Aquaponics is a combination of Aquaculture & Hydroponics - fish and plants are grown in an integrated system, creating a symbiotic relationship between the two.
An Aquaponic system uses the water from the fish tank to circulate through a grow bed where the plants are grown.
Nitrifying bacteria convert fish wastes into plant-available nutrients. The plants use these nutrients as their main nutrient supply. The fish also benefit from this process , as the water is filtered by the plants, giving the fish clean water to live in.
There is currently a great deal of interest in Australia about sustainable farming practices including water use, and the degradation of our soils and waterways. Aquaponics uses less water to produce the same amount of food as conventional agriculture, organic agriculture and hydroponics.
As access to water is a critical factor for farming in any country, the use of Aquaponic systems with its low water requirement means that food can be produced in places that it would not normally be grown. Fish from the Aquaculture component of the Aquaponic system can be also harvested, providing fish in areas that do not have natural access to fish in their waterways.
Aquaponics combined with a climate-controlled environment such as a greenhouse, can produce food year round.
Another limiting factor for farmers worldwide is access to fertile soils capable of producing quality food. Aquaponics does not need any soils, therefore being able to be utilised almost anywhere in the world.