In these days of climate change, over population, and depletion of our resources; sustainability of produce production is more important now than ever before. Aquaponics systems, with its methods of fish farming that is connected to vegetable growing, is a great solution for families as well as commercial growers.
There are many Fish Farming facilities that have sprung up in recent years. This commercial growth is significant enough by itself, but the addition of home growers with their creative experimentation, has expanded the possibilities of aquaponic system designs that are just as important if not more so.
Fish farming has turned into a profitable alternative to open water fishing in the US, the UK, and other regions around the world. However, offshore fish farming pens are under attack by environmental groups that have found that these fish are treated with non-humane practices. These edible fish are fed antibiotics, pesticides, and other toxic pharmaceuticals. Eating farmed salmon has been cautioned as being one of the most toxic foods in the world. The pens they live in are overcrowded which is a menu for disease exposure. Additionally, the sea floor beneath them has a layer of up to 15 feet of waste including bacteria colonies such as infectious Salmon Anemia Virus.
With an aquaponic system management of fish, these aqua animals are kept healthy because of the organic practices embedded into this system. Managing the health of the plants means using no pesticides or other toxins in caring for them, unlike soil-based garden practices. The water stays clean because of the bio filter environment of bacteria colonies that turn fish waste into nutrients. The water along with its nutrient solution is recycled in a closed system. The result is a self-sustained food machine that can be employed by you and me to feed our families, and even create a cottage industry to make money on the side if so desired.
The three basic Aquaponic systems are the grow media, the NFT (nutrient film technique), and Deep-Water Culture systems. Each of these involve a combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and Hydroponics (a soil-less environment of plant roots growing in water).
How you go about setting up any one of these 3 types will be dependant on:
1. What type of crops you want to grow.
2. The type of fish you want to raise, and whether or not they are edible, and are they fresh or saltwater types.
3. Will your system be outdoors, indoors, or divided into warm and cold seasons.
4. How much space you have available for your system.
All systems will require a tank of some kind for the fish. A component that houses the plants. A bio filter to control the conversion of fish waste (ammonia) whether it be integrated naturally into the fish tank, or a separate inline filtration device.
These systems are able to be modified especially for home growers in experimentation. Trial and error may be needed at first, but ultimately a farming system that provides optimum nutrition and wellness as an ethical alternative to all.