by Tony L.
What is this aquaponics? Is it hydroponics? No. Is it farming? Maybe. In fact, Aquaponics is a combination of both hydroponics and aquaculture. Hydroponics is just a term for growing plants without soil. So, what makes an aquaponics system is that you are farming (growing) plants suspended above a fish tank and essentially you have a self-sustainable environment. The plants and fish use and recycle each other’s waste, making this system very efficient at using resources.
However, what makes an aquaponics system special is that it can be a substitute to conventional farming.
Conventional Farming vs. Aquaponics System
- Conventional farming relies on monoculture crops, meaning that only one type of plant can be farmed in an area. Aquaponics systems allow multiple crops to be grown alongside fish, which equals double the productivity and double the profits!
- A lot of pesticides and fertilizers are used in conventional farming, which often pollute stream and river runoff. The fish in an aquaponics system provide nutrients for the plants, and vice versa, so there is little need for artificial fertilizers.
- Conventional farming uses a lot of water, which has negative impacts on streams, rivers, and watersheds. In a self-contained aquaponics system, the water is recycled much more efficiently, reducing the impact on the environment.
- Conventional farming takes up a lot of land area. A compact aquaponics system can be put anywhere, even in your home or on an otherwise unused rooftop.
As you can see, an aquaponics system can provide a solution to some of the many problems that conventional farming produces.
Even though an aquaponics system seems to favor the conservation of the land environment, aquaponics can also promote conservation for the marine environment. Scientists have long known that the world’s oceans are in danger. As a matter of fact, 40% of the world’s fish populations have been overexploited and fish populations are at an all-time low. Imagine if aquaponics systems where used by people who farmed fish commercially: it would not only reduce polluted water run-off, but also help to protect the fish populations in the wild. An aquaponic system brings is sustainability for us, the land, and the marine environment.
An aquaponics system is not very difficult to make, all you need is a plant that grows great with water, a fish tank to hold the fish, pipes to pump the water in a cycle to reach the plants and a light source. Once you’ve made an aquaponics system, you are on your way to have fresh vegetables to eat and a nice decoration in your home. You’ll probably never have to feed your fish again!
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