What is aquaponics?

I first heard about aquaponics a few years ago. Former basketball player Will Allen was promoting aquaponics in the city to help the residents to be able to feed themselves.  Aquaponics is the gardening technique of bringing hydroponics together with aquatics.  The system works like this.  Fish are contained in a tank.  As the fish produce waste, bacteria helps to break the waste down into nitrogen.  The nitrogen enriched water is pumped to plants that are being grown hydroponically.  This acts as a natural fertilizer for the plants.  When the plants absorb this water into their roots, they purify the water.  That water is then cycled back into the tank containing fish.  If you do this on a large enough scale, you can have edible fish growing in the fish tank.  This way you can grow both fish that you can eat and have a thriving vegetable garden at the same time.

I recently learned that one of two commercial aquaponics companies in the country is operating within a couple of hours drive from where I live.  They’re called Aquaranch and I have contacted them to see if I can set up a field trip for my kids (and for myself).  So far I have not heard from them.  I’m going to try again because I think this would be a great learning experience.

There several ways that you can do aquaponics on your own.  There are some companies selling aquaponics systems but it seems that most people make their own.   Here are some small scale aquaponics system that I found in the Internet and also some large scale aquaponics systems.

Since it’s hard to get the gist of what I’m talking about, here’s a great video that I found that explains the system and shows how this can work on a large scale such as at Aquaranch.

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