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Introduction to Aquponics An Integrated Fish and Plant Production System.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Aquponics An Integrated Fish and Plant Production System."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Introduction to Aquponics An Integrated Fish and Plant Production System

3 Aquaculture Aquaculture -- also known as fish or shellfish farming -- refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments including ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.

4 What is Hydroponics? Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil.

5 What is Aquaponics? Aquaculture + Hydroponics = Aquaponics Combined production of fish and hydroponic plants in a recirculating aquaculture system

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7 Why Aquaponics? – Advantages Plants use nutrients from fish waste to produce a marketable product Hydroponic plants act as biofilter Integrated systems reuse nutrients and conserve water (up to 98% less water than conventional farming) – Disadvantages Requires knowledge of fish and plant husbandry Requires commercial fish diet and reliable energy source Moderate initial capital costs for system construction

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9 Tilapia production Stocking and Harvesting – Drain and harvest tank 24 weeks later Average weight 700 – 750 grams/fish Survival greater than 95% Staggered production – Allows a tilapia harvest every 6 weeks – A total of 2 harvests from each tank/year

10 What do fish need? Food-Feed a floating diet with 32% protein 3 times/day Achieve daily feeding rate of 60 – 100 grams of diet/m 2 of hydroponic growing area/day This is optimal amount for plant production, balances the system, and minimizes water quality problems Aeration-Fish are animals and need oxygen Several airstones/tank Pump to circulate water Clean Water-Fish can’t be left to float in their wastes. They emit ammonia from their gills and create solid and liquids waste filled with ammonia

11 Feeding a Fish Tank Marketable Nile tilapia Tilapia Production

12 Plant Requirements LightOxygenTemperature Indoor production is climate controlled Outdoor production is dependent on the season Adequate Spacing Crop Dependent Protection Wind protection Control of pests

13 Plant Requirements There are 16 essential macronutrients and micronutrients for plant growth Macronutrients N, P, K, Micronutrients Ca, S, Mg, B, Cl, Cu, Fe, Mo, Mn, Z There are recommended ranges for aquaponic and hydroponic vegetable production Typically aquaponic nutrient levels are lower than recommended hydroponic nutrient levels Possible because fish are always creating effluent that passes through hydroponic raceways

14 Nitrogen Balance The main nutrient that we monitor in our system is nitrogen. There are 3 kinds of nitrogen that occur in aquatic environments: AmmoniaNitriteNitrate We want to limit the amount of Ammonia (<1 ppm) and Nitrite (< 5 ppm) Nitrates are not as harmful to fish and should be ppm.

15 pH Balance Must compromise pH for fish, plants and biofiltration Fish prefer 7.5 – 8.5 Plants prefer 6.0 – 6.5 Nitrifying bacteria prefer 7.0 – 8.0 Maintain aquaponic system pH at 7.0 Calcium hydroxide [Ca(OH) 2 ] and potassium hydroxide (KOH) increase pH when it falls below 7.0 Calcium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide added on alternate basis until pH returns to 7.0

16 Why is Aquaponics Better Than Hydroponics? In Hydroponics, humans have to recreate the nutrient environment needed to grow plants. Nutrient concentrations decline over time and have to be re-added. In Aquaponics, the nutrients are provided and recycled through the system (i.e. fish poop).

17 Nutrient concentration for Aquaponics vs. Hydroponics NutrientAquaponics (mg/L) Hydroponics (mg/L) Calcium10.0 – Magnesium 0.7 – Potassium0.3 – Nitrate 0.4 – Phosphate 0.4 – Sulfate 0.1 – Iron Manganese Copper Zinc Molybdenum Boron

18 Nutrient Supplementation Tilapia effluent provides adequate levels of macronutrients and micronutrients, but supplementation of calcium, potassium and iron required Tilapia effluent provides adequate levels of macronutrients and micronutrients, but supplementation of calcium, potassium and iron required Calcium supplemented with addition of calcium hydroxide Calcium supplemented with addition of calcium hydroxide Potassium supplemented with addition of potassium hydroxide Potassium supplemented with addition of potassium hydroxide Iron supplemented with the addition of chelated iron to maintain concentration of 2 mg/L Iron supplemented with the addition of chelated iron to maintain concentration of 2 mg/L

19 Plant Production Methods Batch Culture One planting and one harvest of aquaponic system during plant production period Can quickly deplete nutrients as plants mature Staggered Production Multiple plantings and harvests on a rotational basis Prevents quick nutrient depletion Allows uniform nutrient uptake

20 Principles to Remember Staggered fish and plant production maintains a balanced nutrient concentration in the system Optimum fish feeding rates prevent nutrient accumulation or deficiency Base addition maintains optimal pH and supplements nutrients Be vigilant in preventing, recognizing and treating plant pests/disease


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