What is Aquaponics?

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Aquaponics is the usage of aquaculture and hydroponics in one system. Aquaculture is the breeding and raising of fish while Hydroponics is the raising of plants in water. Even before the term Aquaponics was coined, this technology is traced back to the civilization of the ancient Aztec. They used to cultivate and grow crops using the mud and water from network of canals and artificial islands they call “Chinampas”.  Also, ancient Chinese used this system using their ducks, finfish ponds and catfishes for their rice and vegetable farm irrigation.


Aquaponics uses circulating water from the fish tank into a separate water bed where the plants are located. The water from the fish tank is being pumped out to the plants’ water bed. Then, the water that contains the fishes’ waste serves as fertilizer while the plants filter it by absorbing the nutrients from the water. The filtered water will then be pumped back to the fish tank as oxygenated water for the fish and the cycle goes on.  Below is a simple diagram showing the process of Aquaponics.

Aquaponic system needs only three important things – Fish, Plants and Microbes.  The microbes do the most important work in the nutrient cycle.  This system don’t use soil but alternative growing media can be used such as clay pebbles, stones, small rocks, gravel or simply on the nutrient- rich water from the fish tanks.


Aquaponics have different advantages. With this system, the water used will be reduced as it employs circulating water and using chemicals or artificial pesticides is not needed as healthy plants repel pests and diseases. This also saves a lot on operational cost for it only needs a pump to keep the water circulating. The system offers convenience for home gardeners for soil- digging and weeding are unnecessary.

In Aquaponics, use of chemical fertilizers are not needed as the fishes provide the plants’ nutrients with their wastes. Also, build- up of wastes that causes the water to become toxic for the fishes is eliminated as the plants filter the water for the fishes. In using this method, you don’t need to replace your water, you just have to add more as it evaporates. Most importantly, this system does not require complicated filtration system as the fishes and plants do it for each other.

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