Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as shrimp and fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.
Aquaponics consists of two main parts, with the aquaculture part for raising aquatic animals and the hydroponics part for growing plants. Aquatic effluents, resulting from uneaten feed or raising animals like fish, accumulate in water due to the closed-system recirculation of most aquaculture systems. The effluent-rich water becomes toxic to the aquatic animal in high concentrations but these effluents are nutrients essential for plant growth. Although consisting primarily of these two parts, aquaponics systems are usually grouped into several components or subsystems responsible for the effective removal of solid wastes, for adding bases to neutralize acids, or for maintaining water oxygenation.
The old methodology was the water from the fish tank with fish waste is pumped through some grow beds with gravel media and then returns it to the fish tank. In the gravel media grow bed there are various plants to be grown. It was the concept that the gravel media grow bed would capture the fish waste and allow it to decompose and go through the de-nitrification process to become plant food nutrients and in the process also become a bio-filter and remove all the ammonia and nitrites that were so harmful to fish. However, after a short period of time, the fish waste collected in the grow bed will clog and diminish the water flow carrying nutrients and oxygen to the plants and the grow bed is the bio filter ceases to remove the ammonia and nitrites which in turn causes great problem to fish health. Ultimately, the system fails, and not only destroys the water quality kills the fish in the fish tank as well as damages the plants.
This is where we come in. Our Xtreme BioFilter system is placed after the fish tank and prior to the water is introduced to the grow beds with plants. Our filter collects the fish waste in the media bed where it can be rapidly digested and harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrites are converted by large amount of beneficial bacteria that live on the media surface. A proper ammonium nitrate and oxygen rich water is essential for optimum plant growth and clean water to reduce grow bed foul ups. Too little ammonium nitrate will take a plant longer to grow, too much will burn its root and retard the growth cycle. A nitrate meter is required to monitor the level of nitrate in the re-circulating water at all time. To reduce high level of nitrate in the water, there are several ways to control it: a) Excessive fish waste collected in the bio filter can remove from the system via regular backwash. b) Introduce fresh water to dilute the nitrate concentration. c) Cut back on the amount of feed and intervals between feeding of the fish, d) reduce the number of fish in the tank.
Our small Xtreme BioFilter and pump system is simple, easy to setup and is suitable for a small, or backyard type aquaponic setup. Large systems can be used for more intensive commercial applications.