Aquaponics allows allows a symbiotic relationship between the plants which filter the water and the fish which provide an organic food source for plants through their excretions with the help of microbes or beneficial bacteria.
The main benefits of aquaponics are the following:
- It allows you to grow your own fish and plants.
- It consumes less water.
- Plants grow faster and are healthier.
- No artificial fertilizers as well as plant antibiotics are used.
- There is no need to dispose of fish waste or to provide an artificial filtration system.
- There is no need to use soil and the setup can be used the whole year.
- Aquaponics is (typically) organic.
- There is reduced damage caused by pests and disease.
- There is no need for weeding and you do not have hurt yourself by bending down.
- You can use alternative energy sources.
- It requires minimal space.
Benefits of aquaponics
1. It allows you to grow your own fish and plants.
Aquaponics is a highly sustainable means of food source and also a possible means of livelihood for you and your family. With an aquaponic system You can enjoy regular fish meals aside from your own homegrown vegetables and allows you to save money on groceries.
Here are the some of the common fish species that you can grow using the method:
- fancy goldfish
- ornamental fish like angelfish, swordfish, and tetras
Here are some of the vegetables and plants that you can cultivate:
2. It consumes less water.
This farming method effectively conserves water and uses 90% less water compared to traditional farming systems. Water is effectively recycled and reused in a closed-loop way which allows for efficient conservation. This particular benefit makes this method very suitable for places with a scarce water supply such as desert areas. Compared to traditional farming which requires ample water supply to keep the plants alive, with aquaponics you can enjoy fresh vegetable produce and fish even if you live in the desert or any place in the world.
3. Plants grow faster and are healthier.
This farming method speeds up the growth process of plants because they have round-the-clock access to nutrients that the fish provide. It also helps plants to become healthier and robust-looking. Lettuces for instance, which take around two months to achieve full growth are observed to be fully grown in just a month, thanks to the microbes and nutrients.
4. No artificial fertilizers as well as plant antibiotics are used.
With aquaponics, there’s no use for pesticides, herbicides, and other fertilizers because it can harm the fish. Also, the fish don’t have hormones and antibiotics and everything is healthy for consumption, it’s safe even as baby food.
5. There is no need to dispose of fish waste or to provide an artificial filtration system.
Artificial filtration isn’t needed in this farming method compared to land-based aquaculture systems which need filtration systems to remove ammonia from the water. The ammonia from fish waste is mostly converted into nitrates by microbes and essential bacteria. Nitrosomas bacteria turn ammonia into nitrite while Nitrobacter bacteria convert it into nitrates which are then absorbed by the plants through the roots. The roots itself also act as a form of biofilter
6. There is no need to use soil and the setup can be used the whole year.
There’s no obvious need for soil for plants to thrive because the water itself is already sufficient. This benefit enables people even from urban areas and in places with no arable land to still produce healthy vegetables and abundant fish. Regardless if it’s the middle of winter, you can still harvest leafy greens if you have an indoor greenhouse facility for your aquaponics system. The farming method is highly advantageous because regardless of the season you can still avail of fresh produce the whole year as temperatures can be maintained and controlled in the method’s greenhouse-type setup.
7. This farming method is organic.
Just like what’s mentioned above in item no.4, the farming method doesn’t use fertilizers and therefore it’s an organic way of cultivating and growing plants and fish. There are no chemicals, antibiotics, and artificial additives as it could harm the plants. Similarly, there are no growth stimulants and pesticides as it could harm and kill the fish.
8. There is reduced damage caused by pests and disease.
Compared to plants that were grown using the traditional farming method, most aquaponics gardeners attest that there was less leaf damage with the farming method. Since pesticides are a big no-no, there are non-chemical ways that are normally used in this method to prevent pests and disease. These are in the form of traps, physical barriers, and the use of biological control like wasps and ladybugs to control aphids or whiteflies. Others also use neem oil in small quantities as an organic pesticide.
9. There is no need for weeding and you do not have hurt yourself by bending down.
Since there’s no soil involved there’s completely no need for weeding as opposed to traditional farming where you have to regularly take out the weeds that can overpower the plants and rob it of essential nutrients. Also, you don’t have to go through all the trouble of bending down because grow beds are at waist height so you can easily inspect the plants as they grow.
10. You can use alternative energy sources.
Even as electricity is widely used for the farming method, there are various alternative sources that you can harness such as solar energy which is renewable energy. Other energy sources are wind and hydroelectric.
11. It requires minimal space.
This farming method doesn’t require wide spaces at all as compared to land-based and traditional farming systems. Plant roots are completely underwater so there’s no overcrowding and you can place plants close to each other in grow beds.
Aquaponic farming has its benefits but it does also have disadvantages. Weighting the two against each other should help you to decide whether it is the right farming method for you.
For more information, read our article on the pros and cons of aquaponics.