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Aquaponics: A Refreshing Eco Solution

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
8 January 2009, at 12:00am

GENERAL - Aquaponics, a new system which engineers a bio-integrated system linking recirculating aquaculture with hydroponic vegetable production, promises a fruitful sustainable future.

A description from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service says that in aquaponics, nutrient-rich effluent from fish tanks is used to fertigate hydroponic production beds. This is good for the fish because plant roots and rhizobacteria remove nutrients from the water. These nutrients - generated from fish manure, algae and decomposing fish feed - are contaminants that would otherwise build up to toxic levels in the fish tanks. Instead they serve as liquid fertilizer to hydroponically grown plants.

"In turn, the hydroponic beds function as a biofilter - stripping off ammonia, nitrates, nitrites and phosphorus - so the freshly cleansed water can then be recirculated back into the fish tanks", says the report.

"The nitrifying bacteria living in the gravel and in association with the plant roots play a critical role in nutrient cycling; without these microorganisms, the whole system would stop functioning."

According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, formerly known as ATTRA, the concept of aquaponics is catching the attention of fish farmers, hydroponic farmers and greenhouse growers alike.

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