First of all, Aquaponics is a combination of Hydroponics and Aquaculture . Aquaculture or Aquafarming involves the farming of organisms which lives in water, for instance fish fish,molluscs, crustaceans and water plants.Basically Aquaculture is raising freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled circumstances.
Hydroponics is a category of hydroculture and symbolizes growing plants with the help of mineral nutrinets in water and it doesn't require soil at all. Unfortunately both Aquaculture and Hydroponics are not self sustienable , for example Aquaculture can amplify and transfer disease and parasites to wild fish populations also it can pollute water systems with excess nutrients (fish feed & wastes). But when these processes are combined all the bad aspects transform into positive ones, therefore this system is considered the perfect "fish and vegetable growing" mechanism. It's all natural like it supposed to be .The fishes feed with plants and the vegetables feed with fish waste.
Why is Aquaponics better than the classic 'soil growing' method?
Because is a system that does not require fertilizers and only uses very little energy, sometimes as little as it takes to run less than four light globes. Also it need about 10% of the water used in the classic soil growing
OK OK so how does it work?
Take a look at the following pic where we can see a fully functional :
The system pictured has fish tank , and a growbed filled with gravel placed above the level of the fish tank . Water is fired up from the fish tank into the gravel filled growbed. The water leakes down through the gravel, past the roots of the plants before draining back into the fish tank. The plants absorbes the water and nutrients they require to develop, sanitizing the water for the fish.On the surface bacteria develops which transforms ammonia wastes from the fish into nitrates which plants needs.This process is known as “the nitrogen cycle” and it is the most importantpart. . Plants are grown in floating foam rafts that sit on the water surface. Vegetables can also be grown with the help of Nutrient Film Technique , or through different other methods using a so-called “run to waste” method. This can be achieved by eliminating a certain ratio of the fish water each day and watering vegetables planted in different enviroments like coir peat, vermiculite, perlite etc. A variety of fish species can be grown in an Aquaponic system, but choosing the best fish species depends from various factors.A lot of fishes can be grown in an Aquaponic system and it can be extremely productive in a short period of time.But more about that in the next article.