These days problems of production of organic agricultural products and food shortages in several countries became more important and actual. One of the modern technologies, which will provide future nations with ecologically clean food without harmful effects on nature, is Aquaponics. This new method is developing day by day. This revolutionary agricultural technology is a logical development of such well known method of growing plants without soil as hydroponics. Description of this method when fishes and plants are living in coexistence was presented in the XIX century. They were describing that potted plants, whose roots were immersed in an aqueous environment of the aquarium, were developing really fast, showing the very same results as their brothers in soil. Researches were also showing that fishes were getting some additional benefits from plants too.
All those ideas are developing nowadays, and main ideas of mentioned agricultural technology was improved and developed by scientists from the University of the Virgin Islands, which gave this new technology its new name – Aquaponics. They took such name, basing on a combination of methods of aquaculture (which involves fish farming in an artificial system) and hydroponics (technology of growing plants in water with the addition of nutrients). A distinctive feature of Aquaponics in comparison with two mentioned methods is that the coexistence of fishes and plants creates a united, closed system waste, which provides ecological balance and successfully competes with current agricultural technologies by the level of expenses.
The main principle of this innovative method is that all fish waste is filtered from the water in which they are found, and transported to plants as a fertilizer, while clean water is brought back to the aquarium with a special pump. By the way, in the “Backyard Liberty” book its author Alec Deacon very lucidly described how aquaponics technology can be used at home. Such knowledge can be useful in the event of war or economic collapse. You will be able to grow ecologically pure greens and vegetables.
Aquaponics technology is constantly developing and improving, in particular, a director of the experimental greenhouses Nick Sevid was working for three years on a farm in Alberta (Canada) in order to improve the performance of the project. He predicts further expansion of the aqua complex. Recent researches of workers of that company show us that the bacterial environment, which fords a harmonious balance of microorganisms in the system is the key to its success and health and allows to harvest two crops of vegetables per year, with total volume of each harvest increasing at least 75% of productivity of vegetables on hydroponics.
No less interesting is a Dutch project, developed in the framework of EcoFutura development, which allows us to grow tomatoes and breed carps simultaneously during winter. Water from tanks with a colony of fishes is constantly monitored and controlled (they check its pH and disinfect it with ultraviolet radiation), it is distributed to the roots of tomatoes after additional mineralization. Water is returned to the tanks with fishes after filtration.
Commercial development of aquaponics requires large amounts of initial investments, which are necessary to build greenhouses and install reservoirs. But the profitability of the method is also very high. Keeping in mind that all ecological products are increasing popularity and demand for them is growing, there are prospects for the introduction of this innovation in the southern regions of the USA. Currently this method is used only by small companies, which grow strawberry, breeding fishes at the very same time.
Thus, aquaponics method has a good future as an agricultural innovation and it will provide markets with ecologically safe crop production and fish as in the USA, as well as in any other country, all year round.