Aquaponics is a hybrid system that combines organic farming, hydroponics (soiless plant culture), and recirculating aquaculture. This creates an ecosystem in which both plants and fish can thrive. Raising crops in this method is natural, sustainable, safe and uses one tenth of the water that traditional field methods require.
In aquaponics, both the fish and the plants are grown in the same body of water, using one infrastructure. This allows for a more efficient method of raising large volumes of fish and crops in a small space. By elimintating the soil in vegetable crop production the risk of all soil bourne disease is eliminated. Also, the use of chemical herbicides is eliminated since there is no soil for weeds to grow.
The key to bridging the gap between hydroponics and aquaculture is a healthy colony of beneficial microbes. These natural microbes convert the fish waste into a form in which the plants can use as nutrients to grow. As the plants consume the nutrients, they help to clean the water that the fish live in. Essentially, aquaponics mimics every natural waterway on earth. Since the fish are providing the nutrients needed for growth by the plants, there is no need for mined and manufactured minerals, as is required in hydroponics. Fish do not carry pathogens, such as e-coli and salmonella that warm blooded animals do making there waste a safer fertilizer option for food production.
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