Aquaponics is an integration of two farming techniques: Aquaculture and Hydroponics.
- Aquaculture is the farming of fish in ponds. It results in waste water that is polluted with manure wastes that must be filtered and disposed of.
- Hydroponics is the farming of plant food in a water medium. It requires large inputs of plant food and it results waste water containing unused nutrients.
In Aquaponics, theses systems are integrated to eliminate the problem of waste water by circulating the water between the fish pond and the plant grow-bed. The fish do not need to be eaten if you prefer not to.
Fish. We use the word ‘fish’ loosely to mean any type of aquatic life, all of which can be used in an aquaponics system. Various aquatic species are generally not mixed in the one pond as they tend to eat each other. You can start a system using Goldfish and progress to Perch or other species.
The fish waste is converted by bacteria to nitrates that are useable by the plants as food and thus the plant grow-bed acts as a biofilter for the fish water. The fish can eat plants grown in the pond or compost worms or soldier fly larvae bred in composting systems depending on their nutritional preferences.
Plants grown in the fish pond also help aerate the water, although they can also take out some of the nutrients that the food plants need plus some species like duckweed can take over the pond and should be grown in a separate pond.