Nick Savidov with basil crop and fish tanks in background.
Aquaponic systems are being increasingly recognised as having potential for solving some of the many problems facing modern agriculture and aquaculture. MIKE NICHOLS profiles two very different commercial aquaponic systems that embrace new ideas and innovations.

Deep flow system showing aeration.
I recently stopped off for a few days in Alberta, Canada, to meet up with Dr Nick Savidov, the Greenhouse Team Leader of the Crops Diversification Research Centre, Brooks, where I was briefed about their $15 million investment in state-of-the-art research greenhouses to be built in the next 12 months. I also learnt that he has greatly improved his aquaponic project with a few minor ‘tweaks’, which now make it significantly more productive and sustainable than the model developed by Jim Rekocy (US Virgin Islands) on which the original Brooks project was based.

Nick has made more efficient use of expensive greenhouse floor space by joining all the beds into a single ‘pond’ by doing away with all the paths and discarding the aquarium stone bubblers and replacing them with air lines of PVC tubing with small holes.

View of root system of basil plants.
In the new facility, he has improved water, space, and labour efficiency and eliminated chemicals including pesticides, fertilisers and pH adjustments. A new component has been incorporated into the system called Biofloc based on Geotube® technology, which allows him to physically separate solid waste from water. The water is then returned back to the system instead of being pumped out with solids as in the previous model. Solids are allowed to stay in the system gradually releasing nutrients due to a bio-fermentation process and thus serving as a slow-release fertiliser. He has found that the solids removed from the water using GeoTube® technology and stored in the Geotube® tank have been degrading with increasing rate releasing additional nutrients to the system. The result is nutrient use efficiency close to 100%. In other words, for the first time, he has created a recirculating self-sustainable system, which allows the conversion of practically all the organic material (fish feed) input into food (fish and plant biomass).

Hydroponic Garden
Basil plants and fish tanks
Bacteria are the key to the whole system, and it is interesting to note that according to Dr Savidov in year one the aquaponics system produces only 70% of the yield of a conventional hydroponic system, but in year two yields may be as much as 30-40% higher than those obtained using conventional hydroponics. He attributes the difference to micro-organisms in the system that take a year to develop the right balance.

Aquaponics in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands I visited the Greenhouse Improvement Centre at Bleiswijk primarily to meet with Willem Kemmers (of Priva), the Project Leader of EcoFutura (Fish and Tomato Project, another name for aquaponics) and with Pim Wilhelm, the fish biologist.

Fish and tomatoes - Bleiswijk, Netherlands.
The Fish and Tomato project is most impressive, and so it should be as it is supported by some major industry players. The fish tanks are held inside the greenhouse, below the hanging troughs in which the tomatoes are grown in Grodan rockwool. I have personal difficulties with the project, however, in terms that it is not a fully re-circulating system, and also the nutrient stream from the fish is sterilised with ultraviolet light before it is used on the tomatoes, and at the same time the solution is analysed, and the pH adjusted, and other nutrients added to suit the tomatoes. Similarly, many of the organic solids are removed and dumped. The drainage is then returned to the fish tanks, but is again modified (by increasing the pH) to suit the fish.

Thus, this is not the same as the fully re-circulating and sustainable system as has been developed in Alberta.

One of the difficulties of aquaponics is providing crops such as tomatoes with the optimum conductivity (about 3.5mS) necessary to ensure a high quality tomato in the middle of the winter. The conductivity of a solution coming directly from the fish phase is normally very low, but in a deep flow system this is not important as the nutrients flow past the roots, and the leafy crops are able to absorb adequate nutrients, however with tomatoes the objective is to use conductivity to control growth and fruit quality, and this is difficult (impossible) with a deep flow system using aquaponics.

However, when using a media-based hydroponic system such as rockwool or coir, it should be possible to control the conductivity of the solution by using reverse flow osmosis, and directing the water phase back to the fish, and the high conductivity stream to the plants.

