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Aquaponics is a coupled food production system. Phase 1 Built in 2015 indoors in our grow house, aqua+ponics symbiotically combines traditional aquaculture (we use Blue Gill fish) with hydroponics (the cultivating of plants in nutrient-rich water in lieu of soil).
Our system operates symbiotically because both plants and fish (Blue Gill) benefit from being raised together in the same system. Most basically this symbiosis operates as follows; fish defecate in their tanks, this nutrient-rich effluent is pumped to irrigate and fertilize the plants that flourish by uptaking this effluent. The remaining, now clean and aerated water is circulated back to the fish tank to continue serving the aquaculture and continues cycling indefinitely.
Reducing aquaponics to these two parts (plants + fish) is a simplification, however. There are additional components that support the two parts in functions, like the effective removal of solid wastes, the adding of buffers to maintain appropriate pH levels, and the maintenance of adequate dissolved oxygen levels.
The components include:
• 650 gallon Rearing tank: the tank for raising and feeding the fish.
• Solids removal: a unit for catching uneaten food and detached biofilms, and for settling out fine particulates. and one source of organic liquid fertilized for our market gardens.
• Biofilter: a place where the nitrification bacteria can grow and convert ammonia into nitrates, which are usable by the plants
• Hydroponics subsystem: the portion of the system where plants are grown by absorbing excess nutrients from the water.
Sump: the lowest point in the system where the water flows to and from which it is pumped back to the rearing tanks.
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