Aquaponics Farming the Key to Sustainable Fish Farming
In this post, we’re going to check out the reasons why aquaponics might be a more sustainable future for fish farming.
We’re going to cover things including global food shortage, how plants act as natural filters in aquaponics systems, and how aquaponics conserves water. Additionally, we’ll consider the conditions required for an aquaponics system to work properly, and the impact of beneficial bacteria in an aquaponics system.
IS AQUAPONICS BETTER THAN TRADITIONAL METHODS OF FISH FARMING?
Maybe! Let’s learn more!
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH OUR CURRENT AGRICULTURE SYSTEM?
The world is constantly changing. So, naturally, the world’s agriculture and food production are changing as well. A consistently increasing world population means more urban sprawl. Urban sprawl is when cities expand into suburbs to avoid over-crowding. Eventually, this spread of people takes over what was once fertile farming land.
How do you keep growing enough food to keep up with population increases?
Did you know that millions of people live in drought-stricken areas and arid climates?
Did you know that because of overfishing fish numbers are dropping throughout the world’s oceans?
Leading experts predict increasingly severe global shortages of fish in the future. Fish supplies around the world are plummeting. Commercial fishing operations are overfishing our oceans. Furthermore, large-scale fish farming on land reduces habitat for other animal species.
WHAT IS AQUAPONICS FARMING?
Aquaponics is an ingenious growing system that produces edible fish using the concepts of Hydroponics and waste recirculation. Hydroponics is growing without soil. Water recirculation is a way to reuse fish waste as plant fertilizer.
WHY AQUAPONICS IS IMPORTANT?
Aquaponics offers a sustainable solution to the problems of traditional fish farming. It can help reduce over-fishing practices, save water, and create a sustainable supply of fish and vegetables.
Let’s break down an aquaponics system
Aquaponics creates an artificial ecosystem where fish are fed. Then their waste is broken down by beneficial bacteria into absorbable food for plants. Next, this broken-down waste circulates through the system to feed the plants. So basically, the plants act as a natural filter that cleans the water. Finally, the clean water is recirculated back to the system and back to the fish.
So in aquaponics, you are not only getting fish as a food source but fresh plants as well!
In normal fish tanks or fish farming systems, fish waste builds up. This build-up can make the water toxic to the fish. Therefore in traditional systems water needs to be purified. After they purify the water they have to dispose of the fish waste and filters. In an aquaponics system, this isn’t the case. The fish waste is recycled and used as plant food. This is done using recirculated water in the system. That way fish waste is used instead of disposed of.
A key component of the aquaponics system is the beneficial bacteria.
Beneficial bacteria are key to the system. These bacteria break down the fish waste so that it can become absorbable by the plants.
It’s crucial to remember that the network of beneficial bacteria are needed in order for an aquaponics system to work. Remember it’s not just about water, plants, and fish. We need to have the beneficial bacteria in place or the plants won’t be able to absorb the fish waste. Then the waste would build up and the fish would die.
It’s important to note this beneficial bacteria is very fragile. It has to be cared for very carefully. For example, harsh treatments, cleaners, or chemicals can damage or kill beneficial bacteria. Therefore it’s vital that the system keep beneficial bacteria in good living condition.
Beneficial bacteria convert the fish urine and feces into nitrite. Then additional beneficial bacteria convert the nitrite into nitrate. Nitrate is a form of nitrogen that plants can absorb and fish can tolerate in the water at low levels. Without this important change from nitrite to nitrate toxic levels of nitrite would remain in the water and damage the fish.
Let’s talk about some ways to keep this beneficial bacteria healthy.
Tips include, keeping a neutral pH balance in your water. Also, making sure that you have lots of surface area for your bacteria to attach to. Raft and deep water culture systems have enough surface space for bacteria to grow on. However, some systems require you to add additional mesh. This mesh in the system gives the bacteria to have something to grasp onto.
WHY CHOOSE AQUAPONICS OVER TRADITIONAL FISH FARMING AND VEGETABLE FARMING DONE SEPARATELY?
The first point to make here is how the aquaponics system recirculates water efficiently. Aquaponic systems are very good solutions for countries that have droughts and limited water supplies. An aquaponics system allows people to grow more food with less water.
Since aquaponics doesn’t require synthetic nutrients or pesticides. This makes it a super cost-effective means of food production. Eating fish is highly nutritious, so having a large supply accessible to many people is a great healthy option. Altogether aquaponics makes fish farming seem almost like an inexhaustible food supply.
WHAT TYPES OF FISH ARE BEST FOR AQUAPONICS?
Some different types of fish that do well in a closed environment aquaponics system include tilapia, white bass, crappie and barramundi.
So in review, a constant increase in global population means more urban sprawl. So cities and urban areas are slowly taking over what was once fertile farmland. This causes food shortages. Furthermore droughts and arid climates are also causing food shortages. So if we’re serious about a long-term sustainable fish farming solution that will protect oceans, combat land loss due to urban sprawl, and reduce habitat destruction in the future. Aquaponics is something we have to consider to make fish a more sustainable food source. Aquaponics is eco-friendly and can be cost-effective in nearly all countries around the world.
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