Aquaponics ( / æ k w ə p ɒ n ɪ k s / ) Refers to-any system That combined conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals Such as snails, fish , crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (Cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquifer system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrifying bacteria initially into nitrite and further into nitrates , which are used by the plants as nutrients , and the water is then recirculated. back to the aquaculture system.

As existing hydroponic and aquaculture farming techniques, the size, complexity, and types of foods in an aquaponics system can vary widely. [1]


Aquaponics has ancient roots, but there is some debate on its first occurrence:

  • Aztec cultivated agricultural islands Known As chinampas in a system regarded by Some to be the first form of aquaponics for agricultural use [2] [3] Where plants Were raised is stationary (or sometime movable) islands in lake shallows and waste materials dredged from the Chinampa canals and surrounding cities have been used to manually irrigate the plants. [2] [4]
  • South China , the whole South East Asia (albeit Brought by Chinese Settlers That HAD beens doing migration from Yunnan around 5 AD) Who cultivated and farmed rice in paddy fields in combination with fish are Cited as examples of early aquaponics systems. [5] These common polycultural farming systems exist in the Far East and the East Loach (泥鳅, ド ジ ョ ウ), [6]swamp eel (黄鳝, 田 鰻), common carp (鯉魚, コ イ) and crucian carp (鯽魚) [7] as well as pond snails (田螺) in the paddies. [8] [9]

Floating aquaponics systems are Polycultural fish ponds Were installed in China in more recent years has been large scale growing rice, wheat and canna lily and other crops, [10] With Some facilities conduire 2.5 acres (10,000 m 2 ). [11]

The development of modern aquaponics is often attributed to the various works of the New Alchemy Institute and the works of Dr. Mark McMurtry et al. at North Carolina State University . [13]Inspired by the successes of the New Alchemy Institute, and the reciprocating aquaponics techniques developed by Dr. Mark McMurtry et al., Other institutes soon followed. Starting in 1979, Dr. James Rakocy and his colleagues at the University of the Virgin Islands research and development of deep water culture hydroponic grow beds in a large-scale aquaponics system. [12]

The first aquaponics research in Canada was developed in Lethbridge , Alberta . In the 90s, predominantly as commercial installations raising high-value crops such as trout and lettuce. A setup based on the deep water system developed at the University of Virgin Islands , Brooks, Albertawhere Dr. Nick Savidov and colleagues researched aquaponics from a background of plant science. The team made findings on rapid growth in aquaponics systems and on closing the solid-waste loop, and found that to some advantages in the system over traditional aquaculture, the system is at a low pH level, which is favored by plants but not fish.

Parts of an aquaponic system

A commercial aquaponics system. An electric pump moves nutrient-rich water from the fish tank through a filter to remove solids particles the plantsAbove can not absorb. The water then provides nutrients for the plants and is cleansed before returning to the fish tank below.

Aquaponics consists of two parts, with the aquaculture part for raising aquatic animals and the hydroponics part for growing plants. [14] [15] Aquatic effluents, resulting from uneaten feed or raising animals like fish, in the aquaculture system. The effluent-rich water becomes toxic to the animal in high concentrations but this contains nutrients essential for plant growth. [14]ALTHOUGH consistant Primarily of These two parts, aquaponics systems are usually grouped into Several components or subsystems responsible for the effective removal of solid wastes, for adding bases to neutralize acids , or for Maintainingwater oxygenation . [14] Typical components include:

  • Rearing tank : the tanks for raising and feeding the fish ;
  • Settling basin : a unit for catching uneaten food and detached biofilms , and for settling out fine particles;
  • Biofilter : a place Where the nitrification bacteria can grow and convert ammonia into nitrates , qui are usable by the plants; [14]
  • Hydroponics subsystem : the portion of the system where plants are grown by absorbing excess nutrients from the water;
  • Sump : the lowest point in the system where the water flows to and from which it is pumped back to the rearing tanks.

Depending on the sophistication and cost of the aquaponics system, the units for solids removal, biofiltration, and / or the hydroponics may be combined into one unit or subsystem, [14] which prevents the water from flowing directly from the aquaculture part of the system to the hydroponics part. By utilizing gravel or sand, the solids are captured and the surface is sufficiently fixed for nitrification. [14] The ability to combine biofiltration and hydroponics allows for an expensive, separate biofilter.

Live components

An aquaponic system depends on different components to work successfully. The three main live components are seedlings, fish (or other aquatic creatures) and bacteria. Some systems also include additional live components like worms.


