Did you know you can grow food without soil? The system that will allow you to do this is known as aquaponics. Instead of growing plants in soil, you grow them in water. It is a type of hydroculture culture.
Aquaponics combines hydroponics and aquaculture in a symbiotic way to grow plants. The plants grown in the hydroponic system help the aquatic animals thrive in the aquaculture environment. In turn the aquatic animals in the aquaculture environment help the plants survive in the hydroculture system. The aquatic animals can be of the tropical type such as the tilapia. They also be the type of fish more suited colder climates such as trout.
Here is how this works. In the aquaculture environment, the waste produced by the aquatic animals and left-over fish food, accumulates. This accumulation eventually makes the water to toxic for the fish and other aquatic animals to survive to thrive. The water is circulated into the hydroponics system where the roots of the plants use these waste materials as nutrients. The roots of the plants absorb these toxins and cleanses the water. This cleansed water is sent back to the aquatic animals in the aquaculture system.
With regards to plants being grown in the hydroponics part of the aquaponics system, the cost of fertilization is substantially reduced when compared to plants grown in a stand-alone hydroponics system. This is because a hydroponics system does not produce any nutrients for the plants within its closed system. The aquaponics system reuses the water used in the growing process. Therefore substantially less water is used than growing plants in a ground based system. The aquaponics system of growing plants can be more beneficial for the environment as it does not produce the run-off typically produced in most ground based agriculture.
Because plants grown in an aquaponics system receive most of their nutrients from an aquaculture system, not as much expensive fertilizer needs to be introduced into the hyroponics part of the system. However the aquatic animals which provide the nutrients do require food.
Deciding between a ground based food production system and a hydroculture based system ultimately requires understanding how both systems work and then realizing the advantages and disadvantages of each system. Deciding between hydroponics and aquaponics also requires in-depth knowledge. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Either system will provide a higher yield of crop than regular ground based agriculture and generally have less impact on the surrounding environment.