Contraction of the words « aquaculture » (fish farming) and « hydroponics » (cultivation of plants above ground) aquaponics is the symbiosis between plants, fish and bacteria. To make a brief, it is a natural mini eco-system in which the waste of one element becomes the food of another element in the system. If this culture technology can be akin to gardening, it’s not just that. The aquaponics can allow to strive for autonomy and food independence for families, or groups!
How does the aquaponics work?
Here is a diagram illustrating the functioning of the aquaponics: we feed the fish… That produce dejections which, in turn, produce ammonia. This water stained by manure is rich in nitrogen composed of ammonium and urea. A pump brings this water into culture bins containing a substrate colonized by bacteria and plants. The substrate can be pebbles, shale, expanded clay etc. These bacteria, in other Nitrobacter and Nitrospira, transform ammonia and urea into nitrites and then into nitrates. Nitrites and nitrates are directly assimilated by the plants. At the end of the process, at the exit of the culture bins, the water is purified and no longer contains any toxic substances for the health of the fish. The culture trays therefore play an ideal filter role. At first glance, this above ground method can surprise, but it offers real and many advantages!
A very old culture technique
It is an ancestral technique used for millennia in Asia and Latin America among the Aztecs (Chinampas). In Europe, the aquaponics has a 20-year lag on Australia, America, Canada and Japan.
A very productive method of culture
The aquaponics offers many advantages. I will try to list the most important benefits. 1) Many studies show that vegetables grown in aquaponics grow 2 to 3 times faster than in a traditional vegetable garden. 2) plants and fish produced in aquaponics are of exceptional nutritional quality. Their nutritional qualities are identical to those grown in organic farming. Since plant roots are in constant contact with oxygen and nutrients, the permissible crop densities are much more important than in conventional culture. Not having to grow as much and not competing with one another, you can plant vegetables within a few centimetres of each other. 4) The aquaponics saves between 70 and 80% of the water required in conventional culture. 5) every 6 to 8 months, you can eat or sell the high fish in your aquaponics system.