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Aquaponics - a New Horizon


Taking a look at aquaponics?

Some of these new and interesting systems bring a whole new approach to hydroponics in general. In fact, many experts in the field are pushing this as the most efficient way to grow.

If you don't know little bit about aquaponics, looking into it can help you as you plan and design your own projects. Hydroponics is all about micro-management -- it's about making things efficient and giving plants exactly what they need to grow well. You don't need soil -- you just need the right tools and equipment.

With that in mind, some growers have taken a step further and tried to figure out how to most effectively introduce nutrients to plants. One way is by adding fish in a hydroponic reservoir.

The idea is that organic fish waste can actually nourish plants, and that the waste products that the plants give off can be beneficial to the fish, too. In nature, we call that “symbiotic” process or synergy. It's the idea that one thing gives back to another, instead of simply supporting an individual cycle such as a plant cycle.

Now some new designs are showing how these gardening setups can be done off the grid with solar panels or arrays. For many of us, that completes the circle of having a fully sustainable project that essentially “feeds itself” and doesn't require a lot of outside intervention.

In many of these systems, plants sit in hydroponic pods that are fed by water. Then the water goes into a separate system, a aquaponics pod, and the fish are in there. The solar panels will be attached to the side of the project space.

Companies and individuals are doing this in all sorts of interesting ways -- for instance, here's an article showing some UK researchers setting up these types of systems in shipping containers to be extremely portable.

As the article points out, none of this is entirely new -- for example, the Chinese have been doing it for a long time. They recognize the symbiotic process that makes this type of setup so sustainable and saves so much money over the long term. Nutritionists express this as: creating a large amount of protein with just a little bit of waste.

When you think about it, that's what's at the heart of a lot of hydroponics projects -- providing raw materials that will sustain all of us. Where we get our food is becoming more and more important, and that's why people are paying attention to these types of innovative systems. Hydroponics by itself is an extremely powerful way of bringing fresh food into communities, but taken in combination with aquaponics, it’s even more powerful in what it can provide for the world. Take a look and consider this kind of design as you're building your hydro system, and ask retailers about all the tools and resources that will help you set one of these systems up with less labor, and requiring less maintenance over the term of your plant’s life. And that's a big part of most people's goals - to save time and money, to make hydro growing simply a lot easier. Look into what you can do to make your own hydro garden a thing of beauty.

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