What is Aquaponics?
Simply put, aquaponics is the combination of two food production systems; aquaculture, the growing of fish, and hydroponics, the growing of plants in a soil less medium.
Together these techniques form an integrated or polyculture system called Aquaponics. 🐟🍅🌱
How Does Aquaponics Work?
In the average backyard aquaponic system the water containing the fish waste flows from the fish tank into hydroponic style grow beds filled with a media.
This media serves as both a medium for plants to grow in, as well as a home to naturally occurring bacteria which are the true workhorses of this mini ecosystem turning the grow beds into living biofilters.
In an aquaponic grow bed you will find many different types of microorganisims but there are two main varieties bacteria, nitrosomonas and nitrobacter, that will convert two different forms of nitrogen compounds (that are toxic to fish) into plant available and fish friendly nitrate.
This process is called the “Nitrogen Cycle”.
In the first step of the process bacteria from the nitrosomonas genus will process the ammonia from the fish waste into nitrites, hydrogen & water.
Bacteria from another genus, called nitrobacter, will then process the nitrites into plant available nitrates.
Both of these genus of bacteria occur in the atmosphere and soil everywhere so will turn up on their own once you provide them the right environment to live in.
Once the water passes through the media filled grow beds and is converted by the bacteria, the water is then returned to the fish tank where it is ready to be loaded up with more waste to be cycled through the grow beds continually.
To put it more succinctly, I see aquaponics as a form of aquaculture that uses a living filter system to process the ammonia and other fish waste, so the water can be recycled within the system in a sustainable manner.
As a beneficial byproduct we get to harvest vegetables and fruit, as well as raising some home grown fish protein.
“So Sign Me Up! Where Do I start?”
So you think you might like to have a crack at your own system, SWEET! 👍😊
By clicking on this button you’ll find a couple of “how to” videos on two small DIY systems. Both of these clips run through the parts needed & give directions on how you can create your own system.