Further information: Rhizofiltration

Many plants are suitable for aquaponic systems, but which ones work for a specific system depends on the size of the fish. These factors influence the concentration of nutrients from the effluent fish, and how much of these nutrients are made available to the roots plant via bacteria.

Green leaf vegetables with low to medium nutrients, including chinese cabbage , lettuce , basil , spinach , chives , herbs , and watercress . [15] [16]

Other plants, such as: tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, have higher nutrient requirements and will only have a higher stocking densities of fish. [16]

Plants that are common in salads are some of the greatest success in aquaponics, including cucumbers , shallots , tomatoes , lettuce , chiles , capsicum , red salad onions and snow peas . [17]

Some profitable plants for aquaponics include chinese cabbage , lettuce , basil , roses , tomatoes , okra , cantaloupe and bell peppers . [15]

Other species of vegetables That grow well in an aquaponic system include watercress , basil , coriander , parsley , lemongrass , sage , beans , peas , kohlrabi , taro , radishes , strawberries , melons , onions , turnips , parsnips , sweet potato , cauliflower , cabbage , broccoli , and eggplant as well as thechoys that are used for stir fries. [17]

Fruiting plants like melons or tomatoes, and plants with higher nutrient requirements need more storage of nutrients.

Fish (or other aquatic creatures)

Freshwater fishes are the most common aquatic animals, but they are often used as fish. [18] [14] There is a branch of aquaponics using saltwater fish, called saltwater aquaponics . There are many species of warmwater and coldwater fish that adapt well to aquaculture systems.

In practice, tilapia are the most popular fish for fish and seafood. [16] Barramundi , silver perch , eel-tailed gold catfish tandanus catfish, jade perch and Murray cod are also used. [15] For temperate climates When there is not Ability to Maintain or desired water temperature, bluegill and catfish are suitable fish species for home systems.

Koi and goldfish may also be used, if the fish in the system need not be edible.

Other suitable fish include channel catfish , rainbow trout , perch , common carp , Arctic char , largemouth bass and striped bass . [16]


Further information: Nitrogen Cycle

Nitrification, the aerobic conversion of ammonia into nitrates, is one of the most important functions in an aquaponics system, and causes the production of nitrates to be removed by the plants for nourishment. [14] Ammonia is Steadily released into the water through the excreta and gills of fish as a product of Their metabolism, must but be filtered out of the water since Higher concentrations of ammonia (Commonly entre 0.5 and 1 ppm ) citation needed ] can uneven growth, cause widespread damage to tissues, decreased resistance to disease and even kill the fish. [19]ALTHOUGH plants can absorb ammonia from the water to Some degree, nitrates are Easily Assimilated more, [15] thereby Efficiently Reducing the toxicity of the water for fish. [14] Ammonia can be converted into nitrogenous compounds by combined healthy populations of 2 types of bacteria: Nitrosomonas which convert ammonia into nitrites , and nitrobacter which then convert nitrites to nitrates. While nitrite is still harmful to fish due to its ability to create metehemoglobin, which can not bind oxygen, by attaching to hemoglobin, nitrates are able to be tolerated at high levels by fish. [19]

Hydroponic subsystem

Main article: Hydroponics

Plants are grown in hydroponics systems, with their roots immersed in the nutrient-rich effluent water. This enables them to filter the ammonia that is toxic to the aquatic animals, or its metabolites. After the water has passed through the hydroponic subsystem, it is cleaned and oxygenated, and can return to the aquaculture vessels. This cycle is continuous. Common aquaponic applications of hydroponic systems include:

  • Deep-water raft aquaponics : styrofoam rafts floating in a relatively deep aquifer basin in troughs. Raft tanks can be constructed to be quite large, and enable the seed to be transplanted to one of the other plants, thus ensuring optimal floor space usage. [20]
  • Recirculating aquaponics : solid media such as gravel or clay beads, held in a container that is flooded with water from aquaculture. This type of aquaponics is also known as closed-loop aquaponics .
  • Reciprocating aquaponics : a solid media in a container that is alternately flooded and drained using different types of siphon drains. This type of aquaponics is also known as flood-and-drain aquaponics or ebb-and-flow aquaponics .
  • Nutrient technical film channels: plants are grown in lengthy narrow channels, with a film of nutrient-filled water flowing past the roots plant. Due to the small amount of water and narrow channels, [20]
  • Other PVC pipes with holes for the pots, plastic barrels cut in half with gravel or rafts in them. Each approach has its own benefits. [21]

