What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is the fusion of two sciences, aquaculture (growing fish in water) and hydroponics (growing plants in water). One “system” which takes about an eighth of an acre of land can produce 11,000 pounds of fish and 16,000 pounds of vegetables per year. This one system consists of four 2000 gallon fish tanks and six 4’x100’ (2400 sq ft) vegetable hydroponic grow beds.
Unlike hydroponics, which typically uses chemicals to grow plants, aquaponics uses the nutrient rich fish water. This is done in a continuous recirculating cycle. The water flows from the fish rearing tanks, to the clarifier where solids are removed, then to the filter and degassing tanks to remove the ammonia by a nitrification process where nitrites (poison to plants) become nitrates (plants love). This nutrient rich water then flows to the hydroponic plant beds where it is further filtered by the plants and then pumped back to the fish fresh and clean. This entire UVI system can be done on eighth of an acre of land, and produce 10,000 pounds of fish (tilapia is ideal) and 16,000 pounds of vegetables per year. If more fish or vegetables are needed, multiply the UVI systems until the target amount is reached.
Advantages of the aquaponics system include the following:
- Aquaponics uses less than 5% of the water that traditional farming does.
- Aquaponics is energy-efficient: our current systems use one-tenth of the energy conventional farming.
- Aquaponics has eight to ten times more vegetable production in the same area and time.
- Aquaponics is fully scalable from indoor systems to backyard family systems to full commercial systems.
This aquaponics system (referred to as the UVI System) has been researched by Dr. James Rakosy, Donald Bailey, and Charlie Shultz at the University of the Virgin Islands for the past 36 years. It is fully described in the SRAC publication # 454, Nov 2006, and available from KY State University. It is there under the instruction of Dr. Rakocy that AquaGreen CEO received certification and hands-on training.