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Aquaponics: a smart innovation

0 Comments 01 September 2010

Aquaponics: a smart innovation

Many of our previous posts remind you of the importance of environment conservation and the need to limit water pollution considering that it has severe consequences on a variety of ecosystems and on the humankind. The stability and conservation of water is directly dependent on the survival of entire ecosystems. Aquaponics, an innovative style of gardening, is an interesting example of the interdependence between the survival of plants and sea creatures such as fish. Aquaponics blends together aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the art of growing plants soil free).  Fish help plants to grow and in exchange plants help the fish without the use of any chemical products. This system depending on symbiotic relationships uses a lot less water than a normal field plant production or a conventional fish culture.

This eco-friendly way to produce vegetables for home or sale consumption has seen a revival in the past years amongst a growing rate of Americans who want to grown their own greens. In this process, the waste produced by the fish becomes an automatic recycled form of nutrients for the plants. The water from the fish tank, rich in nutrients is pumped into the area where the plants are grown. “The plants clean the water of excess nutrients, the water is then oxygenated by simple means and is reused again and again in the fish rearing tanks” (Source: Lettuce, chives, tomatoes and cucumbers all have successfully been raised in aquaponics; in addition to flowers such as rose or lilies. This simple process permits the recycling of water that would otherwise be considered useless waste. The functionally of this system is based on a mutual exchange: the plants purify the water while they get extra nutriments in exchange from the fish. This approach is totally eco-friendly since not only water is recycled, but also the usually chemical fertilizers are not need and cannot be used since they are harmful to the integration of the plants and fish. This system is revolutionary insofar a well operated structure uses “about one tenth of the water required for normal vegetable growing and reduces the water needed for single usage fish farming by 95% or greater” (Source: This year long sustainable method of agriculture is particularly popular in Australia a country that has suffered numerous draughts.

In the United States, aquaponics seems to be at a early flourishing stage with a gradual increase in sales and demand. Rebbeca Nelson part of the Nelson & Pade company, publishes the Aquaponics Journal ( and sells aquaponics systems in the USA. She has stated that subscriptions have doubled in the past years and she “estimates that there may be 800 to 1,200 aquaponics set-ups in American homes and yards and perhaps another 1,000 bubbling away in school science classrooms” (Source:  If you are intrigued by aquaponics but have long-term commitment issues, an Atlanta based company called Earth Solution sells kits on the internet called “ farm in a box” that range from a price of 300$  to 3, 000$.  According to experts, aquaponics will replace hydroponics on the long term considering that it has considerable advantages over the practice of hydroponics: first of all the nutrient source is organic since it derives from fish waste and second of all, aquaponics provides a protein crop that is lacking in hydroponics.

This environmental friendly system is quickly developing in the United States and soon enough the industry will develop for both salt and fresh water fish. The product seems to be the future of gardening at a time where the world is suffering from a world crisis and where every single drop of water can make the difference.  This system is totally organic and recycles water that maintains the fish alive and enables plants to grow. For countries that suffer from droughts this might be a revolutionary method.



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