Aquaponics may be regarded as very interesting topic for serious and thorough research paper or proposal.
Aquaponics is the cultivation of plants in “symbiosis” with fish farming. This cultivation method has been used since remote antiquity, especially in Mesoamerica. In this method, the fish droppings are used as a fertilizer for vegetable cultivation.
The word “aquaponics” is formed by joining words “aquaculture” (raising fish or other aquatic organisms) and “hydroponics” (growing plants in the enriched mineral water).
The principle is ancestral since it was used, not always consciously, in Mesoamerican chinampas (floating gardens on which were deposited sludge channels mixed with, among other, fish excrement) and in the Asian paddy fields.
It is actually an ecosystem with ecological cycle involving three types of organisms in it:
Fish with manure, rich in nitrogen (ammonium and urea) and phosphorus and potassium are the source of plant nutrients, the food given to fish enriches the environment as fertilizer.
Aerobic bacteria that convert organic materials such as ammonia/ammonium and urea nitrate and nitrite, the latter being assimilated by plants in mineral form. They act as a biofilter because the fish excretions are toxic to the fish (blocking hemoglobin and thus breathing) in high concentrations. There are 100 in a ratio between toxic nitrogen compounds, toxic threshold : NH4 + / NH3 < 0.5 mg / l NO2 – (nitrites ) < 5 mg / l NO3 – (nitrate) < 50 mg / l or more depending on the species.
Cultivated plants purify aquarium water through the assimilation of roots; they serve these minerals as nutrients to grow.
In practice, the aquarium water is pumped to the hydroponic system, preferably a tide table with growing medium (clay pebbles, gravel…) and horizontal or vertical NFT output biological filter, then back to the fish tank.
The main challenge is to find the right balance between the fish population, the food made, the bacterial population, and cultivated vegetation: nitrogen deficiency (yellowing leaves growing from the bottom of the plant) will be the sign of a sub-population of fish or a lack of food. Conversely, too high the rate of nitrite and nitrate indicate that the filter plant is ineffective, and the metabolism of the latter is insufficient to clean the water of excreta.
Sometimes deficiencies occur mainly in iron and trace elements, it is easy to find in decoctions and algae extracts chelated iron.
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