Aquaponics is the integration of aquaculture—in which fish and other aquatic organisms and plants are farmed—and hydroponics, in which plants are grown in water, without the use of soil but with the use of mineral nutrient solutions.

By Sanrda and Doc Rey
(Merging ideas of a natural farmer and a vet)

Fish produce waste. When a certain level of waste in the water is reached, you need to dispose of this and supply fresh water. How do you dispose of the water, and how can you use it to your benefit? Partners Engrs. Martin de Leon and Erwin Leonor of MADE (Modular Aquaponics Design and Equipment) explained to us that in aquaponics, there is a recirculating process in which the waste produced by the fish is used to provide nutrients for the hydroponic plants. The fish waste works with the good bacteria in the gravel and plants and creates recyclable and concentrated compost. Aquaculture produces the nutrient solution needed by hydroponics,
which filters the water that the fish need.

Thus there is a constant source of nutrients for your plants. No need to water them as the plants are constantly immersed. You save a lot on water, and this technology is applicable where land is limited. The concept is simple. Water from the growbeds drains into the fish tank, and water in the fish tank is then pumped back to the growbed.

Parts of an Aquaponics System

Fish tank – Where the fish will be placed. This can be an aquarium or any container that has no leaks.

Growbed – There are many types of growbeds, includingnthe floating raft type. Plastic trays can also be used.

Pump – This is used for drawing water from the fish tank to the growbed. The water pump’s capacity will depend
on the size of the fish tank and growbed. The pump flow rate should be sufficient for mixing the water in the fish tank and growbed. Also, the pump should be able to bring the water to the higher container (either the fish tank or the growbed).

Filter – Used for removing solids in the system.

Stand pipe – To control the level of water from the growbed.

Floating raft – A piece of styrofoam with holes for the net pots.

Net Pot – Small pots in which the plants are placed.

This system is perfect for DIY (do it yourself) projects, as it’s easy to find materials for it and to set up. It is modular and can be expanded as required. Good to have in terraces, indoors, patios, and by kitchen counters.

Q: Is there assistance available after SOAP seminars?

A: We are now in the middle of crafting assistance programs/grants for those who are eligible. We will keep you posted on this nice program.

Email spreadorganicagriculture@yahoo.com, or join Spread Organic Agriculture in the Philippines (SOAP) on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/spreadorganicagriculture/.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s August 2014 issue.