A Short Review On Aquaponics


Just What Is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is an age-old practice that has been in use since the time of the Egyptians. In ancient Egypt, aquaponics was used to provide both fresh fish and produce for the people of the land. While it is hard to believe that aquaponics was a form of farming was utilized by the ancient people, the evidence is there in the hieroglyphs of the day. The glyphs show people holding both fish and baskets of produce while on their way to the local markets. Aquaponics had been a lost art until only recently, where aquaponics has again seen a resurgence, primarily due to our growing populous and the need for water conservation. Australia leads the world in Aquaponics use and as such has changed the practice of aquaponics dramatically from the time of the Egyptians until today.

Aquaponics in the back yard

Aquaculture’s Role In Aquaponics

Aquaculture is the practice of growing fish, crayfish or shrimp for food production. In aquaculture, fish are grown out in tubs and fed a commercially prepared feed. The fish release waste in the form of solids and ammonia, over time these waste products can become harmful for the fish and must be removed from the tanks and the water refilled. This waste water is rich in plant nutrients and is dumped into the ecosystem. While this may not sound like a bad thing, it actually is quite damaging to the environment. Locally, this may burn native foliage, but as it is absorbed and integrated into the soil and water table the damage becomes apparent, in the form of toxic algae blooms that can kill native fishes, thus damaging the food chain of the local area.

Learn More At Southern California Aquaponics .com

Aquaponics takes some of the best parts of aquaculture, the fish and waste water and uses them both to create a miniature ecosystem. Aquaponics systems are closed loop, recirculating systems that flush the nutrient rich waste water from the fish into plant growing beds to fertilize plants at a steady rate. This steady flushing of the planting beds with the aquaponic waste water prevents root burn and is beneficial to the plants.

Hydroponics influence on Aquaponics

Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants in a soil-less environment. The plants are grown in trays that are filled with gravel or clay pellet media and nutrients are flushed through the planting beds at regular intervals. The water used to flush these beds is carefully monitored for nutrient levels. The nutrients are in the form of chemicals (organic or chemical) that are formulated together and added to the water. Over time these nutrient levels go out of balance, as the plants take up what they need from the water. Again as with aquaculture, once this happens the nutrient rich water is dumped into the ecosystem with the same damaging results as seen in aquaculture.
In Aquaponics a small ecosystem is created where the fish and plants create a form of symbiosis. The nutrient rich waste water from the fish is flushed through hydroponic style grow beds filled with gravel or clay pellets or some other type of inert substance. Bacteria grow in the spaces between the rocks and on the porous areas in the rocks. This bacteria change the ammonia into nitrites and the nitrites are converted into nitrates which the plants use for food. Solid waste is collected in the gravel or is captured and used as food for composting worms, where it is turned into vermapost like that sold in your local garden centers.

Aquaponics VS gardening in soil

The amazing thing about aquaponics becomes blatantly apparent when you compare the growth rate of plants grown in an aquaponics system VS those grown in soil. Seeds placed into typical garden soil, even enriched soil, usually take about a week to germinate and begin to sprout above the soil’s surface. In aquaponics I have seen not only germination but actual sprouting above the surface within 2-3 days. In aquaponics the plants get exactly what they need, regular even watering and nutrients that are readily available. While it is true that all the nutrients needed for sprouting are within the seed, once the roots begin to form the plant is taking nutrition from the surrounding medium. Plants grow faster and are stronger and more disease resistant when grown in aquaponics systems. The longer the aquaponic system is in operation the better it is for the plants. This is called aging.

To learn more about aquaponics you can go to

Southern California Aquaponics



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