Aquaponic came from words Aquaculture and Hydroponics. The meaning of this words is that plants and fishes grow together in one integrated system. It is become symbiotic mutualism for both of them. Aquaculture and hydroponic both have same down ends. Hydroponics needs costly nutritional value to nourish the vegetation, as well as aquaculture needs regular cleaning of the systems which will cause to waste removal problems.
Aquaculture needs to eliminated unwanted nutritional value from the system, in normal condition it will implies that some amount of the water is taken out, usually once a day. In aquaponic system, water from fish tank is circulated to plants that grow on the grow beds.
Some microorganisms are live on the top of grow beds. The microorganisms do great deal to transform fish ammonia waste become nitrates which very useful for plants. The process of transforming ammonia into nitrates is called “nitrogen cycle”.
Nitrifying bacteria turn fish waste materials in water into plant-available nutritional value. This nutrient rich mineral water needs to be got rid of then changed with water that is clean. The vegetation use these nutritional value as their primary source of nourishment.
The fish also get advantage from this process, since the plants filters the water, providing clean and fresh water for the fish to live in. Fish get fresh and clean water after the plants absorb nutrient from water. Even though re-circulating aquaculture and hydroponics are equally very efficient methods of developing fish and plants.
There are many types of media that use in grow beds in aquaponic system. The most common media use for grow beds are gravel and expanded clay pebbles. Anyway, aquaponic may adopt any hydroponic growing method. Plants can be planted on floating foam that placed on water.
Aquaponic can be used to grown many kind of fresh water fish. High quantity of fish can be bred in aquaponic system. It is also only use little amount of water due to recirculating nature of the systems.
Refer to some research, aquaponic only use 1/10th of water compare to amount of water needed to watering plants that growing in the ground. There are many benefits from aquaponics compare to aquaculture and hydroponics if both are implemented separately.
Big issue from aquaculture is forming of fish waste in the tank. The water need to be clean up regularly using filtering system and dispose the waste to environment. In other side, chemical fertilizer that use in hydroponic sooner or later will contaminate the water. Since the water become toxic, it can be used for irrigation anymore and have to disposed to environment.
Both of these issues no longer exist in aquaponic and make it as solution instead. Since aquaponice feed plants using waste water from fish tank, then no need to use chemical fertilizer. Finally there is no pollution to environment both from fish waste or chemical toxic.
Due to limitation to have water in some region, aquaponics that require small amount of water, may become solution to develop plant farming in this region. In other word it is possible to produce food in region that normally cannot produce it. Fish component from aquaponic may be also harvested and can be consumed.
Aquaponic Environmental Benefits
Reducing use of water
Due to water scarcity in many region, method of producing food with less water is become important. Only small amount of water is lost, since water from fish tank is recirculated to plant growing beds and back to the fish tank. Water only to be lost from evaporation, percolation or even runoff.
Reducing use of chemical fertilizer
In aquaponic, the use of chemical component is minimum since plants receive the nutrient from fish waste. Moreover, the usage of chemical substance can be bad for the fish, and may disturb natural interaction between fish and its habitat.
Minimizes erosion by reduction of the need to plough the land
The issue related to erosion is critical, with acres of valuable topsoil flush by and wind, streams suffering from buildup of silt.
Aquaponic commercial benefits
In general big farm food production requires good quality of land soil and need to use considerable amount of water.
Not all region have a lot of fertile area, and the cost of this area is high, for that reason we need alternative way to produce food. The good think is many people can build their own aquaponic easily, no matter the location as long as there is water supply. It can be just simple as rainwater stored in tanks.
It is very expensive the cost to build and maintain common horticultural farm, including cost for tractors, spraying pesticide, fertilizer and other. Those cost is very minimum in aquaponic system, specially cost on using chemical product, and it will be save money of the farmer. It is not good to use chemical compound for long time of period, however we always use them to produce our food.
Backyard Aquaponic Benefits
One of benefits for aquaponic is we can reduce big amount of water for watering plants comparing to conventional plant farming.
Placing plants and roots are above ground level is another benefit of aquaponic. It will give a chance to plant, grow and harvest without hardly bending your back and no need to digging up the soil.
Young kids also can learn on how to growing plants and fish from aquaponic in the backyard. They may also learn about ecology and water reservation.