Aquaponics combines fish and crop farming in one ecosystem. Combination can also be made with crustaceans or algae. Water, fertilized by fish, flows back to plants that filter nutrients from the water. Between fish and plant, bacteria convert waste into nutrients for the plants. The water purified by the plants then flows back to the fish in a coupled system. This allows for fish and crop growing in the same water volume without wasting any water as it continues to circulate.
ADVANTAGES OF AQUAPONICS
- two cultivation types in one productive system
- system requires little amount of space
- no use of artificial fertilizer
- extremely water efficient as no water is discharged
- little to no manure surplus so no emissions
- possible complete control over the production environment
- very sustainable when using rain water and energy-saving circulation pumps
- apt for indoor farming, vertical farming and greenhouse farming
IS AQUAPONICS NEW?
Latin-America and Asia know a century long tradition of aquaponics. Aztecs used mud of waters rich in fish to smear on reed carpets. These floating reed rafts served to grow crops on the canals of the water rich in fish. In Asia one can find integrated systems that include other animals in the same ecosystem. Over the last few years, recirculating systems have become more popular in fish farming (RAS, Recirculating Aquaculture Systems). In combination with recent learnings from hydroculture, growing crops on water, aquaponics is being technologically developed to perfection. Current technology couples fish tanks, dirt filters, bio filters and plants in one circuit. Sensors monitor the production parameters to ensure oxygen, PH and temperature are optimal for the fish.
It is also possible to push water from the fish to the plants regularly and to have it circulate locally. No water flows from the plants to the fish, instead it evaporates with plants. No water is lost, as is the case with coupled systems. This system allows for more control and eliminates a number of production risks.
Smart Farmers aquaponics
Smart Farmers combines fish, giant shrimp, leafy greens, eatable flowers and herbs in one system. We work both indoor and outdoor, and combinations are plentiful. In greenhouses we grow strawberries and trout. In containers we built a vertical farm with LED lighting in combination with tilapia and catfish farming. In our container farm we also grow micro greens.
We improved aquaponics by filtering minerals from the fish manure and using this as food supplement for plants. Larvae of the Black Soldier fly are fed to the fish. Tilapia are omnivorous and can easily be fed with meat substitutes (even with duckweed). This allows for the production of a vegetarian fish.
Smart Farmers builds installations that are profitable for the farmer and sustainable for the environment.