Aquaponics is a simply sustainable agriculture method of raising fish and vegetables. It is a food production system that resemble closely to a natural ecosystem. In aquaponics, the nutrient-rich water from raising fish provides a natural fertilizer for the plants and the plants help to purify the water for the fish.
Why our vegetables are better than organic
In Malaysia, aquaponic farms are not organic certified. However, the vegetables grown are even better than organic vegetables. Here’s why.
- No chemical pesticides or herbicides. The use of harmful chemical pesticides of any kind would kill our fish.
- No organic pesticides. Even pesticides that are approved as “organic” would potentially kill our fish.
- No GMO. We do not use genetically modified seeds. We only use pelleted seeds. These seeds are normal seeds that have be coated to give it a round and smooth surface. Pelleted seeds are much easier to handle.
Why grow aquaponic vegetables
Aquaponic system allows us to grow more vegetables with less water, less space and less laborious than traditional farming.
- Less space: Our vegetables grown in green houses is estimated to produce six times more per square foot than traditional farming.
- Less water: According to Worldbank, over 70% or freshwater in the world is used for agriculture. Aquaponics uses 90% less water than traditional farming. Water and nutrients are recycled to conserve water.
- All year round: Aquaponics system can be done anywhere, anytime! The system is not affected by bad weather or seasons. Hence, aquaponic vegetable are available all year round and are not subjected to price fluctuation.
- Less pests: Since aquaponic vegetables are grown in greenhouses, there are less pests that have to be dealt with. Pest can be controlled with organic methods such as beneficial insects and plant derivative sprays.
- No need for back breaking hard labor and weeding!
In addition, aquaponics not only benefits our health and nutrition but is also good for the environment, economy and society. Read more here.
What’s the difference between aquaponics and hydroponics?
Simply put, aquaponics uses fish to provide nutrients, while hydroponics uses formulated solutions.
Aquaponics is coined from the term “aqua” and “ponic”. “Aqua” means aquaculture of aquatic animal breeding while “Ponic” is derived from the Latin word that means “to work”. When combined, aquaponics literally means putting fish to work.
Many sources on Google suggest that aquaponics combines growing fishes and hydroponics. Hydroponics system is a type of soilless farming. While that is possible, we do not practice soilless farming in our farms. All aquaponics vegetables are GROWN IN SOIL.
In this post, I shall not go into detail about the differences. For more in-depth explanation of the difference between these systems, I recommend checking out this page here.
Types of aquaponics
There are a few primary methods of aquaponic growing widely in use today:
Image source: Aquaponictrend.blogspot.com
- Deep water culture (DWC)
This is the most popular setup for commercial aquaponics as it is relatively inexpensive. Plant roots are submerged or mostly submerged most of the time. The tank is filled with fish effluent water that has been filtered to remove solid wastes. Plants are placed in holes in the raft and the roots hang freely in the water.
Image source: https://media.buzzle.com
- Media-based Aquaponics
Media growing method is a technique where plants are grown in a media such a clay pebbles and lava rocks. The media provides both the conversion of ammonia to nitrates and removal of solid waste in the same system. This method is common for small scale aquaponics.
Image source: mediagrowinnovation.com
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
Plants are placed in holes in a pipe, and the roots dangle freely. Referring to the diagram, the pipe is inclined and there is a constant flow of nutrients in a “thin layer” around the roots. Notice that the roots are not fully submerged in water. This method prevents the nutrients to be stagnant.
Image source: s3-media1.fl.yelpcdn.com
- Vertical Aquaponics
This method allows farmers to achieve maximum production in a very small area. Plants are arranged in a tower system whereby water flows in through the top of the tower. The plant roots absorb water and nutrients and the water returns directly into the fish tank.
Check out our collection of Aquaponic Vegetables here!