The terms “aquaculture” and “hydroponics,” which are both terms for growing plants in water without soil and are currently utilized in modern horticulture production, respectively, are derived from the Latin and Greek meanings for water (aqua and hydro).
The term “aquaponics” was first used in the 1970s. By combining the two food production systems into one, aquaponics creates a system that produces both terrestrial plants and aquatic species.
Aquaponics is a type of agriculture where plants and fish are grown together in a closed system. The plants filter the water for the fish, and the fish provide nutrients for the plants. Aquaponics is popular because it is a very efficient way to produce food. The water is recycled so very little waste is produced, and it can be done in small spaces.
The article briefly described the history of aquaponics and advances in this sector.
History of aquaponics
The aquaponic system has its origins in the ancient Aztec and Chinese cultures. The Aztecs were growing chinampas, or floating gardens, on Lake Texcoco as early as the 1400s.
The Aztecs used an aquaponics system to grow crops on the agricultural peninsula known as chinampas, the earliest of which date to 1150–1350 CE.
In this system, plants were grown on fixed or occasionally mobile islands in lake shallows where nutrient-rich mud from the Chinampa channels could be excavated and spread on the peninsula to encourage plant development.
These gardens were a combination of hydroponic and aquaculture systems. The plants were grown in nutrient-rich water that was circulated from fish ponds.
The Chinese were also growing aquatic plants in their rice paddies centuries ago.
In order to meet the needs of the year-round family by using a holistic approach to provide fish, shelter, and vegetables. John, Nancy Todd, and William McLarney established the New Alchemy organization in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the year of 1969.
They also constructed a small, self-sufficient farm module inside a home called the “Ark” to serve this purpose.
The first closed-loop aquaponic system was developed in the middle of the 1980s by Professor Doug Sanders and graduate student Mark McMurtry at North Carolina University.
They used a trickle system to water, and nourish tomatoes and cucumbers in sand grow beds utilizing the waste from fish. The system’s biofilter was also carried out by the sand. The water back to the tanks after percolating through the sand.
NC State (United States) revealed that water consumption from the integrated systems it developed was only 5 percent of that used for pond-culture farming of tilapia.
This development, along with other related initiatives, alerted us to the benefits of integrated aquaculture and hydroponic systems for raising fish and growing vegetables, mainly in areas with scarce water and arid climates.
While aquaponic farming has enjoyed only limited popularity, it’s still a relatively novel agricultural practice that only has a few industry professionals and research centers scattered around the globe, primarily with extensive experience.
Much of the contemporary science of aquaponics is based on the early study of McMurtry and Sanders.
The Tilapia mossambica and Cyprinus carpio fish species were produced in a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) alongside iceberg lettuce and tomatoes without the use of specialized plant fertilizers for the first time (Naegel, 1977).
Dr. James Rakocy of the Virgin Island University made the biggest leap. He oversaw extensive research on tilapia in warm-water aquaponic systems as a Research Professor of Aquaculture and Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station from roughly 1980 to 2010.
In the early to mid-1980s, more effective system designs, improved biofiltration, and a greater refinement of the seeds-to-plant ratios led to the advancement of closed growing systems with recycling in mind.
Today, scientists study aquaculture to develop techniques that help reduce waste development, while hydroponic innovators work toward finding more efficient hydroponic systems.
The largest amount of current research on aquaponics is still his work on nutrient recycling, water conservation, and reuse. Create a hydroponic lettuce farming system using a recirculating fish culture system.
Although it needed several years to build, Dr. Rakocy’s technology had already shown itself to be dependable, sturdy, and effective by the time 1999 rolled around. His innovations are still used today, from aquaponics at home to commercial scale.
James Rakocy, a leader in the area of research and education, has been utilizing what’s known as ratio and calculation to enhance the production of fish and vegetables. He’s focused on the effects of feeding fish to balanced ecosystems.
In Australia, Wilson Lennard has also developed other plans for different systems. In Canada, research by Nick Savidov produced results that indicate advantage systems yielded better output in terms of tomatoes and cucumbers.
The release of milestone research across multiple disciplines has inspired the development of numerous healing firms and training organizations popping up everywhere.
Advanced Technology in Aquaponics
Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, two advanced agricultural technologies. In aquaponics, the fish waste provides the nutrients that the plants need to grow, and the plants act as a natural filter for the water in which the fish live.
This symbiotic relationship between plants and fish is what makes aquaponics so efficient and sustainable.
The use of advanced technology in aquaponics is what allows us to create these types of systems on a small scale, such as in our homes or even on rooftops.
One of the most important pieces of technology in an aquaponic system is the pump. The pump circulates the water from the fish tank to the plant bed and back again.
It is important that this water be circulated consistently in order to provide enough oxygen for both the fish and the plants.
The use of advanced technology has allowed aquaponics to become more efficient and productive. For example, the use of LED grow lights has eliminated the need for natural sunlight, allowing plants to be grown year-round.
Additionally, computerized monitoring systems can track pH levels, water temperature, and nutrient levels, allowing farmers to optimize their systems for maximum yields.
Advanced technology is being used in aquaponics systems to help improve their efficiency. One example is the use of sensors to monitor the pH levels, water temperature, and dissolved oxygen levels in the system.
This helps to ensure that the system is running smoothly and that the plants and fish are getting what they need to thrive.
Why Aquaponics is Popular in Modern World
Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture and hydroponics, where the waste produced by farmed fish provides organic food for plants, and the plants provide natural filtration for the water.
This mutually beneficial relationship allows farmers to produce two valuable crops in one system. Aquaponics is becoming an increasingly popular way to farm, both because it is efficient and because it produces healthy sustainable food.
One reason aquaponics is growing in popularity is that it is a very efficient way to farm. A small amount of water can be used to grow large quantities of fish and plants.
The water is recycled through the system, so very little waste is produced. This closed-loop system means that there is the little environmental impact from aquaponics farming.
Another reason for the popularity of aquaponics is that it produces healthy, sustainable food.
Read Popular Articles
- Southern, Adrian, and Whelm King. The aquaponic farmer: a complete guide to building and operating a commercial aquaponic system. New Society Publishers, 2017.
- Goddek, Simon, et al. Aquaponics food production systems: combined aquaculture and hydroponic production technologies for the future. Springer Nature, 2019.
- Palm, Harry W., et al. “Towards commercial aquaponics: a review of systems, designs, scales, and nomenclature.” Aquaculture International 26.3 (2018): 813-842.
- Naegel, Ludwig CA. “Combined production of fish and plants in recirculating water.” Aquaculture 10.1 (1977): 17-24.
- Rakocy, J. E. “Hydroponic lettuce production in a recirculating fish culture system.” Island perspectives (USA) (1988).