The Top 5 Benefits of Aquaponics
You may not have heard of aquaponics before, but this farming method has been around since the early civilizations. Historians believe that Aztec Indians raised their plants on a flat, buoyant structure made of timber on the lake’s surface.
Nonetheless, aquaponics is still a relatively new idea for many people. It was only formally introduced in the 1970s when researchers started to pay more attention to this gardening method. At the dawn of the 21st century, aquaponics is being used by large commercial enterprises for production.
The term “aquaponics” is derived from two words: aquaculture and ponics. Aquaculture refers to the process of raising schools of fish in a closely monitored environment. The Latin word, ponics, on the other hand, means “to work” and is associated with growing in soilless conditions.
In a nutshell, aquaponics maximizes the benefits and eliminates the drawbacks of aquaculture and hydroponic systems. It utilizes two symbiotic relations, wherein the waste or discharge of the fish or other aquatic animals are the sources of the plants’ nutrients. In turn, the plants will clean the water for the fish.
In this blog post, learn the most important benefits of aquaponics gardening.
1. Aquaponics Can Help Save Water
The initial water requirement when setting up an aquaponics system may be overwhelming, but the process called “recirculation” makes it an effective solution to help save water in the long run.
Traditional farming methods, such as the use of irrigation, waste much of the world’s water. However, one of the best things about the aquaponics system is that it uses smaller amounts of water compared to other conventional techniques. According to research, it uses about 95% less water than orthodox farming.
Typical farmers use gallons of water for their crops. Unknown to them is the fact that a great volume of the water used does not even reach the roots of the plants. With outdoor or indoor aquaponics, however, the water is continuously recycled. Plus, only a small portion of water is lost when it evaporates.
Aquaponics farmers also take pride in this farming technique’s water efficiency. Compared to hydroponics, which requires agriculturalists to change the water after every harvesting season, aquaponics gardening allows recycling and reusing of all the water used.
To further minimize water loss in aquaponics, invest in float switches. This device allows you to control the water pumps and prevent expelling large amounts of water. Maintaining the right temperature suitable for your plants can also help reduce water waste.
2. Aquaponics Is More Sustainable
People are becoming more environmentally conscious these days. Gladly, aquaponics gardening is a highly sustainable farming method that produces zero waste. As mentioned earlier, you only need to add more water when it depletes due to the naturally occurring evapotranspiration.
Plant growers may also rely on rainwater as an alternative water source for their aquaponics system. Apart from being cost-effective, rainwater is also often free of toxins and other chemicals that can be harmful to plants and fish.
Harvesting rainwater, however, is a fairly challenging task. Suppose you’re in an area where rain comes in an inconsistent pattern. In that case, it may be difficult for you to depend on it as your aquaponics system’s main source. Nonetheless, if you’re in a place where it frequently rains, you may consider using different rooftop harvesting techniques or saucers to catch rainwater.
However, some states and cities regulate the use and collection of rainwater. It’s best to check local laws and regulations before using rainwater for your aquaponics.
3. Aquaponics Can Benefit Both Farmers and Consumers
Aquaponics has outstanding farmer and consumer benefits, which is incomparable with other farming techniques.
For instance, farmers can grow different crops all year round through aquaponics. They only need to be diligent in checking and regulating the temperatures, depending on the vegetables’ needs. Constant weeding won’t also be a problem since no soil is used in the aquaponics system.
It’s also worth mentioning that vegetables and other plants in an aquaponics system grow faster, thanks to the natural nutrients they receive throughout the day. Commercial farmers may also generate income from both the vegetables and fish used in aquaponics.
Consumers who are meticulous with what they put in their mouths can also benefit from aquaponics. Since this farming technique doesn’t favor the use of chemicals, fertilizers, and antibiotics, you can rest assured that the vegetables and fish you get from aquaponics gardening are truly organic.
4. Aquaponics Is a Form of Organic Farming
Aquaponics gardening allows farmers to create a natural ecosystem where fish wastes are converted into complete plant food by bacteria and composting red worms. It’s definitely an organic process, wherein whatever you put into the system can affect every single element.
Unlike traditional farming methods, aquaponics does not rely on pesticides and other chemicals to grow crops. It also requires less maintenance, so you can enjoy different farming endeavors all at the same time.
5. Aquaponics Eliminates Traditional Fish and Plant Farming Problems
Traditional farming requires more work than aquaponics. Conventional farmers often have to wait for long periods to harvest their crops. In aquaponics gardening, plants grow faster.
Land cultivation also requires abundant use of water, which can add up to the utility costs. Aquaponics, on the other hand, only requires cultivators to add water only when it is depleting.
When it comes to fishing, aquaponics is also a better option than other types of aquaculture. It requires 60% less space than conventional backyard fish farming. It also eliminates the need for high-priced professional filtration systems since it relies on the natural ecosystem that you have built.
Indeed, aquaponics is a promising farming technique that can yield better results than conventional cultivation. It’s also a sustainable solution that can help produce healthier food options for many people. Plus, it can help drive down utility and maintenance costs without compromising farm operation and production.
Now, if you’re planning to venture into sustainable farming, consider aquaponics – the best alternative to conventional farming methods.