Aquaponics is a food production system based upon mother-nature’s own method of recycling fish waste by feeding it to plants. In a nutshell, that’s the bare-bones definition. You should also know it is highly adaptable to home-based use, is low maintenance, produces very high amount of food/area (food density), and requires very little external inputs.
How it Works – Layman’s Version
Live fish are grown in a tank. Tank water, which contains fish waste, is pumped from the tank to grow-beds. Grow beds are simple containers filled with gravel and which have plants planted in them on top. Gravel in the grow beds will naturally come to host bacterial colonies which will convert fish waste into plant food. Plants consume the food, water is returned to the fish tank via gravity, and you get to eat organically grown fruits, vegetables, and fish. The fish are happy because their water is kept clean. The plants are happy and grow quickly because they are receiving nutrients 24/7, and you should be happy and healthy having access to home-grown, organically produced food. The only external inputs to the system are electricity and fish food – however even the fish food can be system-grown.
How it Works – Detailed Explanation
You need not understand anything more than the layman’s explanation above in order to get started with Aquaponics. However, a little more knowledge certainly doesn’t hurt and will help you understand how the system works.
Aquaponics takes advantage of mother-nature’s own methods to convert fish waste into plant food. At the heart of this system is what is commonly referred to as the Nitrogen Cycle.
Nitrogen is an essential element necessary for life on Earth as we know it. The Nitrogen Cycle is a series of chemical processes whereby nitrogen from the environment is consumed by living organisms and processed into various different nitrogen-based chemical forms. This is accomplished via a chain of living organisms, each utilizing nitrogen in some way to live, and converting it into another nitrogen-based chemical structure which is then needed by another organism. In this way, nitrogen is continually cycled from the environment, through the biological system, and back into the environment.
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