Since plants are growing at different stages of growth, they are growing at the same time as planting seedlings. This ensures stability in the water because of continuous symbiotic cleansing of toxins from the water. [22]


In an aquaponics system, the bacteria responsible for the conversion of ammonia to usable nitrates for plants form a biofilm on solid surfaces throughout the system that are in constant contact with the water. The submerged roots of the vegetables have a large area where many bacteria can accumulate. Together with the concentrations of ammonia and nitrite in the water, the surface area determines the speed with which nitrification takes place. Care for these bacterial colonies is important to regulate the full assimilation of ammonia and nitrite. This is why most aquaponics systems include a biofiltering unit, which helps facilitate the growth of these microorganisms . Typically, after a system has stabilized ammonialevels range from 0.25 to 2.0 ppm; nitrite levels range from 0.25 to 1 ppm, and nitrate levels range from 2 to 150 ppm. citation needed ] During system startup, spikes may occur in the ammonia (up to 6.0 ppm) and nitrite (up to 15 ppm) levels, with nitrate levels peaking later in the startup phase. citation needed ] Since the nitrification process acidifies the water, non- sodium bases such as potassium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide can be added to neutralizing the water’s pH [14]They are naturally present in the water to provide a buffer against acidification. In addition, these nutrients can be added to the nutrients to plants. [14]

A good way to deal with solids buildup in aquaponics is the use of worms, which liquefy the solid organic matter so that it can be used by the plants and / or other animals in the system. For a worm-only growing method, please see Vermiponics .


Water, oxygen, light, feed to the aquatic animals, and electricity to pump, filter, and oxygenate the water. Spawn or fry May be added to replace grown fish That are taken out from the system to retain a steady system. In terms of outputs, an aquaponics system can continually yield plants such as vegetables grown in hydroponics, and edible aquatic species raised in an aquaculture. Typical build ratios are .5 to 1 square foot of US $ gal (3.8 L) of aquaculture water in the system. 1 US gal (3.8 L) of water can support between .5 lb (0.23 kg) and 1 lb (0.45 kg) of fish stock depending on aeration and filtration. [23]

Dr. James Rakocy, Director of the Aquaponics Research Team at the University of the Virgin Islands , based on the extensive research of the Agricultural Experiment Station Aquaculture Program. [24]

  • Use a feeding rate ratio for design calculations
  • Keep feed input relatively constant
  • Supplement with calcium , potassium and iron
  • Ensure good aeration
  • Remove solids
  • Be careful with aggregates
  • Oversize pipes
  • Use biological pest control
  • Ensure adequate biofiltration
  • Control pH

Feed source

As in most aquaculture based systems, stock feed often consists of fish meal derived from lower-value species. Ongoing depletion of wild fish stocks makes this practice unsustainable. Organic fish feeds may prove to be viable alternative that relieves this concern. Alternative Other include growing duckweed with an aquaponics system That Feeds la même fish grown on the system, [25] excess worms grown from vermiculture composting, using Prepared kitchen scraps, [26] as well as growing black soldier fly larvae to feed to the fish using composting grub growers. [27]

Water use

Aquaponic systems do not typically discharge but rather recirculate and reuse water very effectively. The system has a stable relationship between the environment and the environment. Plants are capable of recovering nutrients from the circulating water, which can be minimized. [28] Water is added only to replace water loss from absorption and transpiration by plants, evaporation into the air from water surface , overflow from the system from rainfalland removal of biomass such as settled solid from the system. As a result, aquaponics uses approximately 2% of the water that conventionally irrigated farm requires for the same vegetable production. [29] This permits for aquaponic production of both crops and fish in areas where water or fertile land is scarce. Aquaponic systems can also be used to replicate controlled wetland conditions. Constructed wetlands can be useful for biofiltration and treatment of typical household sewage . [30] The nutrient-filled overflow can be accumulated in catchment tanks, and reused to accelerate growth of crops in the soil, or it can be pumped back into the aquaponic system.

Energy use

Aquaponic installations rely on varying degrees on man-made energy, and solutions for environmental recirculation and water / ambient temperatures. HOWEVER, if a system is designed with energy conservation in mind, using alternative energy and has Reduced number of pumps by letting the water flow downwards as much as possible, it can be highly energy efficient. While careful design can minimize the risk, aquaponics systems can have multiple ‘single points of failure’ where such problems can lead to a complete loss of fish stock.

