Aquaponic Gardening

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Is any product that is grown with fish effluent water qualified to be considered aquaponically grown?  For instance, a plant in a pot filled with peat and vermicompost or other media and placed in a shallow trough that is flooded with aquaponic water considered aquaponically grown?  One could argue that it is being fed with fish effluent water, however it is not necessarily part of the recirculating process.  The plant is benefiting from the nutrient rich water but is the plant in its container adding to the bacterial process and conversion that takes place in an aquaponic system?


If we examine what would be required to be certified as aquaponically grown, what criteria must be met? Can it be terrestrial crops being watered with aquaponic overflow or must they be cultivated in a recirculating system?  Opinions please!  

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I'm all for farms using whatever methods work and know your farmer is far more important than any labels in my book.  Bio-ponics or Hydro-organic are great.


But I think if it is going to get the "Aquaponically grown" label that label should mean it is grown in Aquaponics.  To have a label means you have to have a definition or it is kinda meaningless or just name calling.  Now such labels are really only useful to people trying to sell their produce to customers who don't already know them and their farm.  There won't be much point to such a label until the association gets more education material out there to teach people about the benefits of Aquaponically Grown Food.


On kinda a side note about the need for it to be recirculating, at least in Florida, the aquaculture permitting for certain types of fish doesn't allow discharge of water from the system except into a septic system or sewer so it wouldn't work to grow tilapia commercially and use the water in a non, recirculating manner to grow plants.  Hence all the more reason for anyone trying to do tilapia commercially in Florida to want it in recirculating aquaponics.

Is there a difference between organically grown and aquaponically grown?

What is the benifit of one or the other?

I think there are issues that need to be clarified before your question can be answered.

Well, that is how I see it.


That is a very good point Dave, I think that organic is likely to lose is lustre over the coming years as more big growers get involved in organic farming - most are still using mono-cropping and there is still significant soil degredation as a result.  Organic just seems to mean that they don't use petrochemical additives.  Organic is not necessarily sustainable, or even beneficial to the environment.  For me, aquaponics addresses more issues than organics does - issues or resilience, sustainability, no soil depletion and so forth.  I also think that aquaponics will develop to address these issues at a more fundamental level.  For me, this distinguishes aquaponics from organics.  Sorry.. not very well written comment but kind of thinking out loud.

Domo arigato

Water is going to be one of the more important problems in farming. As you pointed out, aquaponic systems can address a multitude of isues. Aquaponically grown crops need to have a special meaning to incumpus most issues.


No worries on the stream of consciousness Japan AP!    I don't know that it is actually necessary to identify a difference between organic and aquaponic, especially as aquaponic can boast being actually better than organic.  I think organic really has more to do with the end product and not how it gets there.  Organic traditional farming is still traditional, non-sustainable ag whereas aquaponic can achieve the same or better result in a sustainable manner.  

There was another forum discussion recently about whether or not a drip system fed from a fish tank would be considered aquaponic.  The company presenting the system called it a revolutionary approach to aquaponics but another member on the site pointed out that recirculation is an integral part of aquaponics, otherwise ground crops are simply being watered with fish effluent water.  Certainly that is much better than petrochemical fertilizers, however it cannot be considered aquaponics based upon the inherent definition of aquaponics.   

recirculating water in a 'closed' system.

any modules tapped into that system would produce 'aquaponically'-grown plants.  as long as the main engine is a recirculating system and any water diverted to modules is allowed to return back into the same loop, then it doesn't matter how that connection is actually achieved.

plants grown in dirt in the ground, but watered with AP water would not qualify.

the growing medium doesn't matter so even a recirculating wicking bed full of soil would count....although i am inclined to stick with the 'hydroponic' soil-less origin of 'aquaponics' if we need to be more strict.

1. closed loop recirculating water

2. nutrients derived from biological process and living organisms - fish/worms + bacteria

3. plants grown in any non-soil growing medium

Are marshes and wetlands aquaponic ?  My guess is yes, hence the bio filters in your system.  You have mush, you have soil  We are trying to get the best nature has to offer, under natural circumstances.  I am mixing medias and letting the plants tell me what's right for them.  Aquaponics was set up waaaaay before we were born. 


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