There are several farming methods to increase the amounts of foods available to the public. Anyone wanting to use aquaponics to grow plants and aquatic animals must understand a variety of safety measures to ensure foods are never contaminated before reaching consumers. Aquaponics is a unique form of farming that includes raising fish, snails, shrimp or other animals that live in the water inside man-made ponds or tanks. At the same time, the waste from these animals is utilized as fertilizer to grow plants that thrive in moisture.
A Symbiotic Environment for Plants and Fish
It requires a lot of work to have an effective aquaponic symbiotic environment because the process requires a careful balance to avoid an overgrowth of dangerous bacteria. The experts using this farming technique must have a hydroponic system where the animals’ waste collects to break down into nitrites and nitrates to provide vital nutrients for the plants. The clean water then circulates back into the tanks or ponds to provide a healthy living environment for the fish or other animals.
Ancient and Modern Aquaponic Methods
Aquaponics has been used since ancient times to grow food required for people. Several countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and China have cultivated rice in paddy fields where fish live in the water to provide fertilizer. Today, North Carolina State University and the New Alchemy Institute are developing modern methods of aquaponics. During the 1990s, farmers in Canada combined raising trout with growing lettuce to provide food for consumers.
The Integral Parts Necessary for Aquaponic Farming
An aquaponics system is complex because it requires having two different environments to grow plants and animals for consumption. Important parts of an aquaponic system include:
• Tanks for raising fish or other animals
• A basin where debris such as waste settles
• A biofilter device designed to covert chemicals into nutritious bacteria for plants
• A subsystem for hydroponics where plants can grow
• A sump that pumps water back to the tank
There are numerous aquaponic farming system styles that are used for raising a variety of animals and growing different plants.
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