What is Aquaponics Farm?
Aquaponics farm is a system where aquaponics farming is carried out. In this system, aquaculture and hydroponics are used together in a symbiotic combination.
Types of Aquaponics Farm.
- Deep Water Culture: This a type of raft based growing, which uses a foam raft that is floating in a water channel filled with fishes. The raft has holes, in which the plants are placed. This method is good when growing small, fast-growing plants, which require relatively lower nutrients to grow. This method is used in large commercial-scale systems.
- Media-based Aquaponics: This method is the most common method of practising aquaponics. In this method, instead of soil, clay pellets are used in the media grow beds where the plants are grown. These beds are placed over the fish tank. Media-based systems are used at home and often in the garden etc. Large fruiting plants and small greens like mint etc. grown well in media-based aquaponics.
- Nutrient-Film Technique: This system works by flowing nutrient-rich water through a narrow trough, such as a PVC pipe. Plants are placed in the holes that are drilled on the pipes and their roots hang in freely in the water stream. This is best for non-epiphytes; plants that require little support like strawberries and other herbs.
- Vertical Aquaponics: In this setup, plants are stacked on top of each other in lower systems such as the AquaVertica. Water flows through the top of the tower. The water then falls trough or directly into the fish tank. This type of aquaponics makes the most of every inch of space provided. Leafy greens, strawberries, etc., grow well in this.
Benefits of Aquaponics Farming.
- No pesticide or chemical used. If any pesticide is used to cure plants, the fishes would die.
- Aquaponics enacts nature; it establishes a strong relationship between fishes and plants.
- No organic fertilizer needed to supplement the soil. The nitrate converted to ammonia by fish acts as a supplement to plant growth.
- Water is conserved throughout the process. Aquaponics uses 90% less water than traditional farming. Water and nutrients are continuously recycled in this complex ecosystem.
- The only energy requirement in Aquaponics is electrical; to run the motor. Unlike other forms of agriculture that uses solar, wind, hydroelectric energy, aquaponics uses only electrical energy. Hence, energy is conserved.
- Aquaponics is done in a very limited area; every inch of the surface is utilized in growing plants.
- The biggest benefit of aquaponics is that both fish and plants are grown together.
Drawbacks of Aquaponics Farming.
- It can be a bit expensive to set up.
- It requires a bit of technical know-how regarding the process and science behind aquaponics.
- Water needs to be continuously monitored.
- It requires more electrical energy.
- Every small parts depend on each other, if one portion is hampered the entire system will fall.
- Not all types of crops can be grown.
Despite a few loopholes, Aquaponics is the future of irrigation for some specific crops and plants. It is a sustainable method to grow plants and fishes – and both grow exceptionally well in this setup. It doesn’t harbour pests and continuously supplies nutrients to the plants. It aims at a cleaner and more technical way of farming and rearing.