Aquaponics

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The most simple definition of Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish.

The third participants are microbes(nitrifying bacteria). These bacteria convert ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, and then into nitrates.  Nitrates are the form of nitrogen that plants can uptake and use to grow. Solid fish waste is turned into vermicompost that also acts as food for the plants.

 

In combining both hydroponic and aquaculture systems, aquaponics capitalizes on their benefits, and eliminates the drawbacks of each.

 

Instead of using dirt or toxic chemical solutions to grow plants, aquaponics uses highly nutritious fish effluent that contains all the required nutrients for optimum plant growth. Instead of discharging water, aquaponics uses the plants, naturally occurring bacteria, and the media in which they grow in to clean and purify the water, after which it is returned to the fish tank. This water can be reused indefinitely and will only need to be topped-off when it is lost through transpiration from the plants and evaporation.