Aquaponics is one of the most well-loved and sustainable ways to produce fresh vegetables and fruits and, at the same time, sustain a freshwater fish system.
Aquaponics eliminates the common disadvantages of more traditional vegetable gardens while improving upon existing closed freshwater fish systems. With this technique, you’ll be hitting two birds with one stone: fish will thrive in the closed freshwater system and produce the nutrients needed by plants.
The plants, on the other hand, will benefit from the waste products produced by the fish. As the plants feed on the nutritious soup within the system, the plants filter and clean the water, too.
This approach is very sustainable and many aquaponic enthusiasts around the country have already experienced great success with creating sustainable aquaponic systems that regularly produce organic vegetables and tasty, clean fish.
Aquaponics is usually defined as a hybrid of two existing methods: aquaculture and hydroponics.
Aquaculture is the process of raising fish in closed systems. Hydroponics, on the other hand, endeavors to produce fresh fruits and vegetables using water alone — with no soil to speak of. When you combine these two older systems, you get aquaponics.
Now why would anyone be interested in aquaponics anyway? Here are some of the main advantages:
1. Aquaponics does not require a lot of space.
2. You will end up harvesting both fish and vegetables (or fruits, if you prefer).
3. It’s relatively easy to set up your own aquaponic system.
4. It is not expensive at all to create and maintain an aquaponic system.
5. Aquaponic systems are expandable. As you continue to master the process, you can add sections to your existing system to increase your yield/harvest.
6. You can find aquaponics practitioners around the country. You’ll be able to reach out to people with identical interests and learn from them when you are just starting out.
Aquaponic systems can be scaled up or scaled down, depending on your personal production needs. A small aquaponic system can produce up to fifty kilograms of fresh fish such as tilapia every six months… and let’s not forget the one hundred kilogram vegetable yield!
If you want to sell organic vegetables, fruits, and fish, you can expand your operation to produce a higher target harvest. Of course, you’ll need more space and a more powerful water pumping system, but these are just one-time requirements of the system.
Once you have the expanded system in place, that’s it – you won’t have any more problems. All you have to do at that point in time is to maintain the system so all your plants and fish grow well. An abundant harvest from an aquaponics system means that the system is clean and enough attention has been given to it on a day-to-day basis.
Remember: no one is too old or too inexperienced to start their own aquaponics system. If the desire to be self-sufficient is there and you have the passion to get things done, aquaponics is definitely right for you!