What are the advantages and disadvantages of aquaponics systems?

What are benefits of aquaponics to the environment?

There are many advantages of an aquaponics system, with very few disadvantages. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of aquaponics systems? Let’s take a look…

What are the advantages and disadvantages of aquaponics systems?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of aquaponics systems in 15 seconds…

Top of the list of the advantages and disadvantages of aquaponics systems is the solid waste from aquacultural fish production is effectively neutralised by the plants. Another advantage is the constant recycling and reuse of water. This reduces water usage by up to 90% over conventional gardening methods. Aquaponics systems are better for Planet Earth and a greener option. They lead to a reduced adverse environmental impact when compared to traditional farming methods.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of aquaponics systems?

Like any system you adopt for gardening, there are both advantages as well as disadvantages. Let’s take a look at both….

What are the advantages of aquaponics?

There’s some input and on-going maintenance required with an aquaponics system. These include cleaning filters (if your aquaponics system has a water filter) and checking the water for pH and ammonia levels. Plus you’ll need to feed the fish.

But you’ll be pleased to learn that there are many benefits to growing plants in an aquaponics system. One of which is almost as a by-product to producing great vegetables and fruit, this simple ecosystem also produces fish too.

Therefore, fish can be harvested as an additional food source or revenue stream to the vegetables or fruit that you grow. But get this: It all happens in less space than a traditional garden setup!

The main benefits of an aquaponics system

  • No watering required: Whilst you need to make sure the water is topped up for the system to work properly, you don’t need to water your plants.
  • Plants grow at twice the rate: Plants in an aquaponics system tend to grow twice as fast than when grown normally. This is because the aquaponic plants receive rich live nutrients direct to their roots. These nutrients are derived from fish waste, which is converted to nitrates by bacteria. This process happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is why aquaponics system plants tend to thrive.
  • 10 times the crop in the same space: Aquaponics gardening is space saving as you can grow up to 10 times the plants in the same space as you can with traditional gardening.
  • Great tasting organic produce: Aquaponics is USDA Organic Certifiable. There are some commercial aquaponic farms have already got an USDA Organic certification. Plus plants grown aquaponically taste incredible.
  • No more weeds: You are less likely to get weeds in an aquaponics system.
  • Two products for the price of one: With aquaponics you get two types of produce, which firstly includes vegetables or fruit (or both) and secondly fish or other aquatic animals. Note: Multiple crops and fish or other aquatic animals can be grown from the same ecosystem.
  • Low disease and pest risk: An aquaponics system has a low susceptibility to pests and diseases.
  • Raised-bed gardening: The media bed where the plants grow is a raised bed. This means that if you suffer from a back problems or have lower back pain, an aquaponics system is ideal. Most of the work is at waist height and there’s no more back-braking weeding to be done.

More Reading: What’s the best vegetable to grow with an aquaponics system

What are the benefits of aquaponics to the environment?

In addition to the above advantages to an aquaponics system, there are a number of benefits of aquaponics to the environment too. One of which is they are environmentally responsible. They use low amounts of water and small amounts of power.

More Reading: What kind of fish can you use for aquaponics (Choosing the best fish)

The two main ingredients for an aquaponics system are fish food and water. But what are the main benefits to the environment and for Planet Earth of an aquaponics system?

Benefits of aquaponics to the environment:
  • 90% less water used: An aquaponics system uses the same body of water to keep the fish alive that provides the water and nutrients for plant growth. With the constant recycling and reuse of water, an aquaponic system reduces water usage. It’s argued that aquaponics systems use just 10% of the water that normal gardening uses. But sometimes even less.
  • Low power usage: An aquaponics system requires very little electricity to work. The main electricity consumption is to power the water pump and filtration system.
  • Natural fertilisation: The plants in your aquaponics system are fertilised naturally from fish waste. Which means there’s little or no chemicals used.
  • No synthetic fertilisers: Aquaponics cannot use synthetic fertilisers, only organic solutions can be used. Also standard plant pesticides cannot be used either to avoid killing the fish.
  • Solid waste is neutralised: The solid waste from aquacultural production is effectively neutralised. This is achieved as a result of the plants removing the waste from the water. Which is all a part of the natural ecosystem.
  • Reduced environmental impact: Aquaponics systems lead to a less adverse environmental impact when it’s compared to traditional farming or gardening methods. Therefore, aquaponics is a “Green System” and is good for Planet Earth.
  • More crops in less space: More crops per square foot of space can be cultivated from aquaponics. This is when you compare it to traditional gardening methods. Growing vegetables using an aquaponics system you can place plants much closer together. An aquaponics system will usually fit up to 10 times more plants in the same square foot of space.

More Reading: How does an aquaponic system differ from traditional soil planted gardens and farms?

What are the disadvantages of aquaponics?

Like any system there are some disadvantages too. But the advantages far out-weigh these very few disadvantages.

The main disadvantages of an aquaponics system:

  • High start-up costs: An aquaponics system can involve a high upfront investment. Whether that’s for the aquaponics technology and equipment or for the necessary training you’ll need. However, to create a home DIY aquaponics system you can build this at very low cost indeed.
  • Reliance on electricity: An aquaponics system is reliant on the use of electricity. Electric is what powers the filtration system and water pump. Therefore, if you were to suffer from a power cut, this could lead to a failure of the whole ecosystem and in turn could lead to a loss of fish or plants or both.
  • The system can be complex: There are a number of variables involved in the configuration of an aquaponics system. This includes the construction of the system. It includes choosing the right plants and fish which compliment each other. You need to choose fish and plants that are able live together in a single ecosystem. You need to consider the aquatic conditions for the fish, whilst keeping an eye on the plant environmental factors too.
  • Having to kill the fish: If you’re like me and you’re an animal softy then you’ll find it difficult to kill your aquaponics fish when it comes to harvesting them. So if you don’t relish the thought of killing fish, what’s the answer? Well you can use your aquaponics system to just grow fruit and vegetables instead. But you’ll still need fish for your aquaponics ecosystem to work, so keep ornamental fish or gold fish instead of fish you can eat.

More Reading: A review of home DIY system Aquaponics 4 You – how to build your very own aquaponics system

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Happy DIY aquaponics.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of aquaponics systems?

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