What is Aquaponics?Aquaponics is the farming of fish and plants in a singlerecirculating system. The waste from the fish becomes thenutrients for the plants, and the plants in turn remove thesenutrients from the water, purifying it for the fish. In this way, thefish waste is used to grow a plant crop that becomes a secondincome stream for little extra cost. In fact, it works so well thatthe plants become the primary crop by volume and value.
Types of Aquaponics: There are three main types of Aquaponics: 1. Gravel Bed Culture (GBC) 2. Deep Water Culture (DWC) 3. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
Gravel Bed Culture (GBC) In this the plants are rooted in coarse gravel or aggregate media. Bacteria grow on the media and convert the ammonia excreted by the fish to nitrate. Plants within the grow beds remove the nitrate from the water, which then returns to the fish in a clean and healthy form. No mechanical or biological filtration is required as the gravel beds suit both purposes. This method is most variable in terms of the range of crops that can be grown and there is no waste water discharge.
Deep Water Culture (DWC) The water from the fish is filtered mechanically and biologically to remove the solids from suspension and convert the toxic ammonia to benign nitrate. This clean water then travels down the length of a tank of water in which polystyrene rafts are floated. Plants are rooted through the holes in the polystyrene sheets and into the water below, where the roots take up nutrients from the water. DWC is most suited to leafy crops and there is some discharge of water during the filtration process.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) As with DWC the water is filtered prior to going to the plants, but in this case the plants are rooted through holes in pipes. The tip of the root touches the bottom surface of the pipe and absorbs nutrients from a thin film of water trickling down the length of the pipe. NFT is very susceptible to heat uptake or loss as the air temperature changes, and the plants can be lost quickly through drying out during a power failure. This method also results in the loss of water and nutrients during filter cleaning, and is also best suited to leafy crops.
Why Aquaponics ?Aquaponics is not only a most enjoyable way of producing highquality, wholesome crops as a business or for own use, but it alsohas several distinct advantages over both aquaculture andhydroponics.
Advantages of Aquaponics foodproduction Fish waste is utilised as plant feed rather than being wasted Excellent crop quality - both in terms of taste and appearance provides a truly organic form of nutrients for the plants produces an organic product (no fertilizer or herbicides used) no soil-borne disease as there is no soil no water is wasted or consumed by weeds Low electrical usage - commercial system (300m2) runs on <1kW of power !!!
Systems do not require mechanical or biological filters - the processes all occur naturally, saving money and resulting in a natural, stable environment Low labour requirement relatively small spaces required as plant spacing can be intensive plants grow and develop relatively quickly Faster cash flow generation than aquaculture Constant production throughout the year - markets love this Ability to produce `out-of-season crops
Crop harvesting is quick and easy, regardless of the weather outside Crops can be grown all year-round. In most climates a greenhouse is required Higher yields than conventional farming Faster growth to market size due to optimal conditions being maintained Root temperature very stable resulting in fewer disease issues than hydroponics No crop rotation needed & No weeds to pull out
Cultivable plants in Aquaponics Bendi - Okra Paku - Athyrium Esculentum Cherry Tomato Pudina - Mint Daun Pandan - Pandanus Sambung Nyawa - Gynura Amaryllifolius Procumbens Kangkong - Water Spinach Serai - Lemon Grass Keladi - I Yam not Taro Stevia Rebaudiana Kesum - Knotweed Leaf Ulam Raja - Cosmos Caudatus Kunyit - Turmeric Mengkudu Hutan - morinda elliptica