When we talk about aquaponics in the simplest way, it is putting fish to work. This work takes place via fish eating or producing waste, and they offer the ideal fertilizer for plants to grow. Therefore, when aquaponics systems are used, fish assist with growing more plants than would be possible without their help. It directly reflects our natural ecosystem, showcasing the relationship between aquatic life, plants, bacteria, and water. By using the waste from the fish as food for the bacteria, it can be converted into fertilizer for the plants, which then provide the fish with the clean water they need to survive. Keep reading as we discover the benefits of aquaponics and the difference with hydroponics.
Aquaponics system | Aquaponics farming | Aquaponics benefits | Aquaponics and hydroponics
As for the system used for aquaponics, there are a few different options. Deep water culture uses a foam raft that is filled with fish effluent water without waste. Plants are then placed in this floating raft, and their roots are submerged in the water. This is a great option for quick-growing plants, such as salad greens, which don’t require as many nutrients as other plants. You’ll find that this aquaponics system is used already on a large, commercial scale.
Another popular system is called media growing. This grows the plants within inert planting media, which could include shale or clay pellets. It provides mechanical filtration and biological filtration within just one system, and it’s ideal for smaller-scale production. You could even try building a media-based aquaponics system in the comfort of your own home. It would be great for leafy greens and herbs, but you’ll also find that large, fruiting plants thrive in this system.
When it comes to farming, this solution is already being used on a large-scale basis. The nutrient film technique system can be used almost anywhere, and it offers nutrient-rich water, which is delivered through a narrow trough or pipe. The plants are then put in holes within this pipe, and their roots are left dangling where the water passes. This is ideal for any type of plant that doesn’t need a lot of support, which might include herbs or strawberries. You’ll find that it’s a good way to use any spare overhead space, as you can hang it from the ceiling and leave the space underneath free for other production processes. You could also consider vertical aquaponics farming, which is an efficient use of limited space also. Both of these solutions are already used worldwide and contribute to the success of aquaponics farming today.
As you can imagine, there are so many benefits, which is why fish farmers worldwide are already considering this solution. For farms that already aim to grow fish and plants, aquaponics farming is an excellent way to take their farming processes to the next level. It makes it possible for farms to create an intensive production system while still minimizing their impact on the environment. It only uses one nitrogen source, which is fish food, for two agricultural products. This is much improved when compared to farming these two products separately, which is why it’s a suitable solution for the future.
Aquaponics is known for its water efficiency, and in fact, it only takes a very small percentage of water to grow a much larger crop than usual. It does not require any sols, which protects your plants from potentially soil-borne diseases. On top of that, it doesn’t need any chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and it offers a higher level of biosecurity for farmers. You’ll find that when you implement an aquaponics system on your farm, you’ll have full control over your crops, meaning you lose less produce than usual. It can be used in literally any climate and place in the world, including deserts and sandy islands. Some of these places don’t have the right ground or climate for growing plants usually, but thanks to the aquaponics benefits, they now have this option.
Aquaponics and Hydroponics
If you’ve been researching sustainable farming solutions recently, the other option that you may hear mentioned regularly is hydroponics. Comparing aquaponics and hydroponics is something any farmer should do when considering upgrading their current system. The main thing to keep in mind when discussing the differences between the two options is that hydroponics doesn’t use fish. It’s a popular way to grow plants that only requires water and chemical nutrients, so once again, no soil is needed in this system. In the United States, this method is already used for growing tomatoes, lettuce, and basil. While there aren’t as many benefits of this type of system, it still offers farmers high yields and has fewer risks in regards to disease from the soil.
In order for hydroponics to work effectively, the plants are placed in a water-based solution that’s packed with nutrients. The roots are then placed directly into the water, which offers them everything they need to grow and survive. The top of the plant is above the water, so it can easily obtain the oxygen it needs to live. There are multiple different options when you start to compare hydroponics systems, just as there are with aquaponics. As we mentioned, they don’t require fish, so they’ll usually take up less space on your farm. It’s another sustainable solution for the future that can be used in almost any climate in the world.
Aquaponics offers many benefits for farmers, and it may be the key to the future of farming. Both aquaponics and hydroponics are being considered as sustainable solutions for the future and can be used anywhere in the world to grow the crops that are needed for us to thrive. As our population continues to grow, we must consider new farming systems that offer a more sustainable way of living than we are currently using. We are excited to see more places use aquaponics systems in the future, and we hope this will become a mainstream farming solution in the future.