Aquaponics Africa has developed the special technology of combining fish aquaculture and hydroponic vegetable production under controlled conditions. Fish nutrients generated in aquaculture, i.e.. fecal solids, micro organisms and algae biomass, wasted fish food and organic detritus are all pumped onto hydroponic growing beds or intensive farm plots where they are broken down by beneficial bacteria into a suitable form for plant uptake. The plants, worms and bacteria clean the water, which is in turn pumped back into the fish aquaculture system for reuse, aeration and water conservation. This is a re-circulating system that consumes very little water; the only losses being to evaporation and plant uptake through irrigation. In Aquaponics, wasted fish solids provides the nutrient resources for the vegetable plants to be grown in hydroponic or in traditionally cultivated field systems under organic standards where there is no need for any type of fertilizers or chemicals for sustainable agriculture. Insect prevention is supplied by totally natural methods. Hydroponic vegetable production uses irrigation water containing fish waste solids as a source of organic fertilizer, while the fish farmers utilises hydroponics as a bio-filtration method to facilitate intensive re-circulating aquaculture. This combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) in controlled conditions in solar houses utilizing specialized growing mediums and systems for collecting nutrient fish wastes is a natural process where nothing goes to waste.
The idea for the system is to reach a steady state, which means that the system has a regular harvesting, replanting and restocking cycle, and can be maintained with minimum interference. In order to maintain this state, one would for example, never harvest all the vegetables to the obvious detriment of the fish and vice versa. This steady state is achieved by staggered planting of vegetables and staggered introduction of the fish.
Flow chart showing the co-culture system to include fish, organic vegetables, chickens, worms and ducks