Basics
of Aquaponics

In
an aquaponics system, one of the components is a hydroponic bed
wherein crops are grown with the use of nutrient enriched solution.
The other component is a tank or aquarium wherein fish are grown.

These two systems coexist and depend on each other for growth. As the
fish grow, the tank becomes filled with excreta and other waste
matter. This water needs to be changed frequently so that the fish
can survive and flourish in clean water. In a conventional
aquaculture setting, the dirty water is generally disposed of, which
is a great waste of a precious natural resource and also the fish
excrement, which is an invaluable plant nutrient.

An
aquaponics system uses the waste matter from the fish tank, by having
it treated with natural bacteria that convert the fish waste to
nutrients that are usable by plants. In the hydroponic section, the
plants use the nutrients in the water as they grow. Over time, this
water must be replaced with new nutrient-rich water, so that the
plant growth can be continued at a normal pace. This is where the
nutrient-rich water from the fish tank comes in. After being treated
with bacteria, this water is passed on to the hydroponic section,
where it replaces the water that is depleted of nutrients.

The
nutrient-free water from the hydroponics section is not usable by the
plants, but it is safe for the fish because it is free of waste
matter and other nutrients that become toxic to the fish. This water
is sent to the fish tank, where it stays until it becomes riddled
with fish waste again. The same process is then repeated, wherein the
fish waste is converted to plant nutrients and supplied to the plants
and the tank water is replaced by waste water from the hydroponic
area.

Aquaponics
has several advantages over independent hydroponics and aquaculture
systemsIt provides a harvest of crop as well as fish, all without
the need for soil. There is no waste involved because of the
continuous recycling that goes on. Aquaponics systems function on
less water as well, because additional water is only required when
sizable amounts of moisture are lost to evaporation.

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