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Alternative Ag Ventures - Aquaponics

Alternative Ag Ventures - Aquaponics

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Published by Green Roofs
Alternative Ag Ventures - Aquaponics
Alternative Ag Ventures - Aquaponics

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Published by: Green Roofs on Dec 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Alternative Ag Ventures -
 Aquaponics is dened asthe symbiotic cultivationo plants and aquaticanimals in a recirculatingenvironment. Fish wasteaccumulates in water asa by-product o keepingthem in a closed system ortank. Te water becomeshigh in plant nutrientsand plants are grown in a way that enables them toutilize the nutrient-rich water. Te plants uptakethe nutrients, reducingor eliminating the water’stoxicity or the aquaticanimal.
- aken rom Wikipedia, Te FreeEncyclopedia; www.en.wikipedia.org, search AquaponicsMarkets or the plant products could include avariety o outlets such as direct on arm or armersmarkets, local restaurants, local retailers, naturalor organic ood stores.Hydroponic produce growers are located worldwide. O over 50,000 acres in hydroponicproduction around the world, approximately 1,200 o those are US acres. Most o these acilitiesin the US are small amily-owned businesses thatproduce on 1/8 - 1 acre. Tese arms producehigh-quality produce and sell it locally. Smalleroperations have an advantage o oering locally-grown produce with minimal transportationcost and damage. It is possible or a hydroponicgrower to yield an excellent prot in this nichemarketplace, oering premium local produceon less than an acre o land. Smaller growerscan establish themselves near the marketplace,eliminating the problems and costs o long-distance transportation.In addition to the smaller growers in the US,there are several large hydroponic acilities thatcover as many as 60 or more acres and producelarge quantities o hydroponic tomatoes, peppers,cucumbers and lettuce. (Aquaponics.com)
 Aquaponics is basically a combination o hydroponics and aquaculture. With aquaponics,you are growing sh and plants (usually vegetablesand herbs) in an integrated recirculating system,together. Te waste rom the sh provides nutrientsto eed the growing plants, while the plants act asa natural water lter or the water that the shlive in. Tis results in a sustainable ecosystem thatallows both plants and sh to thrive.Hydroponics involves growing plants withoutsoil. Water and nutrients create a solution that ised directly to the plants’ roots. Most hydroponicsystems involve a growing medium where the plantroots are kept moist and help support the plant.In hydroponics the plant is provided optimumgrowth conditions with ideal water and nutrientratios or growth.In aquaculture, sh are grown in enclosed tanks orponds that can quickly become rich in nutrientsdue to sh waste rom digestion. I in enclosedtanks, the waste water is ltered to keep the tank  water ree o toxic buildups.In aquaponics, the sh waste provides a oodsource or the growing plants and the plantsprovide a natural lter or the sh. Tis createsa mini ecosystem where both plants and sh canthrive. Aquaponics is the ideal answer to a sharmers problem o disposing o nutrient rich water and a hydroponic growers need or nutrientrich water.
Market Inormation
 When considering the market or the productsrom an aquaponics operation there are twoseparate categories; sh and plants, most likely leay vegetables and/or herbs since these are bestsuited or aquaponics.For the sh in an aquaponic operation there aretwo basic market segments, depending on whichspecies are incorporated; the rst is ood. Ediblesh species that do well in aquaponic operationsinclude crappie, blue gill, tilapia, trout, perch, Arctic char, and bass. However, tilapia is theprimary species used or recirculating aquaponicsystems in North America due to its hardiness andability to tolerate a wide variety o conditions.Te second outlet or aquaponic sh could bethe ornamental market. Ornamental marketsinclude tropical and cool water sh or aquariumand landscape ponds. A majority o the Midwestornamentals include sales o goldsh, and KoiCarp.
Photo by: The Center for Innovative Food Technology on location at Rainfresh Harvests (www.rainfreshharvests.com)

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