When people think about agriculture, they usually envision sprawling farmlands with tractors driving through them harvesting grains to fill silos or to be loaded onto trucks to be sold off at the markets. While that may have been the case years ago, things have been changing and a new type of farming has emerged.
Aquaponics is a new type of organic farming that some claim to be superior to the traditional methods. When looking into it I can definitely see that there are some benefits. But what really are the differences? How easy is it to set up? Can it be done by a single individual or does it require a team? Let’s see if we can answer those questions.
What is aquaponics actually?
Aquaponics is a method of food production that mixes aquaculture (growing fish and other aquatic animals) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). This creates a sustainable system that is simple to operate and needs little maintenance. It is a system that involves farmed fish or other aquatics creatures. The waste that the creatures produce is used to supply the plants with all the nutrients. The plants in turn act as a natural purifier for the water. It is a symbiotic recycling system that benefits all the parts involved.
Why do some choose Aquaponics?
Many people believe that growing food this way is better than traditional organics farming? Why? Because there is no “cheating” involved. I say cheating in the sense that there are now chemicals or pesticides used at all. Any chemicals, even most approved pesticides would kill the fish if used. Even chlorine in regular tap water would kill the fish.
The symbiotic relationship between the fish and the plants mimics the natural cycle that occurs in nature, leading to healthier crops. More that often, traditional farming requires that fertilizers be added to the soil to enrich it and aid the plants in growing. But these supplements can be overall bad, for the plants and for us who eat them. It’s not unheard of that people can get sick from eating foods that were poisoned by the fertilizers that help them grow.
There are also environmental benefits as well to consider. It has been proven that aquaponics use up to 90% less water than traditional farming. The water used to feed the tanks where the fish and plants grow is recycled in a continuous loop. Very little is wasted to evaporation. There is no chemical run-off to rivers or lakes, thereby no contamination of nature. Farmers are also able to make use of structures like abandoned warehouses. Because the crops are grown in tanks and not in the ground, they can be moved and even stacked, thereby saving space, making it possible to grow the same amount of crop using less space. And because the whole process can be done indoors then crops can be grown in virtually any weather, at any time of the year, regardless is the area is rural or urban. There are no pests to cause problems and no weeds to choke the plants. Farmers are also able to have two sources of income, from the veggies they grow and from the fishes too! To me, this is sounding like a major win!
But what about the cost to accomplish all of this?
The stat-up cost for an aquaponics system can vary according to the materials you plan to use and how
large you want to go. It may also be cheaper in some parts of the world than others. It’s a process that
requires some research and professional advice.
The components you would need for the system would include:
- A Sump tank
- UV lights
- A Fish tank
- Mechanical filter
- Varying sizes of PVC piping to serve as planting areas
- Air pumps
The list of requirements can go on, but again, that depends on what you’re actually going for. There is also the cost of labor. If you don’t have the know-how or skills required to get everything up and running, then you’re going to have to pay someone to do that part for you. However, there are countless videos and tutorials to help in this area. (I’ll link on down below)
If you line up the cost side by side; Traditional farming vs Aquaponics, then you are going to see the difference. Aquaponics may cost you a bit more to get up and operational, but the system does eventually pay for itself and then some. With urban areas growing and climate change being a big thing now, this may very well be the future of agriculture.
Best get a head start now!
Aquaponics System Startup Cost: A beginners Guide – Flourishing Plants