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Aquaponic farming is on the up swing

Updated on April 23, 2014

A cool example of just how simple it is.

This is such a cool example of scale-ability and the process.
This is such a cool example of scale-ability and the process. | Source

Aquaponics ancient and New Age

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is an organic type of sustainable agriculture and fish farming combination. It is a synergistic approach to raising food. Aquaponics is a combination of Aquaculture (raising fish) and Hydroponics (water only plant farming) Aquaponics is a symbiotic relationship between plants and fish that creates a sustainable and speedy production of fish, fruits, vegetables and herbs. Water is rotated between where fish create a fertilized water and the plants use that water and create clarified water for the fish. There are some bacteria involved to remove ammonia but otherwise it is fully a closed loop system like a tiny ecosphere unto its own.

For clarification from, dictionary.reference.com:

aq·ua·cul·ture

[ak-wuh-kuhl-cher, ah-kwuh-] noun the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants, especially fish, shellfish, and seaweed, in natural or controlled marine or freshwater environments; underwater agriculture.

hy·dro·pon·ics [hahy-druh-pon-iks] noun ( used with a singular verb )the cultivation of plants by placing the roots in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil; soilless growth of plants. Compare aeroculture, geoponics.

And so Aquaponics is the combination of the two.

Rendering of how awesome the Aztec aquaponics were.

I just imagine!
I just imagine! | Source

Not New but not old.

A little fun history to put it in perspective.

Think of a rice paddy, it is fully a “wet” environment and usually with constant water of depth. The smart farmer will also have fish in his rice paddy and raise them also. The fish help the plants by pooping and the plants help the fish by cleaning up the poop.

One of the favorites are the Aztecan floating islands from around Mexico City area. Legend has it some of the islands housed 100 and grew trees as tall as two story buildings, and just floated in the lake. “Chinampas” is a word associated with that concept.

Those to would be examples of Aquaponics in a large setting.

What is really cool to note here is that the aquaponic notion is really just doing it like nature does it anyway. Of course in nature there is water with aquatic life and next to or in the water grow plants of all the varities in the world.

From a distance needs to look the same as up close!

Just think of Nature and how perfect it is, we can mimic that!

Take it “Enaturally”, a look at nature.

There is a bare foot bare chested boy with a stick fishing pole and a shiny bucket by his side. He is in an arid land let us call it Arizona. But in the arid land is a creek that runs through a narrow canyon. That is where the boy sits with his pole but more interested in the dragonfly, butterflies and bees at the moment. The babbling brook has trout in it, rainbow trout and minnows and frogs and turtles and an invasive Crayfish. In the water, Watercress grows along with Horsetail grass and little lichens and algae. All of this edible in some fashion for the boy. Creeping down to the banks is wild grass and blackberry bushes and wonderful fresh dandelions with leaves the size of his hand. Along the bank are also trees growing tall and some new and young. There are wild sunflowers and all types of wildflowers nearby. Birds and insects flutter from one to another and over to the small orchard of a variety of fruit.

All these things work in a symbiotic synergistic relationship to create paradise as we would know it on earth. But if not dramatically abused or over harvested the serene landscape also provides for an abundance of food for man.

That my friends is aquaponics at it’s finest. Now let us put that to use to create a powerful or mild food producing system of our own.

How cool is this?

We can do so much and so much more.
We can do so much and so much more. | Source

Let us get practical.

So you are going to start a farm.

You are going to need some stuff but first let us look at what you will do if you choose.

Promote healthy living and with it agro-tourism for your “garden” will be an attraction.

Sell produce to consumers, restaurants, farmers markets and produce markets and wholesale.

Promote sustainable farming and conservation and ecology – even a basic notion of recycling.

Create jobs, for machines can provide but people must take care of the crops.

Use up to 90% less water than conventional farming.

Create clear good oxygen to our world

Produce up to ten times more food per square feet than conventional farming.

Team with schools and teach about healthy food and alternative production.

Costs of start up.

How much you spend is up to you. A good 140 ft by 40 greenhouse with all the infrastructure is going to cost you about 200 thousand dollars. It should be paying for itself in six months. We have been doing startups for 3 decades now and this is the first we have seen that is actually realistic at that estimate. That is because you can actually grow a full crop of lettuce in one month and the idea for construction is more like Legos than a house or office building.

Now do not get me wrong. You can get “portable” green houses on a smaller scale and you can actually build all this stuff yourself. An associate is actually doing a fully operational one in TJ by hand – no problem and fun. A “portable greenhouse just means one without a foundation and throughout the lands very little permitting is required for such and they can actually just go in a back yard.

Or you can forget the green house all together, they even have some made on wheels. The concept is totally scalable as is obvious from the photo.

