Hydroponic plants grow without soil. Instead, growers use an alternative substance in place of dirt to support the roots of the plants. Overall, the main idea is to have crops grow directly in water with nutrients made by the fish. One common type of vegetable crop that easily grows in an aquaponic system is lettuce.
HOW DOES AQUAPONICS WORK?
In an aquaponic system, fish are raised in a tank and their waste (poop) produces nutrients that plants need to grow. Fish waste contains ammonia, a source of nitrogen for the plants. Ammonia boosts plant growth as well as seed production and is also a key component in photosynthesis.
After the ammonia enters the system filter, the system’s bacteria break it down. The bacteria convert the ammonia into nitrites, then into nitrates. The nitrates then pass through the filter and into the roots of the crop.
While the plants absorb the nutrients, LED lights within the system transmit the proper wavelengths of light to the plants. The plants convert this light energy into chemical energy through photosynthesis.
The plants also filter and “clean” the water for the fish. After the plants filter the water, it is actually sent through a second (and final) group of filters. These filters ensure the water is free of sediment. The water then travels back to the fish tank at the beginning of the system.
This cycle continues over and over again, with the fish producing waste that feeds the plants and the plants cleaning the water for the fish. This means that you can grow both delicious veggies and healthy fish without using any harmful chemicals or fertilizers.