Fish stocking

In order to be economically viable, it is also necessary to provide the most efficient and cost-effective services. [14] To keep the biomass of fish in the system at its maximum (without limiting fish growth), there are 3 main stocking methods that can help maintain this maximum.

  • Sequential rearing: Multiple age groups of fish share a rearing tank, and when an age group reaches market size they are selectively harvested and replaced with the same amount of fingerlings. [14] Downsides to this method, which is one of the most important factors in the production of food waste. [14]
  • Stock splitting: Large quantities of fingerlings are stocked at once and then split into two groups. The maximum capacity, which is easier to record and eliminates fish being “forgotten”. A stress-free way of doing this operation is via “swimways” that connect various rearing tanks and a series of hatches / moving screens / pumps that move the fish around. [14]
  • Multiple rearing units: Full groups of fish are moving to larger tanks. Such systems generally have 2-4 tanks that share a filtration system, and when the larger tank is harvested, the other fish groups are each moved up to a larger tank while the smallest tank is restocked with fingerlings. [14] It is also common to be more efficient than others, where it is possible to move the fish during harvesting, even if the space is inefficient when the fish are fingerlings. [14]

Ideally the bio-mass of fish in the rearing tanks does not exceed 0.5 lbs / gallon, in order to reduce stress from crowding, efficiently feed the fish and promote healthy growth. [14]

Disease and pest management

Pesticides may normally be used in the treatment of pesticides, in an aquaponic system. If the fish acquire parasites or diseases, therapeutants can not be used as the plants would absorb them. [14] In order to maintain the symbiotic relationship between the plants and the fish, non-chemical methods such as traps, physical barriers and biological control (such as parasitic wasps / ladybugs to control white flies / aphids) should be used to control pests . [14]

Economic viability

Aquaponics offers a diverse and stable polyculture system that allows farmers to grow vegetables and raise fish at the same time. By having two sources of profit, farmers can continue to earn money even if the market for fish or seedlings goes through a low cycle. [19] The flexibility of an aquaponic system allows it to grow at a wide variety of crops, herbs, flowers and aquatic plants to a broad spectrum of consumers. [19] Herbs, lettuce and specialty greens such as basil or spinach are especially well suited for low nutritional needs. [19]For the growing number of eco-conscious consumers, products from organic systems and pesticides, while also leaving a small environmental footprint. [19] Aquaponic systems are more economically efficient due to low water use, effective nutrient cycling and requiring little land to operate.[19] Because soil isn’t needed and only a little bit of water is required, aquaponic systems can be set up in areas that have traditionally poor soil quality or contaminated water.[19] More importantly, aquaponic systems are usually free of weeds, pests and diseases that would affect soil, which allows them to consistently and quickly produce high quality crops to sell.[19]

Current examples

The Caribbean island of Barbados is an initiative to start aquaculture at home, called the aquaponic machine, with revenue generated by selling produce to tourists in an effort to reduce growing dependence on imported food.

Dakota College at Bottineau in Bottineau, North Dakota has an aquaponics program that gives students the ability to obtain a certificate or an AAS degree in aquaponics.

In Bangladesh , the world’s most densely populated country , the most farmers use agrochemicals to improve food production and storage life, though the country lacks oversight on safe levels of chemicals in foods for human consumption. [31] To fight this issue, a team led by MA Salam at the Department of Aquaculture of Bangladesh Agricultural University has created plans for a low-cost aquaponics system to provide organic produce and fish for people living in climatic conditions such as the salinity -prone southern area and the flood-prone haor area in the eastern region. [32] [33] Salam’s work innovates a form ofsubsistence farming for micro-production, chowdhury, and graffiti was the only way out of the economy .

With more than a third of Palestinian agricultural lands in the Gaza Strip turned into a buffer area by Israel , an aquaponic gardening system is Developed for use Appropriate we rooftops in Gaza City . [34]

The Smith Road facility in Denver started the program of aquaponics to feed 800 to 1000 inmates at Denver Jail and neighboring downtown facility which consist of 1,500 inmates and 700 officers.

