AQUAPONICS FARMING

May 16, 2018 Hansie Britz

                            

Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture in a recirculating system and hydroponics (the soil-less cultivation of plants). The plant crop utilise the waste (nutrients) released by the farmed fish to grow hydroponically and the crops in turn purify the water for reuse by the fish or other aquatic creatures. Simply put, aquaponics is growing fish and plants together.

START – UP COSTS

The aquaponic tunnel system will cost anything between R300 000 – R500000 to erect. However, the running and maintenance costs are relatively low. Only one manager and a laborer is needed. Plants and fish are produced from the same fish feed, and the system requires only 1.62kw of electricity, excluding heating costs. A 3.3kw heat pump can be installed, but will only be used during winter times. Water usage is relatively low at about 2000L per week in summer and approximately half of that in winter. Little space is needed to erect a facility.

IS AQUAPONICS APPROPRIATE TO THE SA MARKET?

The SA climate suits this type of farming, thanks to high average solar energy and appropriate mean temperatures. The challenge of relatively mild local winters can be met with low energy-requirement heat pumps to maintain aquaculture tank temperatures. The development of ever-cheaper solar power with storage for small systems will effectively benefit the agro- industry, particularly smaller-scale operations.

IS AQUAPONICS ORGANIC?

Aquaponics is totally organic. The Aquaponics process is a natural interaction between fish and the plants that produces no toxic waste, and does not use any chemical fertilizers or nutrients. Both the plants and the fish contribute to the cycling process of Aquaponics, with the grower using this interaction to their benefit – the fish provide the nutrients for the plants and the plants filter the water so that the fish are able to live.Natural chemicals and the fish food are the only additives to the aquaponics system.

DOES AQUAPONICS NEED A GREENHOUSE?

A greenhouse is not an essential part of an aquaponics system, although it provides enormous protection for the system compared to being exposed to the elements (rain, hail, wind etc). If you live in an area where it gets cold during winter, a greenhouse is needed for the protection of the fish and plants during the colder months. Aquaponics systems can also be set up indoors, using grow lights over the plants instead of using sunlight. However, this system uses more power than a greenhouse system due to the cost of running the lights.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AQUAPONICS?

  • Reduced water use.

  • Reduced chemical use.

  • Reduces pesticides use when set up in a greenhouse.

  • Reduces erosion by eliminating the need to plough the soil.

  • Reducing running costs compared to conventional horticultural farming.

  • Can produce fish and plants for the family/grower all year round, using a greenhouse.

TO ENABLE YOU TO SET UP A AQUAPONICS FARMING SYSTEM YOU WILL NEED A PROFESSIONAL AND BANKABLE FARM BUSINESS PLAN.

IF YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP IN THIS AREA CONTACT US NOW: money@global.co.za or (27)84 583 3143