Posted on March 5, 2014 @ 10:57:00 AM by Paul Meagher
In the Permaculture course I am taking online, I recently covered the section on "Water" in which Max Meyer from NorCal Aquaponics discussed a variety of types and scales of aquaponic systems (systems that grow vegetables and fish at the same time). His discussion opened my eyes to some of the potential and opportunities in this industry. While aquaponics has been practiced in eastern countries since a long time, it is a currently a growth industry because new approaches and technologies are rapidly being assimilated into newer aquaponics growing systems. It is also a growth industry because it is arguably one of the most efficient ways to produce food and the quality of that food can be very high. Vegetables are not subject to many of the conditions that produce blemishes and can be produced organically under the right conditions. Demand for seafood is also high and increasing around the world, but the ability of the oceans to supply that food is become less likely as stocks are over harvested. Aquaponics therefore has a bright future as a method of producing plant and animal-based food for the future.
A couple of young entrepreneurs have decided to try to cash in on this emerging market by developing a small-scale aquaponics system that integrates with a traditional home aquarium. Their video below also gives a basic idea on how aquaponics works as well as how these young entrepreneurs hope to grow their AquaSprouts business.
Many of the aquaponics systems being developed now are at a larger scale than this aquarium system but the aquarium system is a good starting point for raising awareness of the potential of aquaponics growing systems. Keep in mind, however, that in most aquaponics system you are growing fish to eat as well, whereas in this system they are mostly concerned with growing plants. I don't think they are going to eat the fish in the aquarium although that might be possible as well.
Below is an example of a well-known outdoor (versus in a greenhouse) closed-loop (versus open-loop) aquaponics system developed at the University of the Virgin Islands which is a leader in aquaponics research and design.