Aquaponics is a technology that combines aquaculture
(fish farming) with hydroponics (growing plants without soil).
1. Fish farms have a problem with waste disposal
because the fish constantly excrete ammonia into the water. Ammonia
is an irritating chemical that most of us associate with window
cleaners. The usual way to remove ammonia from water is to filter
or discard the wastewater periodically to prevent the toxic waste
products from building up and killing the fish. However in Haiti,
filters are expensive and water is often a precious resource.
2. Hydroponics requires farmers to purchase expensive
fertilizer which is a challenge in Haiti.
In an aquaponics system both of these problems are
solved. The water is treated with beneficial bacteria that constantly
converts the toxic ammonia into a natural plant fertilizer. The
water is then circulated between plant growing beds and the fish
tanks. This allows the fish to provide food for plants and the plants
to purify water for the fish tanks. This creates a natural ecosystem
where both plants and fish thrive.
Aquaponics is an innovative solution to the fish
farmer's need to dispose of fish waste and the hydroponic grower's
need for nutrient-rich water. Research has demonstrated that this
technology can increase crop yields by 10 - 45 fold when compared
to traditional soil planting and it uses only 10% of the water needed
for traditional soil agriculture,
Although the practices of fish farming and soil-less
plant culture have been traced to ancient times, the combination
of the two is quite new and we believe can solve the problems associated
with normal fish farming.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using
mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil.
Some of the reasons why hydroponics is being adapted
around the world for food production are the following:
- No soil is needed
- The water stays in the system and can be reused
- thus, lower water costs
- It is possible to control the nutrition levels
in their entirety - thus, lower nutrition costs
- No nutrition pollution is released into the
environment because of the controlled system
- Stable and high yields
- Pests and diseases are easier to get rid of
than in soil
The Fish Farm in conjunction with poultry
The droppings of birds from the Poultry Project
can be utilized to fertilize the pond. Poultry litter recycled into
fish pond produces 4,500 – 5,000kg fish per hectare pond per
year. The poultry litter is applied to the pond in daily doses of
a rate of 40 – 50 kg per hectare. The application of litter
may be deferred during the days when algai blooms appear in the
pond. 500 chickens would be able to provide sufficient manure for
fertilization of one hectare of fish pond.