How Aquaponics Works
This method of farming fish and crops is a good thing on several different levels. First of all, it removes fertilizer and chemicals from the agricultural process. The fish waste acts as a natural fertilizer for the crops, instead. Second of all, it saves water because the water is recycled within the tanks rather than sprayed across a field of crops with abandon. Thirdly, an aquaponics environment can be set up anywhere, so it reduces the need for local communities to import fish and crops from other countries. That saves fuel -- also a positive.
Let's learn how this ancient farming method is applied today.
Cultivating plants and fish through aquaponics is both easy on the environment and easy on finances. Aquaponic systems don't use any chemicals, and they require about 10 percent of the water used in regular farming. The systems are closed -- that is, once they've been filled with water, only a small amount is introduced into the system thereafter to replace evaporated water. But how can a water-based system use less water than conventional farming?
The answer is the continual reuse and recycling of water through naturally occurring biological processes. Basically, the waste from fish produces natural bacteria that converts waste like ammonia into nitrate. This nitrate is then absorbed by plants as a source of nutrients. The basic principle of aquaponics is to put waste to use.
Let's take a look at the step-by-step process:
Fish living in aquaponic tanks excrete waste and respirate ammonia into water. Ammonia is toxic to fish in high concentrations, so it has to be removed from the fish tanks for fish to remain healthy.