What Are The Benefits of Aquaponics?
The benefits of aquaponics are many and varied. Every system is different and reflects the overall goals of those utilizing aquaponics as a growing method. The following are generally recognised as some of the important benefits of aquaponic technologies:
- Aquaponics is considered a natural and sustainable method of farming that produces both a protein and vegetable crop.
- Aquaponics can be used to sustainably raise fresh fish and vegetables as food in private systems or for generating profit in commercial ventures.
- Compared to traditional agriculture, aquaponics uses only a small fraction of the water to grow produce in an efficient and sustainable, and highly productive manner.
- Can provide up to 8 times more food per acre compared to traditional agriculture.
- Fish waste acts as a natural fertilizer utilized by plants.
- No reliance on manufactured chemical fertilizers and is a great example of farming that provides fresh local food that is free of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers.
- Fish are free of growth hormones and antibiotics.
- When combined with controlled environments and indoor operations, you can grow year-round in any climate.
- Integrated systems have a small environmental footprint.
- Eliminates soil-borne diseases.
- Allows closer plant spacing, which will help produce more crops and harvests per year.
What Can You Grow Using Aquaponics?
A variety of plants can be grown with aquaponics. These include leafy greens and herbs such as lettuce or parsley, rooting crops like carrots, or fruiting plants such as tomatoes or strawberries. Ornamentals such as ferns, palms, and other flowering plants can also be grown in these systems. Similarly, a wide variety of fish can be raised with aquaponics. These can range from fish typically grown for human consumption like Tilapia species and Yellow Perch, or ornamental fish such as Koi, Guppies, or Goldfish. However, a general rule of thumb is that fish and plants should have similar needs as it relates to environmental needs and water quality parameters such as temperature, pH and alkalinity. Because aquaponics combines plants with animal production, it has a special set of water chemistry requirements. Optimal water quality is essential to a healthy, balanced, functioning system. A good understanding of how water quality parameters interact with each other is necessary to maintain a balanced system. Streamline Aquaponics can help guide you through these important water quality parameters that affect the health and productivity of aquaponics systems.
Here are some plants and fish appropriate for aquaponics along with ideal temperature ranges and time to harvest:
|Plant||Ideal Temperature Range for Growth (°C)||Time to Harvest (Weeks)|
|Lettuces||16 – 20||6 – 10|
|Arugula||15 – 20||3 – 7|
|Beans and Peas||18 – 26||6 – 10|
|Broccoli||13 – 20||8 – 14|
|Brussels Sprouts||18 – 20||13 – 17|
|Choi||21 – 25||5 – 7|
|Kohlrabi||17 – 21||6 – 10|
|Cabbage||15 – 21||7 – 10|
|Cauliflower||15 – 21||6 – 12|
|Celery||15 – 25||11 – 17|
|Corn Salad||5 – 18||3 – 5|
|Cucumber||22 – 27||6 – 9|
|Tomatoes||22 – 26||12 – 17|
|Eggplant||21 – 25||12 – 17|
|Peppers||22 – 30||8 – 13|
|Fennel||15 – 21||8 – 10|
|Microgreens||15 – 18||1 – 2|
|Leeks||10 – 21||12 – 15|
|Kale||10 – 21||2 – 5|
|Swiss Chard||16 – 24||3 – 5|
|Parsley||15 – 25||2 – 4|
|Cilantro||5 – 24||5 – 6|
|Fish||Ideal Temperature Range for Growth (°C)|