Aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture (the farming of aquatic organisms) and hydroponics (growing plants without the use of soil) that grows fish and plants together creating an integrated, mutually beneficial environment.
In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the fish waste is broken down, and this provides an organic food source for the growing plants. In turn, the plants provide a natural filter for the water, which is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system for the fish to live in. This creates an efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable ecosystem, where both plants and fish thrive symbiotically to produce food.
Unlike traditional farming, aquaponics does not need land with high quality soil and access to large amounts of water because the system uses 90% less water than conventional farming methods and produces minimal waste because everything is recycled. Plants and fish can grow at any time of year, in any weather conditions and anywhere on the planet. Plants grow significantly faster, and at three to four times the density of traditional methods.
Aquaponics is gaining considerable attention as a sustainable farming practice with the potential of addressing many of the issues that we face in the future, such as climate change, depleted soils, potable water, fossil fuel shortages and urban growth.