Since 2013 we have run trials on various small scale aquaponic system, slowly developing the right system for our own salad production.
We have loved the idea of aquaponics ever since we first came across it; it can produce a lot of food in a sustainable way, and out of the reach of slugs, snails and weeds. Add to this our garden has stony soil and we live very busy lives, finding a system that is relatively trouble free and is highly productive is quite appealing!
The idea behind aquaponics comes from the farming methods used by the Aztecs and Egyptians, each having found simple ways of recycling nutrients from rivers and lakes to help their crops flourish.
In aquaponics fish and plants are cultivated together in a closed system, each benefitting from the presence of the other. The fish consume food and excrete manure, and this fish waste is then circulated to the grow beds and the plants benefit from the constant flow of nutrient-rich water enabling them to grow unchecked. The water is then returned to the fish tank having been cleaned by the plant beds.
Is it fool proof?
Like anything there are things that can go wrong, and with living fish in the system it is important to keep a close eye on the system so as to avoid harm to them. That said, provided appropriate care is taken, the system should be very resilient and trouble free.