Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Aquaponics System and Bio-Filtration

Aquaponic Bio-filtration is a term that sounds complicated, but it is really the same natural process that takes place in natural water sources, lakes, rivers and streams. It is the natural process of recycling waste, turning for example fish excretion into a nutrient source for plant life to benefit from and thrive. Aquaponics system is a system that replicates the same methods used by nature naturally.

Bio-Filtration Process in Aquaponics System

For a comparison, aquaponics gardening and the recycling of water for reuse as a valuable nutrient for plant life to thrive on is the same in comparison as an organic gardener would do when composting organic material, just aquaponics is done in the water. Aquaponics system is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, aquaculture is the growing of fish in an artificial system and hydroponics being the practice of growing plants in a nutrient rich water solution without soil. It is a unique organic method that allows you to grow both fish and plants at the same time for a food source, along with being a system that is self-sufficient and not requiring additional fertilization, herbicides or pesticides.

Aquaponic gardening can be done on any scale, from a small indoor setup with just one pot and a small fish tank, to a pond in your backyard with a few grow beds, or as a commercial business. Small backyard aquaponics systems can easily produce enough food to supply a family and even some of the neighbors. How it works is fairly simple, if you have ever had goldfish in an aquarium then you are already familiar with the basic concepts of bio-filtration. Fish generate waste in the form of ammonia, and when this ammonia builds up in the fish tanks water, it can be harmful to the fish. This ammonia does have benefits when it goes through the full process of what is known as the nitrogen cycle.

Ecological Process in Aquaponics System

The nitrogen cycle starts when the ammonia levels in water increase and prompt the growth of bacteria that will convert the ammonia into nitrites and other bacteria that convert the nitrites into nitrates. The growing medium used in an aquaponics system is where all this transformation takes place. These growing beds that your plants are grown in, is a bio-filter, just as an under gravel filter that is common in aquariums without plant life. For those who have had experience with a planted aquarium know that the filtration requirements of a fish tank are less. This is because plants also act as a natural bio-filter by filtering out harmful chemical from the water, rendering it safe for fish.In an aquaponics system, the water of the fish tank is pumped to the growing beds and filter by both the growing media and the plants before draining back into the fish tank for fish to grow under conditions that don't require artificial filtration. A natural and self-sufficient method of gardening and raising fish at the same time, and with one system.


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