What Is Aquaponics and What Are Its Benefits?

We are cutting down more and more forests so that agriculture can expand, but aquaponics may help us reduce the number of trees lost. Deforestation results in disturbed ecosystems and population loss. Trees also help purify the air of greenhouse gases and produce the oxygen we breathe. Aquaponics does not require the loss of trees to provide plants.

What Is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics combines the two practices of aquaculture and hydroponics. The first refers to the raising of aquatic life, and the latter is the method of growing plants in water with additional nutrients. Using the same water, the fish produce waste that acts as a fertilizer for the plants. In return, the plants purify the water the fish inhabit. They benefit each other and help each other to grow. This method imitates the natural processes that occur in lakes, rivers, and ponds—making it a healthy habitat for all the organisms involved.

It Offers Year-Round Farming

Because aquaponics uses a tank, anyone can take this kind of farming indoors. This keeps the plants and fish safe from the elements and keeps them at the right temperature. Warm conditions will help both organisms grow throughout the year, regardless of seasons. You can harvest any time of the year and have fresh produce and fish.

No Soil Means No Unwanted Plants

Growing plants without soil brings its own benefits. For one, because they are not exposed to other plants and seeds, you do not have to worry about weeds growing with the crop. You do not have to hurt your knees or back trying to dig into the soil to pull the weed out by the root. If an unwanted plant makes its way into your tank, it takes a fraction of the effort to remove.

Not using soil also eliminates soil-borne diseases, such as root rot, damping-off, fungi, and nematodes.

The Process is Natural and Sustainable

Aquaponics does not involve giving fish growth hormones and antibiotics, and the plants are free of pesticides and herbicides. There will not be any unwanted chemicals interfering with the natural growth of the organisms. The system is also sustainable and highly productive.

It Uses Less Water

This method of agriculture uses 90 percent less water (and land) than traditional agriculture. It also prevents waste from entering the watershed. Aquaponics is also able to grow eight times more food per acre when compared to traditional, making it more efficient than other methods.

Conclusion

Aquaponics provides both a protein and vegetable crop, making this method ideal for feeding households and communities. If an area does not have the land available, they can still provide food for their families and economies. It is a sustainable method of farming that does not include some of the downsides—like deforestation—of traditional methods. This means that we can protect ecosystems, reduce waste, and provide sustainable food all at once.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Lacey Jolley
 

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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