Here is the simple version, the long version fills books. Aquaponics is the practice of growing plants and fish in the same or linked systems. This is where the waste from the fish feed naturally occurring bacteria which consume the ammonia from the fish. These nitrifying bacteria produce nitrate which is the very nectar that the plants thrive on. The plants consume the nitrate, and return fresh water back to the fish. This design is a beautiful way to grow organic nutrient-rich produce in a sustainable manner.
THE FISH ENVIRONMENT
Much of today’s farm raised fish are grown in over crowded, poor water quality environments in efforts to maximize fish yield. Wild caught fish are now found to have growing amounts of heavy metals and pharmaceuticals. We obsess over the health of our fish, which is a necessary part of our complete system. The quality of our fish’s water is managed daily to insure their maximized health. The directional flow of water, and optimal density of fish, are designed to give our fish the best physical and social health possible. This is all necessary since the healthier our fish, the higher the quality of their waste which feeds our naturally occurring bacteria, ultimately feeding our veggies, and eventually finding their way to your family’s table.
THE BACTERIA ENVIRONMENT
Our systems require three different types of naturally occurring bacteria; the same bacteria found in soil that consumes waste from insects and worms after they have digested organic plant and animal waste. The first bacteria consume the ammonium emitted from the fishes gills, as well as their waste, and convert that waste into nitrites. Other bacteria consume the nitrites, converting it into nitrates. This is the final step of our mineralization process before the nutrient rich water makes its way out to the growth beds and plants. For the integrity of our systems, we breed our own bacteria to assure the quality and availability for current and future farms.
THE WATER ENVIRONMENT
Our gravity powered mechanical and biological method for processing the fish waste is an essential part of our Farm design and we continuously refine this process for efficiency. Motorized filtration can plug up, or fail, and is costly to operate. We rely on what is sure, like gravity, weight and force. The water in our system supports the fish, bacteria and plants which ultimately feed our community, so we take great care to keep the water quality high. Weekly water testing, with our in-house photo spectrometer, allows us to ensure proper and consistent nutrient levels.