In Malaysia Alor Gajah, Melaka, Organization ‘Persatuan Akuakutur Malaysia’ takes an innovative approach in aquaponics by growing Lobster in aquaponics. [35]

VertiFarms in New Orleans targets corporate rooftops for vertical farming, growing up to 90 corporate customers for rooftop vertical farming in 2013. [36]

Windy Drumlins Farm in Wisconsin. [37]

Volunteer operation in Nicaragua “Amigos for Christ” marching farms for farming 900+ poverty-stricken school by using nutrients from aquaponics method. [37]

Aquaponics in India aims to provide aspiring farmers with solutions for commercial and backyard operation. [38]

Verticulture in Bedstuy utilizes old Pfizer manufacturing plant for producing basil in commercial scale through aquaponics, yielding 30-40 pounds of basil a week. [39]

Aquaponics startup Edenworks in New York expands to full-scale commercial facility, which will generate 130,000 pounds of greens and 50,000 pounds of fish a year. [40]

There has-been a shift Towards community integration of aquaponics, Such As the nonprofit foundation Growing Power That offers Milwaukee youth job training while Opportunities and growing food for Their community. The model has been spawned several satellite projects in other cities, such as New Orleans where the Vietnamese fisherman’s community has suffered from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill , and the South Bronx in New York City . [41]

Whispering Roots is a non-profit organization in Omaha, Nebraska that provides fresh, locally grown, healthy food for socially and economically disadvantaged communities using aquaponics, hydroponics and urban farming . [42] [43]

In addition, aquaponic gardeners from all around the world are gathering in online community forums and websites to share Their experiences and Promote the development of this form of gardening [44] as well as extensive Creating resources is how to build home systems.

Recently, aquaponics has been moving towards indoor production systems. In cities like Chicago, entrepreneurs are using vertical designs to grow food year round. These systems can be used to grow food round the world. [45]

There are various modular systems made for the public that utilize aquaponic systems to produce organic vegetables and herbs, and provide indoor decor at the same time. [46] These systems can serve as a source of herbs and vegetables indoors. Universities are promoting researches on these modular systems as they are more popular among city dwellers. [47]

See also

  • Vertical farming
  • Hydroponics


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  31. Jump up^ Some important talks on pest management (বালাই দমন সংক্রান্ত জরুরি কিছু কথা). InBengali. The Sangbad, 29 January 2011
  32. Jump up^ Fish & vegetable culture through aqaponics technology (এ্যাকোয়াপনিক্স প্রযুক্তিতে মাছ-সবজি চাষ). InBengali. The Daily Janakantha, January 28, 2011
  33. Jump up^ Innovation of a BAU researcher: “Aquaponics technology” three times production without any cost (বাকৃবি গবেষকের উদ্ভাবন একোয়াপনিক্স প্রযুক্তি প্রযুক্তি প্রযুক্তি ছাড়াই ছাড়াই তিন তিন গুণ গুণ). InBengali. The Daily Kalerkantho, January 25, 2011
  34. Jump up^ Rooftop Gardens provide ‘answer for Gaza’. Al Jazeera, January 24, 2015
  35. Jump up^ “Denver jail sustainably growing food through aquaponics – The Denver Post” . Retrieved 2017-04-17 .
  36. Jump up^ “Idealists in Action” VertiFarms ” . . Retrieved 2017-04-17 .
  37. ^ Jump up to:b “Our Commercial Aquaponics Students – Friendly Aquaponics” . Friendly Aquaponics . Retrieved 2017-04-17 .
  38. Jump up^ “Services | Aquaponics In India” . Aquaponics In India . Retrieved 2017-04-17 .
  39. Jump up^ “In Brooklyn aquaponic farm, basil grown with tilapia is the future” . The Verge . 2016-06-15 . Retrieved 2017-04-17 .
  40. Jump up^ Magee, Christine. “Edenworks Is Building The Future Of Food On Urban Rooftops” . TechCrunch . Retrieved 2017-04-17 .
  41. Jump up^ Harris, L. Kasimu. “Aquaponics being taught in Vietnamese community” . Louisiana Weekly . Retrieved 13 February 2012 .
  42. Jump up^ “Mission | Whispering Roots” . . Retrieved 2016-01-02 .
  43. Jump up^ Lee, Cheril. “Kids and Collaboration” . Retrieved 25 August 2013 .
  44. Jump up^ “Fish farming in a high-rise world” . BBC News US & Canada . April 29, 2012 . Retrieved April 24, 2013 .
  45. Jump up^ “Aquaponic farming operations taking root” . Chicago Tribune . May 25, 2011 . Retrieved June 9, 2013 .
  46. Jump up^ “Aquaponics systems that makes you self sustained for food” . Small Garden Ideas . Retrieved 2016-01-02 .
  47. Jump up^ “The Indoor Aquaponics Farm” . Retrieved June 3, 2013 .

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