Aquaponics is a system that combines aquaculture & hydroponics used to cultivate plants and fish in a closed water cycle. Aquaculture is the production and cultivation of aquatic animals and hydroponics is a method of growing plants in water without soil. The plants and the fish have a symbiotic relationship where the waste produced by the fish is used to fertilize the plants and in turn, the plant removes the toxins from the water and recirculates it back into the water tank. It is the most efficient way to produce quality organic vegetables and fish with little to no carbon footprint. It can be used inside your home or on a large industrial scale.
The main benefit of a closed cycle aquaponics system is that it conserves water. It uses between 2% and 10% of the water used in conventional soil based agriculture. The water that is used in the cycle is nutrient and mineral dense, which increases plant growth at a rapid rate. Another benefit of aquaponics is that it is sustainable and profitable on a commercial scale. A study conducted by The University of Hawaii compared the profitability of commercial scale aquaponics with conventional methods of agriculture and aquaculture. They found that aquaponics yielded a 100% gross profit while agricultural methods yielded 75% gross profit and aquaculture had a 58% gross profit.
We currently have an aquaponics system set up in our backyard that was made from a 275 gallon IBC tank. The top third of the tank was cut and flipped over to be used as the grow bed while the bottom half is holding koi fish. This method is referred to as chop and flip aquaponics.