What are the Benefits of Aquaponics?
Growing vegetables in your aquaponics system have many benefits for both you and the environment around you. Here are a handful of the many benefits to growing plants/vegetables with aquaponics.
Aquaponics is a sustainable farming or gardening method in which you can grow fish and vegetables in just one system. Plants and fish grow together symbiotically, with the help ofbeneficial bacteria. Fish waste is converted into nitrates, which the plants use as fertilizer, the plants then filter and clean the water for the fish.
Aquaponics is a balanced and self-contained ecosystem. No chemicals or fertilizers are added or needed to help the plants grow and thrive in an aquaponics system. Pests are kept to a minimum by having the grow beds up off the ground, using a greenhouse and or by using natural, non-toxic gardening methods. The ultimate aquaponics beginners' guide will guide you in starting your aquaponics system.
Year-Round Gardening: Different than other farming methods, aquaponics allows you to grow food all year round, by regulating the temperatures as per to what you are growing, and by using greenhouses. You can grow plants throughout the year.
- Low Water Usage:One of the great benefits of aquaponic growing is the minimal water wasted compared to conventional farming. Although the name implies 'water,' aquaponics uses approximately 90% less water than traditional agriculture. Thewater is rarely changed or discarded since it’s recycled over and over again through the whole system.
- Minimal Weeding: There is no soil involved in Aquaponics, so there are very few weeds that will pop up in your garden, giving you more time to enjoy your farming,
- Faster Growth: Plants tend to grow faster in an aquaponic system because of their access to 100% natural nutrients 24 hours a day.
- Two Sources of Income: For a commercial farmer, aquaponics offers two streams of income, both fish and vegetables.
- Small Footprint:Aquaponics farming does not require farmland with fertile soil. Aquaponics can be done successfully on any land, cement, gravel, rocky surfaces, or even drought lands, which are difficult to use in conventional farms. (1)
- Food Security: Food security and food independence are increasingly becoming important. Aquaponics is another means of living a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
- Healthy Food: Your fish and plants grow without the use of antibiotics, chemicals, or fertilizers.
- Freshness:Produce grown in aquaponics is fresh and tastes better than produce is grown in other methods of farming.
- Organic Produce: The use of chemicals and pesticides is harmful to human health. However, in your aquaponics system, the produce is grown chemical-free. (3)
- Healthy Eating: The number one reason why most people resort to raising their produce is that they want to eat healthier. Youcan be confident that your plants ARE organic because you know what went into growing them. (4)
- Personal Satisfaction: Farming your food with an aquaponics system is rewarding and exciting. Knowing that your produce is healthy and fresh for you and your family will give you great personal satisfaction. (5)
How Does Aquaponics Save Water?
One of the great benefits of aquaponic growing is the minimal water wasted compared to conventional farming. Although the name implies 'water' aquaponics uses approximately 95% less water than traditional farming.
When watering your conventional garden, the majority of the water used is lost in the soil, never getting to the roots of your plants. Aquaponics uses the same recycled water continuously. Very little water is lost in evaporation, and the water feeds only the roots of the plants in your system. Aquaponics is also more water-efficient than hydroponics because hydroponics requires that you completely change the water after each crop. These are not needed in aquaponics; instead, all of the water is recycled and reused.
How is Aquaponics 100% Natural?
Your aquaponics system is a direct reflection of what you put into your system. Since the system is a self-contained recirculating system, you do not need to add harmful pesticides and chemicals. Any additions may kill your fish, meaning that keeping your fish healthy will also keep your system healthy. Think about an oasis in the middle of the desert with a small pond where the fish are happy and healthy. The fish in the water fertilize the water. The lush plants around the pond are fed off the water and fish excretion. Without the fish, your plants would either die or become weak, and sick and without the plants filtering out the nitrogen from the water, your fish will become sick and die. These are the perfect example of the symbiotic relationship between the plants and fish.
How is Aquaponics Gardening Organic?
The nutritional value of vegetables grown in aquaponics tends to be higher than vegetables grown in the ground, and the great thing about having your aquaponics farm/system is that you control what goes into your plants. You don't have to trust the farms telling you that the plants they grow are organic. You can be confident your plants ARE organic because you know what went into growing them.
Think about how you would feel if you ate only doughnuts for a whole month or several months? Terrible right? Well, similarly, your plants and vegetables will take in the nutrients and harmful elements (sugary sweet doughnuts) in the soil that they are grown in. You may have great soil in your backyard, or maybe your soil has some good nutrients and some harmful elements in it (as is usually the case).
With aquaponics, you don't have to worry about what's in your soil because you completely control what goes into each and every one of the plants and vegetables that are grown in your system.
Whatever your reason for starting and maintaining your aquaponics system, the benefits are real and tangible. Aquaponics is also a great way to teach biology, physics, and sustainability. Aquaponics doesn't need to take up a lot of space and is fun, making it an excellent tool for parents and schools to teach the next generation.
So save water, avoid pesticide loaded vegetables, know what went into growing your plants, and have some fun maintaining your system all at the same time. Subscribe to our Newsletter to get aquaponics updates.