You could actually just dig a ditch with a shovel buy used pvc piping and a used pump and be well on your way to a profit center – (scalable albeit ;-)

Of course there are other materials and you have got to filter most water unless you have that babbling brook running through your land.

You do need some land but heck you can do this in a warehouse district or out in the boonies.

Will you please?

Do you support organic sustainable farming by buying the products?

See results

Why aquaponics

For instances:

California is suffering the worst drought in recorded history. And 80% of its’ water goes to agriculture.

Synthetic fertilizers and genetically altered stuff are yuckie.

21,000 people die each day because of “starvation and water” related issues, in this world.

We need you people to either do or support this type of farming. It can save lives and our planet in serious ways. Even just focusing on herbs and spices that can be curative and preventative of such things as cancer can make them more available and help many. The world needs less mechanization and more human hands on work with our foods, leading to human productivity and that is good for all. The world needs to use much less water and treat the water we do use with respect.

My vision and it is in the works are green houses surrounded by conventional organic farming outside and in open space, drought resistant horticulture. And all surrounded by fruit trees as wind breaks, aesthetics and production.

(a fun story to end with – I went to planning and zoning and told them what I was going to do, the lady looked at me and called in another planner and said “what the hell is he talking about?”. Well so much for breezing through the permit phase but now 5 hours of talking later and the whole department is a buzz and knows my name and asks questions – good things bring good things.)

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I actually took a college course in this back in the mid-Seventies...and most definitely it is on the upswing.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am waiting until you and Bev get that farm before I come and visit!!! I am sure it will incorporate all this cooool stuff.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 3 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Very good idea! I love it. Billy's bamboos and now your aquaponic made me feel green.

      May I suggest, as a friend, to insert a Goggle map for the Aztecan floating islands, I had to leave your hub and search it. This hub is really good.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      Very interesting and I like the historical examples you cited. Voted up and shared.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for teaching me that word -- aquaponics. Proud of you for teaching it to your planning/zoning folks also. Go Eric!

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Oh if only my day had 48 hours, I would also take on Aquaponic farming as a hobby. I love the first photo, seeing that it can be done on a small scale. Very interesting hub. Voted up

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lastheart, thank you for that great suggestion -- I will be on it tonight.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora just talked to me eldest (daughter in DC) she said it was disgusting. By the end she is looking into buying one for her brownstone.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Me too Nadine, Maybe we can get them all set up for us ;-)

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is a brilliant idea, Aquaponic farming and I am getting interested. I do have an aquarium at my home.

      Very nice information shared by you. Thanks!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you my friend. I think we will get it down to where it will be very helpful in areas like yours. Get one for your home!

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      I knew a man who used his swimming pool for aquaponics. He raised bangus and it was his personal food as well as a business. He also grew all his own vegetables. Before, organic food was very expensive, but now it's more affordable and easier to support this lifestyle Great hub. Upped and shared.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lady, I just have to know, did he still go swimming in the pool? And it made me wonder, can you drink it right out of the pool? That costing is a tricky deal as the market fluctuates just like conventional farming and yet niches can make it where an ounce of the product is worth a lot.

      Thanks for coming by and chatting.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Great information. Very important to know about Aquaponics. I would love to learn how to make the Aquaponic fish tank you show in the first picture. Thanks!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am told that you can go and build one being simple with just floaty stuff on top of a big tank. But also told just to go on line and buy one all set.

    • profile image

      GusTheRedneck 3 years ago

      Hi Eric - We did this sort of thing back in 1949 at the Plant Physiology Dept. of the NY State College of Forestry. Used clean sand to anchor the plants and aqueous chemical solutions to feed 'em.

      Also, a hydroponics farmer from Florida clued me in on his not-so-secret hydroponics large-scale farming "feeding" method - dilute sea water 9 to 1 with plain water and grow the plants in it. (Lots of minerals and trace elements for the plants)

      Regards,

      Gus

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      thanks much Gus, that is very cool. I will research that salt water concept as we have issues with coastal desert fresh water wells,the water is horrible with alkaline. Perhaps blending could produce a solution. I imagine the Asian catfish would go crazy in the saltwater blend.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      A very interesting read Eric and thanks for sharing.

      Eddy.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Eddy I think we will see more and more, I am learning of a another interesting one where there is only a fine mist involved.

    • swilliams profile image

      Emunah La Paz 2 years ago from Arizona

      Aquaponic farming, water only plant farming, this is the first time I've heard of this. Very beautiful picture and interesting concept! I actually like the creativity of this method of farming. I like Judy Collins, She has such a soothing voice! Thanks for sharing! Voted up!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Ms. Williams your presence and comment are most appreciated.

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