(Image Credit: Wikimedia)
Aquaponics may have just revolutionized the future of the agriculture industry. Through combining the integration of a culture of fish with hydroponic plant production, the science of aquaponics creates a self-sustaining environment where the waste from the fish is filtered in to the plants, providing them nutrients while subsequently purifying the water for the fish as well. The implied benefits behind this technology may be staggering for our world in the future.
Aquaponics vs. Traditional Farming
Through hydroponic farming, very little water is required to maintain a batch of healthy crops. In the future, the agriculture business could reduce their use of fresh water significantly, of which is extremely important since fresh water supplies have diminished over time. No negative environmental impact can be identified in this process – it’s extremely safe and re-uses the water over and over. Many farms already take advantage of this process, including rooftop farms in urban environments.
Aquaponics takes hydroponics a step further by integrating fish into the process. This could revolutionize an industry that is known for damaging the land through over cultivation, excess amounts of solids removal and bio-filtration, and the necessity for its production to leave a massive footprint; eating up large amounts of land.
Implementing the Process in Today’s World
The amount of space needed for aquaponic and hydroponic systems is far less than traditional arming. The size of a farm or garden can be built specifically based on the supply and demand needs of the community.
Aquaponics solves the problem of taking up large acreage by making it simple for individual businesses, private parties, and large scale commercial industries to place aquaponic farms in condensed areas practically wherever the need is located. For example, aquaponic farms could be placed behind restaurants, grocery stores, or even your mom’s backyard. Since the entire process relies on bacteria, it isn’t necessary to take any extreme precautions in maintaining a sterile environment. The environments are self-sustainable and with the inclusion of a green house, can be placed anywhere out in rural locations or a large city as well.
It may be difficult to start an aquaponics system from scratch. A system requires you to filtrate the it every 45 minutes for about a 15 minute period of time. Waiting too long could create an unhealthy environment for the fish. They rely on their environment being clean.
Even though the environment doesn’t require extreme sterility, the risk of plant disease is a real concern. Maintain a temperature no higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help deter the growth of plant disease such as the fungus pythium, otherwise known as root rot. While aquaponics relies on an organic system, insect control is important to maintain to avoid damaging your controlled aquaponic environment.
Check out this video showing a small, home-based aquaponics system: