Aquaponics: Systematic Method of Growing Plants Without Soil

Food sustainability can be attained right in your homes. Get organic foods from organic farming system. It’s called Aquaponics.

Aquaponics is a revolutionized method of aquaculture and hydroponics, although the system is used by our forefathers. The system combines both methods. Aquaculture refers to the scientific method of growing fish and other marine animals, while hydroponics is a system of growing plants without the traditional vital factor: the soil. Aquaponics applies both systems in a symbiotic combination where plants nourished marine animals’ and vice-versa. The wastes of the aquatic animals become the organic foods for plants, while plants has the ability of filtering water naturally for the fishes.

aquaponics

image credit: aquaponicssystems.net

There is the third party in this revolutionized farming – the microbes or the nitrifying bacteria. These microbes transform  ammonia from the wastes of the fish into nitrites and later, into nitrates. Microbes play an essential role as nourishment for the plants. They piled up in the spaces in the roots of plants and transform the wastes of the fishes and solids into substances so that the plants can grow. It is an ideal partnership of aquaculture and gardening.

Nitrates are forms of nitrogen that plants used to grow. The solid fish wastes can be converted to vermi-compost that serves as foods for the plants.

Aquaponics promises a sustainable organic crop production, aquaculture, as well as water consumption. The wastes of fish is recycled and used to grow plants rather than throwing them to the ocean. Again, water is circulated in an enclosed system reducing the usage of the resource.

Aquaponics utilizes similar farming systems like hydroponics but there isn’t big difference on how the method works, except of course, for the fishes that are added in the water tank. The drip irrigation, the flood and drain process, deep culture or water submerged roots, and the nutrient film system are customizable and compliant to combine with growing fishes.

aquaponics

image credit: The Food Assembly’s Blog

The system does not require heavy nutrient input to maintain a small aquaponic-based garden where you can grow and harvest vegetables. You can create a simple aquaponics system in your own backyard. You can grow small vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, watercress, kale, arugula, herbs, spring onions, leeks,radishes, okras, decorative flowers, herbs, and mint. Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes need more nutrition. Take note to avoid plants that require alkaline or acidic water since the pH levels of acidic water will harm fishes.

In summary, aquaponics is an organized system of farming plants and growing fishes together. The system feeds the fish and in turn, the fish nourish plants through their wastes. In this system, it does not require fertilizers since the fish gives rich nutrients for the plants. It also use lesser water to grow plants and fish. Some studies showed results where aquaponic gardens utilized one-tenth of the water that you would be using for soil gardens. Although the system may require small space, you can still grow plants and harvest abundantly.

aquaponics

credit image: EcoWatch Canada

 

Watch this video from PBS News Hour to learn more:

 

 

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