Learn About Aquaponics.
What is aquaponics?
Aquaponics is the method of combining aquaculture and hydroponic systems in order to mimic a natural ecosystem. In this ecosystem, water, bacteria, aquatic life, and plants all work together to create a perfect fertilizer for the plants being grown.
After eating, fish produce waste that just so happens to be the perfect fertilizer for growing plants. Essentially, aquaponics is a method of putting fish to work! We are able to exchange the waste byproduct from the fish as a food for the bacteria and convert it into a perfect fertilizer for the plants, which will return the water in a clean and safe form back to the fish. Just like many aquatic ecosystems found in waterways all over the world.
How does aquaponics benefit us?
Aquaponics systems utilizes the waste of one element to benefit another mimicking a natural ecosystem. It’s the best method of growing that really doesn't have downsides if performed correctly.
- Eliminates weeds
- No toxic run-off
- Uses 1/10th of the water of soil-based gardening techniques
- No harmful chemicals used, such as pesticides or herbicides
- Fewer chores. Aquaponics growers only need to focus on the enjoyable tasks of feeding the fish and tending to and harvesting the plants
- Expensive hydroponic nutrients are replaced by less expensive fish feed
- Zero waste since aquaponics never requires discharging water
How do I implement aquaponics?
For the St. Philips aquaponics farm, we use the deep water culture (DWC) method. Using the DWC method, we built a system that uses a foam raft floating in a channel filled with water. The raft contains fish waste byproduct, which is filtered to remove solid byproduct. Plants are then placed in holes in the raft and the roots are allowed to dangle freely in the water. The DWC method is most effective for growing salad greens and other low-nutrient, fast growing plants.