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Instead of using soil or toxic chemical solutions to grow plants, aquaponics uses highly nutritious fish effluent that contains all the required nutrients for optimum plant growth. Instead of discharging water, aquaponics uses the plants and the media in which they grow to clean and purify the water, after which it is returned to the fish tank. This water can be reused indefinitely and will only need to be replaced when it is lost through transpiration and evaporation. Two primary methods of aquaponics growing are most widely in use today.


  • The raft-based aquaponics growing system uses a foam raft that is floating in a channel filled with fish effluent water that has been through filtration to remove solid wastes. Plants are placed in holes in the raft and the roots dangle freely in the water. This method is most appropriate for growing salad greens and other fast-growing, relatively low-nutrient plants.
  • The second method is called media-based aquaponics because plants are grown in inert planting media (gravel, expanded clay pellets, coir, etc.).  The media provides both biological (ammonia-based waste) and mechanical (solid waste) filtration, so requires far less maintenance than raft-based systems.  Large, fruiting plants are also grown much more successfully in media-based systems than in rafts.
  • The third method is called hybrid aquaponics, which is a combination of the two.  The media beds become the pre-filter for the solid waste before the water enters the raft systems.  This hybrid system style is the focus of The Aquaponic Source’s AquaBundance systems because it provides planting flexibility, high productivity, and low maintenance.
Raising fish and plants together can successfully improve food self-sustainability. Aquaponics and hydroponics systems are quickly moving from the realm of experimental to commercial as researchers and growers alike have turned the systems into working models of sustainable food production. Aquaculture, for example, is one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. and global agricultural economies, growing at a rate of 6.5 percent per year, according to the Fisheries Technologies Associates, Inc. The 2007 USDA census of agriculture counted 6,409 farmers and ranchers reporting freshwater aquaculture sales in the US. Total sales were $1.4 billion.
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Hydroponic vegetables are beautiful..jpg
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