Aquaponics is the growth of an aquatic animal and plant species in unison. Waste nutrients derived from the animal species are utilised by the plants to grow and the water is reduced of otherwise toxic levels of ammonia and nitrogen to be reused by the fish or removed from the facility with no impact upon the wider environment.
Aquaponics is a slightly different discipline to the rudimentary work of Aqua EcoSystems but utilises many of the same principles. It is a burgeoning area of food production and one rapidly gaining the interest of both private companies and the enthusiasm of the wider public. It is a method of food production that resonates with many in the way that is essentially forms a micro-ecosystem to form a sustainable and efficient system. AES believes in the future of aquaponics a method which very much aligns with our own mantra of "taking from nature to engineer an ecosystem". In particular AES is interested in the more commercial forms of aquaponics that can form a realistic method of food production for a broad market.
Traditional aquaponics units have produced both plant and animal in close conjunction but have generally only focussed upon a production of plants, usually leafy green vegetables such as lettuces and herbs which can be produced relatively easily using nutrients derived from fish wastes. Traditional systems are also relatively "low tech" and employed as community initiatives and/or educational tools rather than a serious replacement for industrial methods of horticulture or aquaculture.
AES has participated in the development of the first truly commercial aquaponics system that seeks to combine the best of aquaculture and hydroponics (a plant production method utilising only water as the medium for growth) technologies and integrate these units with water processing technologies that retain all the positive water characteristics and neutralise the adverse ones to gain all the efficiency of combining the units and maintain the flexibility of making adjustments to either system without impacting upon the other. Commercial aquaponics is very different to the aquaponics routinely discussed and in operation.
AES is passionate about this area and welcomes interest from clients and consultants alike.