What Is Aquaponics?

What Is Aquaponics?

Take the work out of gardening! Use the gardening technique that the EU says will change the world. Learn how to grow fish with plants through Aquaponics.


If you have a bit of a green thumb or grew up with someone who loves gardening, you probably know all about the traditional way we grow plants—in soil.

But there are a lot of reasons why this traditional form of agriculture is both labor and resource intensive. Think about it, you need to irrigate, fertilize, and weed your plants. This takes a lot of pesticides, water, and/or the fuel and manual labor to produce food.

Wouldn’t it be better if all those needs were taken care of naturally?

That’s what aquaponic systems do. These systems combine the growth of aquatic life—usually fish—and plants in a controlled, recirculating environment. These systems create a “biologically automated” ecosystem—which means they basically circulate on their own—that conserves water, produces plants and fish, and only requires minimal effort from the grower to sustain.

In 2015, the European Parliamentary Research Service selected Aquaponic systems as 1 of the 10 technologies that could change our lives.

Define Aquaponics

Aquaponics is the coming together of aquaculture and hydroponics.

There’s More to the Aquaponics Cycle Than Meets the Eye

Aquaponic fish provide nutrients that feed aquaponic plants. But, how?

Tiny microbes, invisible to the naked eye, exist in the porous substrate where the plant roots’ mature. This area acts as a chemical bridge between the plant and fish systems.

These microbes are nitrifying bacteria, converting fish waste—ammonia—into nutrients for the plants—nitrates. At the same time, this detoxifies the water for the fish.

Another microbial hero, heterotrophic bacteria, breaks solid fish waste down into its individual elements, which can then be absorbed by plants for growth.

aquaponics cycle

Want to learn more?

Find out How these Systems Work, including how nutrients cycle through the system.

And also, check out Sylvia Bernstein’s Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together. Bernstein has assembled one of the best introductory books on the topic.

One thought on “What Is Aquaponics?

  1. Pingback: Aquaponics History (Aquaponics Foundation Series) - Artisan Aquaponics

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