Aquaponics is taking off in Canada as a teaching tool. A number of schools have now purchased Nick’s mini aquaponic set up, which he developed as a research tool. They are using this to demonstrate to school students some of the simple principles of ecology and biology.

Aquaponics vs organics
Sadly, the mainstream organic principals still do not like aquaponics. The argument is that it is unnatural, because the plants are not grown in the soil. A very strange decision when the system is certainly the most environmentally friendly and sustainable system that currently exists, as no nutrients are leached through the soil profile, and the system is particularly water efficient. Growing organically in soil is neither water nor nutrient efficient when compared to aquaponics!

In any case, how do you define soil? Basically it is:
• solid particles (e.g. sand, clay silt)
• organic matter
• micro-organisms
• water
• gases (oxygen, CO2 etc.).

An aquaponic system comprises all of these apart from solid particles, and these could be easily added to the system! The addition of a rock or two to the deep flow system should be more than adequate.

It is interesting to note that greenhouse soil-based organic systems usually produce only about 60% of the yield of a conventional hydroponic crop. In Canada, organic certification is available for crops grown using aquaponics, provided that they are grown in a cocopeat (coir) medium!




全日照  8個小時日照 瓜類、茄果類、豆類、山藥、豆薯(地瓜)。番茄、黃瓜、茄子、辣椒等喜溫中、強光性









菜豆生育過程中,主要吸收鉀和氮較多,還要吸收一定量的磷和鈣,才能良好發育。結莢期吸收磷鉀量較大。磷鉀肥對菜豆植株的生長發育、根瘤菌的發育、花芽分化、開花結莢和種子的發育等均有影響。缺乏磷肥,菜豆嫩莢和種子的品質和產量就會降低。缺鈣,幼葉葉片捲曲,葉緣失綠和生長點死亡。缺硼,則根係不發達,影響根瘤菌固氮,使花和豆莢發育不良。 耐陰半陰(大概3-4小時日照) 應選擇耐陰的蔬菜種植,如萵…


蝶豆花 原產拉丁美洲的蝶豆花是一種典型的熱帶蔓藤植物,全年盛開。
butterfly pea,拉丁語叫:Clitoria ternatea,泰語叫Dok Anchan
營養價值 蝶豆花具有豐富的維他命A,C和E, 而且可以提高免疫力, 幫助和促進皮膚的彈力和骨膠原, 同時還具有補腦,促進腦的活力,防止胃痛,抗憂郁、抗壓力、鎮靜、止驚厥、緩和情緒等天然保健功效。
食用價值 蝶豆花的可食部位是葉、花及嫩莢。較幼嫩的葉片及盛開的花朵,亦可拿來煮湯、油炸等。用嫩芽來炒肉絲或煮熟後食用,都十分可口。蝶豆花的葉及花的萃取液,可當作純天然的食品染料。



◎飼養與管理的重點 只要不是劇烈的變化,錦鯉很容易適應各水溫水質等環境的變化。並不是沒有大庭園就無法飼養,有人甚至在二樓陽台或頂樓陽台造水池飼養。然而我們是欣賞錦鯉雄壯豪邁之氣,因此水池盡量寬闊為宜,以水深1.2m以上為理想。魚池必須有底水排出,過濾循環等設備。用水不一定要取地下水,自來水也可以飼養。
良好的魚餌不會崩壞鯉的體型。餌的量也是在夏天水溫 高的時候,訂定停餌期間,才是整體來說使鯉變胖最重要的秘訣。如果還是想 要給很多餌的話,要增加循還量。錦鯉在水溫超過28度的時候,應給與相當於 鯉全體重量3%的餌。水溫25度時1.5%,水溫20度時0.3%,16度以下則要停止鯉餌,這就是鯉魚長得強壯的要訣。連續不斷地給鯉餌的話,引起內臟障礙, 而影響到鯉不會長壯,甚至導至體型的變歪。