Aquaponics is defined as the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system.
In our system, fish are raised in 6-500-gallon tanks. The fish waste goes through a series of clarification tanks where “good bacteria” break down the ammonia in the fish waste to nitrite, and then to nitrate which is nutrients for plants. This nitrate rich water is then pumped to grow beds where the leafy green vegetables absorb the nutrients. The water is then pumped back into the fish tanks, thus the closed loop re-circulating system.
Aquaponics is not a new form of agriculture. Although the term “aquaponics” wasn’t coined until the 1970’s. A similar form of agriculture can be traced back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Chinampas used by the Aztecs in Mexico in approximately 1,000 AD.
Aquaponics allows sustainable production of leafy green vegetables in a controlled climate year-round. There are no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers used on the plants. The water re-circulates back to the fish and chemicals added would kill the fish. One quarter acre of aquaponics can produce the equivalent of one acre of traditional agriculture. Traditional agriculture also uses 20 times the amount of water than aquaponics.
Produce grown aquaponically isn’t considered “Organic” because there is no soil involved. It is, however, all natural and can be classified as “Certified Naturally Grown”. Environmental contaminants such as E-coli, are eliminated in aquaponics because fish are cold blooded and no coliforms are in their waste.