What is aquaponics?
So, what is
aquaponics? The gist is that you keep a tank of fish, circulating
their water through a plant grow bed to clean the water and feed the
Although fish and plants are
what most people get excited about, an aquaponic system is actually
fuelled by a complex cycle including bacteria and worms. Fish
waste is full of ammonia, which is toxic to fish and which plants can't
use, but two types of bacteria convert that ammonia first to nitrites
(nitrosomona bacteria) and then into nitrates (nitrospira
bacteria). Plants love nitrates, so when you pump the fish-tank
water up to flow around your vegetables' roots, the plants quickly suck
up the nitrogen and return clean, aerated water to your fish.
Meanwhile, compost worms in the plant grow bed are
cleaning up excess solids. Without these wrigglers, dead bits of
plant roots and larger particles of fish waste would build up and require cleaning.
Luckily, compost worms can handle periodic inundations and do their
part to convert particulate matter into chemicals plants can easily
The fish, bacteria,
plants, and worms all work together to give each organism just the food
and environment it needs. I suspect this elegant, created
ecosystem is why aquaponics has won so many fans in permaculture
Check out my best-selling ebook, Trailersteading,
for radical sustainable housing options.
to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the
RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.