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Backyard Aquaponics Systems for Food and Profit

Updated on March 8, 2011

Aquaponics is a cutting edge sustainable technology that combines aquaculture with hydroponics.

How Aquaponics Works

Aquaponic systems work on very simple principles. The effluent from fish farming is used as liquid fertilizer for a hydroponics system growing vegetables, flowers, or other plants. In turn, the plants purify the water for the fish, allowing the water to be recirculated into the fish tank and reused.

The most common fish raised in aquaponics systems is the tilapia. Other common fish include trout, perch, and barramundi, as well as shrimp and crawfish. Common plants include lettuce and other salad greens, tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, and more.

Tilapia is the most common fish grown in aquaponic systems. Photo by michael rupert.
Tilapia is the most common fish grown in aquaponic systems. Photo by michael rupert.

The Benefits of Aquaponics

Aquaponic systems are very space and labor efficient because they grow two or more products in the same space. They typically require one third the energy and, because of the recirculating water system, use just 10% of the water of conventional farming practices.

Despite the efficient use of resources, studies have found that aquaponic systems can actually produce 8 to 10 times the volume of vegetables in the same space and time as conventional farming systems.This makes aquaponics an especially promising technology for building local, sustainable food sources in areas with few natural water resources.

Aquaponic systems can be purchased as kits or made from scratch.

Depending on the size of the system, aquaponics can be used to grow fresh food year round for your family, or to earn extra money selling fish, greens, tomatoes, or other crops.


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    • The Unlearner profile image

      Jo 4 years ago from Isle of Wight UK

      We all need to get into aquaponics,it is the future for self-sufficiency. I am in the UK, and I am currently building a system in our back garden, plus a geo-dome.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 5 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Pretty cool. I've heard of this before. Sounds like an ideal setup for home gardeners.

    • salt profile image

      salt 7 years ago from australia

      wonderful, may I link it to my portable garden hub?

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Wow, that was something interesting, useful and really revolutioary. I think that should really be taken up the agreculture. Great idea. Thank you for your hub.