What is aquaponics?
Aquaponics is a closed production system that integrates the technique of aquaculture with hydroponics, that is, it is a combination of fish production and the production of vegetables without soil by the common medium “water”. Plants and fish create a synergy, since the metabolic waste of the fish are used as nutrients by the plants to grow, while the plants clean the water and eliminate the toxic compounds for the fish (mainly ammonium and nitrites), reducing the frequency of water renewal. However, microorganisms that affect mineralization and nitrification processes also intervene in this system; mainly nitrifying bacteria. This system of sustainable intensive production requires ideal conditions for interaction between fish, microorganisms and plants.
Aquaponics is a perfect combination of plants, bacteria, and fish .
This method above ground can surprise you at first, but it offers serious and many advantages!
Sometimes, all you need is to have all the information you need to consciously make good decisions: when you know why you are doing it, and what’s more, you are enthusiastic, everything is set up to make it possible!
The planet needs us! We can act locally for global disorder .
Let’s always produce more local food with, among others, aquaponics, and we will immediately and drastically reduce our impact on the environment! Here are 24 advantages of aquaponic.
The 24 advantages of aquaponics:
- An aquaponic system is easy to assemble and you can dismount easily (in case of moving for example)
- An aquaponic installation can produce more food per square meter than a garden in the ground, so it is possible to produce your food, even in small spaces!
- Growing with aquaponics is an ideal way to produce food with much less effort and less time than with an earthen garden.
- You will not have more back pain , and you will not be covered with earth and mud after your passage in the cultures!
- No need to weed or burrow !
- For countries where drinking water becomes scarce, aquaponics can produce with enormous water savings compared to a garden grown in the ground (80 to 90% water savings)!
- Once you understand the basics with your first system, you quickly understand that an aquaponic installation is easy to maintain, affordable for everyone (even children can take care of it!), And is a ” practical ” solution . practice to produce even more local food at home and with little effort.
- Aquaponics will allow many people to reconnect with nature but also to get back to basics.
- To raise and to eat one’s own fish , in pure water, with a food of quality, it is an incomparable satisfaction to our time.
- Producing vegetables and fish with less space than a traditional garden: it was the asset we needed to stop participating in a foul-smelling meat industry and an inhumane and destructive fish industry.
- Food from an aquaponic system tastes good , important for the palate.
- Decrease in the water used.
- Decrease in fertilizers for plants.
- Increase in biosecurity, means that there is better control of possible pathogens that may come from the water we use, because the required amount of water is low, we can make a biological control of what enters the system.
- Possibility of producing near the consumption centers, normally it is not done due to the cost and amount of water required.
- You get two sources of income.
- There is talk of a benefit in the fish so it improves the production of these.
- In plants, growths similar to hydroponic crops are achieved.
- Decrease in pollutants, because the elimination of nitrogen compounds from water sources is considerably reduced, thus avoiding eutrophication.
- The waste products of a biological system serve as nutrients for a second biological system.
- The integration of fish and plants results in a polyculture that increases diversity and the production of multiple products.
- The water is re-used through biological filtration and recirculation.
- Local food production provides access to healthier foods and increases the local economy.
- It is not necessary to treat the waste of fish as in aquaculture.
This list is of course not exhaustive, because there are a lot of small side benefits that can be generated by abundant and local natural production, such as reduced transportation and our consumption of petroleum products in general, less time in shopping, a better quality of life …
8 Disadvantages of aquaponics
Like any productive system, aquaponics also has certain disadvantages. The magnitude of these depends a lot on the care that is given to each detail. Some may be:
- Difficulties to carry out scientific tests due to artisanal installations, with very varied conditions, explaining successes and failures.
- Cost of materials, although it may be for the majority from recycling (bath, tank type water ton), it remains the plumbing, pumps, solar installation.
- Care must be taken in the implementation, water and electricity do not always mix, and maintenance.
- Initial cost.Starting an aquaponics project has a relatively higher initial cost than other production methods, such as home gardens. However, it is not possible to give a real figure because it will depend on the size of the system and its technological level. Consider that pumps and plumbing items are required.
- Unsecured success.I know that no productive system has a perfect success rate, but in the case of aquaponics the percentage is quite small. The point is that many systems are largely standardized. On hydroponics for example, there is much information about it. With aquaponics is not the same, much research and standardization is lacking.
- Multiple points of failure.Aquaponics is relatively more complex than other production systems due to the fact that you have to be aware of both plants and animals. This implies that the points where the system can fail are more. On the one hand the fish can die if they do not have the right conditions, on the other the plants are susceptible to pathogens.
- Unsustainable fish food.The cost of food for the fish can make the system economically unsustainable. For this reason it is important to ensure the supply of such food at an appropriate price. At a certain moment, once the system is installed, it could become the most expensive factor in the entire system, so special attention must be paid.
- Keeping the fish healthy day in day out can be a complicated issue especially keeping the fish water environment toxic free.