aquaponics hydroponics

Most people at one point in their childhood have wanted a pet. Be it a pony, a puppy or a fish tank…the classical response from mommy or daddy is,” are you going to take care of it?” Puppies poop and pee all over the place. Who is responsible for cleaning it up? Pony’s drop number 2’s too and who will shovel it all out of mum’s garden? Fish tanks left unattended will end up looking and smelling like sewers.

Luckily, most of us, grow up and end up growing. Whether we grow something to look at, eat or smoke, we all want the best possible result. And as grownups, we generally understand that poop is good for growing. We all remember those days when driving past certain farms, rolling up the windows and turning up the aircon to max doesn’t help filter out that particular aroma. Well, nature is not in the business of being wasteful and animal waste never goes to waste. Farmers take the example of nature’s usage of waste and create fertilizers…which we happily inhale when passing certain farms.

In the world of hydroponics, an essential part of the game is making sure that the plant roots, which are happily dangling in the water, absorb the best nutrients and bacteria we can provide. So, if we follow nature’s advice, we provide plants with animal waste.

Aquaponics, a branch of hydroponics, is the merge of fish farming (aquaculture) and hydroponics. The fish tank that we wanted as a child but was denied has a purpose now other than only housing pretty fish. By connecting two sub-systems into one, we can reap the best of both worlds in the pet department and the plant department. One system houses the fish, which is connected to the other system that grows the plants. The common medium is water which via connecting tubes and filters carries the fish waste from one tank into the other. The plants reap the benefits of the poop rich water. The fish are also happy campers as the plant roots absorb harmful nitrogen from the water which then gets circulated back to the fish.  

This win-win-win system is something that nature has been doing for millions of years and makes a good looking set-up for your home garden!