>>> If you have any more questions about aquaponics please feel free to write us below or consider joining one of our Urban Aquaponics 101 classes to learn how you can become an aquaponic gardener yourself!