What Is Aquaponics?
It is the term for the combination of two water-related food cultivation systems: Aquaculture – raising and breeding of water animals such as fish, and hydroponics – cultivating and growing plants in water as opposed to other growth mediums. Both aquaculture and hydroponics have had their pros and cons for food delivery dissected practically as long as the practices have been in existence. The combination of the two delivers a symbiotic solution to conventional food delivery needs. But why is this the case?
How does it differ from Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is simply the technological practice of growing plants directly in water instead of soil. The practice was originated in the 17th century, but the term wasn’t coined until 1937. Hydroponics supply plenty of organic produce, however, the nutrients used to feed the plants eventually has to be changed to avoid the water becoming toxic. This can become time consuming, require extra manpower, and lead to the loss of precious resources. Disposing of the waste is expensive as the EPA requires it to be removed by qualified handlers. This fact is rarely brought to the attention of those purchasing hydroponics arrangements. And by the time they realize the extra costs involved, it’s too late.
This type of structure avoids all of that mess and extra expense. How so? By creating a self-contained symbiotic relationship between plants and animals. The concept involves using fish and plants to nurture one another. Fish are kept in a tank of water, and various plants are grown on top of the water’s surface. As fish food and waste breaks down in the water, those toxins convert to nitrates, which are poisonous to fish in large doses. However, plants require broken down nitrogen (nitrates) to flourish. As the plant roots absorb the nitrates from the water, the food grows and the fish are free of the toxins that would otherwise kill them.
There is no chemical residue or toxic waste involved as there is in hydroponics. In fact, the only thing you’re responsible for once you’ve set up your turn-key system is feeding the fish a little bit each day and collecting your harvest on both ends. Not only can you collect up to 20 times more produce than conventional gardening, this type of system promotes healthy fish farming. If absolutely necessary, you can literally feed your family annually on just what you produce through your system.
What Is An Aquaponics Gardening System?
By now, you understand that fish are used to promote food growth, but just what does that entail? Well, each system is different, or can be anyway, based on your needs. There are companies which use entire warehouses to create their specialized gardening systems. But that’s obviously not necessary for the basic household.
Most families use part of their backyard, convert an existing greenhouse or use part of a shed or carport for their do-it-yourself structure. This form of gardening takes much less time, space, and attention than traditional soil gardening, so it’s almost completely self-sufficient once it’s set up. However, there are specific components required to get to that stage. The basics involve a tank or container to hold the fish, a container to hold the plants, and a way to connect the two.
How Cost Effective is it?
Aquaponics requires less space, less manual setup – you can create your own workable system on a lazy weekend, and often involves less upfront costs than a soil-based garden. The costs involved in setting up your system depend on the garden size you need and whether you have it professionally installed or devise a DIY system. In most cases, the latter is a more preferred route for several reasons.
But as far as cost effectiveness, this type of symbiotic, self-contained, turn-key system can easily produce anywhere from 5-20 times the amount of food as regular ground gardens. How is that the case? Well, there are limits to a normal garden. Planting must occur in the spring. A single harvest is typically delivered before the seeds harden. And much success is based on geographic location. Click here for aquaponics plants and crops reviews.
Planting time isn’t limited to a specific season as you can use grow lights. You can continue harvesting from a single planting as long as fruit continues sprouting. And while location is still an issue for outdoor use, those who use grow lights, wind turbines, or solar power panels have just as much luck, or more so, with their systems.
In fact, many people produce so much organic food from their aquaponics gardening systems that they end up selling a good portion of their supply. If you have contacts willing to buy your produce, you can create the perfect self-sustaining business that produces a significant profit in less than a year. Try asking a bank loan manager how many other starter businesses are that successful. Then get started on your own project to make him stop laughing.
Now that you know about aquaponics gardening systems get more information on best aquaponic systems design plans.
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