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Aquaponics is a farming system that creates a closed ecosystem of water, plants and fish. In this ecosystem it starts with a big fish tank. As the fish eat and grow, they produce natural waste. This waste is the driving force of the nutrients to feed the plants in the system. The water flow or circulation is cleaned as it is pumped through a digestor. This is the first cleaning step of the waste where sponges and shrimp break down the material.
The water is then gravity fed into an organic medium with worms where additional breakdown of waste is performed to allow easier uptake of nutrients for the plants. The water is gravity fed into the water tables where the plants are growing with their root system directly in the nutrient rich water. By not having to fight through the dense soil with traditional farming, the roots are able to uptake nutrients and grow at a faster rate. The efficiency of the nutrient uptake allows aquaponics farmers to have more grows per year than traditional farming.
With closing the ecosystem loop and avoiding any water shed, following the flow of the water through the tables it is recaptured and recuycled back through the aquaponics system to the fish tank to start the entire cycle over.
Aquaponics compared to Hydroponics
Many indoor hemp farmers utilize hydroponic systems. This farming method is similar to the aquaponics Shore Organics is utilizing. Both aquaponic and hydroponic farming are more efficient than traditional farming. Both systems alleviate the concern for dirt diseased derivatives such as E-Coli as well. The main difference is how the plants get fed. With aquaponics, the food comes from fish waste, and with hydroponics, synthetic nutrient salts need to be added to the system.
Although both farming methods allow the farmers to grow with organic methods, in a hydroponics system, manufactured fertilizers are always added to feed the plants. By eliminating the fish from the growing system, the ecosystem cannot feed the plants naturally in hydroponics. With hydroponics, the synthetic nutrient salts added to the water need to be renewed as the plants use the nutrients or the water needs to be dumped after grows, so there is not a toxic buildup of the unused nutrients.
Aquaponics will have no watershed as a result. Shore Organics chooses to utilize aquaponics for our farming method for its characteristics of sustainability, a closed chain ecosystem, limited environmental impact with no water shed, and the ability to be chemical-free and organically certified. To keep our fish happy and swimming, we cannot add synthetic chemicals.