Aquaponics - An Innovative and effective way of farming
Aquaponics is the merger of fish cultivation commonly known as aquaculture along with hydroponics, a kind of plant farming devoid of soil. The improving rate of scientific and technological improvement has kept scientists and researchers to keep them updated with all innovation. Aquaculture came into existence with increased productivity with reduced ecological impact, integration between production systems and reduced use of chemicals are some of the leading principles that more sustainable fish production needs to follow. Worldwide level need for food and reduced production urges the need for food production. Aquaculture represents fish farming along with hydroponics.
Fish produces nitrogenous waste as the main source. Accumulation of this waste may be fatal for the life of fish, meantime it can also be used as nutrients. The plants will remove the nitrogenous substance from water and fish could be benefited by this process. Various cultures are made using this cycle to grow crops better and make use of the fish as an additional source for food.
Modernized form of aquaponics differs from its traditional way of cultivation. In modern aquaponics the plant root is embedded into the tank that was filled with fishes that could produce nitrogen waste, where the plant root observes the source for its growth. This method was used with integrated hydroponics technology. There is no use of chemical fertilizers and this system also makes use of natural biological cycles (Nitrification). This could prevent the purchase of fertilizer, no soil-borne diseases, no tilling, and no weeds. This results in high fish stocking density, high crop yield.
How Aquaponics Works?
Fish being a major need for the aquaponics system, fish are raised in a tank, the fish lives as it does in ponds, rivers, etc., and also they generate waste that has a nitrogenous sources in it that were used as organic fertilizer for plants. Water with a nitrogen source was pumped to the plants. Plants do observe the rich nutrient present; bacteria present in it will convert ammonia and nitrite to nitrate. The nutrient-free water is recirculated back to the fish tank.
Factors Influencing the Availability of Nutrient Content
· Density of fish population
· Size of fish
· Temperature of water
· Leftover fish food in water
· Availability of beneficial bacteria
· Amount of plants in the system
· Media present in system
· Water flow rate
These factors should be maintained timely and tightly for the optimum growth of the plant.
Plants are mostly grown with aquaponics as they have beneficial factors, this system provides continuous nutrients for the plants, warm water bathing the roots, no need for water or food search, no weed competition.
Management of Fish Health
Good hygiene should be practiced and bio security-prevention, avoidance, selective access, and common sense should always be exercised. Before stocking fish from other facilities into owns system it should be quarantined properly. Their health should be monitored for several days, treat it necessary. The best defense is fish’s own immune system. An environment with low-stress has to be maintained to take care of fish health.
· Fish should be fed 2-3 times a day, it shouldn’t be overfed.
· Feeding fish should be only 5-10 minutes.
· Fish won’t eat if they are too cold, too hot, or stressed, thus temperature conditions should be well regulated.
· Water quality should be checked periodically.
· Fish behavior and appearance should be observed.
High stocking rates as fish produce ammonia, algae, minerals that are to be constantly filtered and Management requires skills in growing fish and plants.