Normal

operations
Aquaponic

systems

do

not


typically

discharge


or


exchange


water


under

normal

operation,


but


instead


re

-
circulate

and

reuse


water


very


effectively.


The


system

relies


on

the


relationship

between


the


animals


and

the
plants
to


maintain


a

stable

aquatic


environment


that


experience


a

minimal


of


fluctuation

in


ambient

nutrient
and
oxygen


levels.


Water


is


only


added


to


replace


water


loss


from

absorption

and

transpiration


by

plants,
evaporation

into

the


air

from

surface


water,


overflow

from

the


system

from

rainfall,


and

removal

of


biomass
such
as

settled


solid

wastes

from

the


system.


As

a

result,


aquaponics

uses

approximately


2%


of


the


water


that
a
conventionally


irrigated

farm

requires

for


the


same


vegetable


production.


This


allows


for


aquaponic
production
of


both


crops


and

fish

in


areas


where


water


or


fertile


land


is


scarce.


Aquaponic


systems

can

also
be
used

to


replicate


controlled


wetland


conditions


that


are


useful


for


water


treatment


by

reclaiming

potable
water

from

typical


household

sewage.


The


nutrient

-

filled

overflow

water


can

be

accumulated

in


catchment
tank,

and

reused

to


accelerate

growth


of


crops


grown


in


soil,


or


it

may


be

pumped

back

into

the


aquaponic
system
to


compensate


for


the


water


lost

in


periods


of


drought


or


little


rainfall.
The

three


main

inputs

to


the


system

are


water,


feed


given


to


the


aquatic


animals,


and

electricity

to


pump
water

between


the


aquaculture


and

the


hydroponics.


The


hydroponics


system

continually


provides


plants

such
as
vegetables,

while


the


aquaculture


can

contain


edible

species


of


among

others


fish,


but


they


will


have

to


be
replaced

to


keep

the


system

stable.
Pros
and


cons
The

unique


advantages


of


aquaponic


systems


are:
Conservation

through


constant


water


reuse


and

recycling.
Organic

fertilization


of


plants

with


natural

fish

emulsion.
The

elimination


of


solid

waste

disposal


from

intensive


aquaculture


operations.
The

reduction

of


needed


cropland


to


produce

food


stuffs.
The

overall


reduction

of


the


environmental


footprint


of


crop


production.
Building
small


efficient


commercial


installations


near


markets

reduces

transportation

cost


being


added


to
the

price

of


products

.
Some

conceivable


disadvantages


with

aquaponics

are:
Initial

expenses


for


housing,


tank,


plumbing,


pumps,


and

grow

beds.
The

infinite


number


of


ways


in


which

a

system

can

be

configured

lends


itself

to


equally

to


varying


results,
conflicting

opinions


among

Aquaponist,


and

successes

or


failures.
Some
aquaponic

installations


rely

heavily

on

man

-

made


energy

ie:

electricity,


technological


solutions,
and
environmental


control


to


achieve


recirculation


and

water


temperatures.
However,

if

a

system

is


designed

with


energy

conservation

in


mind,


among

others,

using


alternative
energy,

ie


solar


cells


and

wind

for


electricity

and

solar


heating


of


green

houses


and

water


in


addition


to
the

use

of


gravity


to


reduce

pumping,


it

can

be

extremely


energy

efficient.
While

careful


design


can

minimize


the


risk,


aquaponics

systems

can

have

multiple


'single

points

of
failure'

where


problems

such

as

an

electrical


failure


or


a

pipe


blockage


can

lead


to


a

complete

system