18 April 2022

What is aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a complex symbiotic system that is part of off-soil cultivation. Many living organisms (mainly plants, fish and bacteria) coexist and benefit each other by forming a real ecosystem

Normally, the aquaponic system consists of containment tanks for fish fattening (aquaculture), combined with tanks for the growth of vegetables in a protected environment (hydroponics). In the plants there may also be elements dedicated to the transformation of the substances dissolved in water, which have both a mechanical action (they break up the debris into smaller parts) and a biological action (thanks to the intervention of good bacteria).

The first civilizations of which we have traces to use a similar procedure are the Babylonian ones. The story tells that the Babylonians with their hanging gardens, around 590 BC, were the first to use agricultural techniques that recall those above ground.

It seems that at the base of their gardens, there were large basins that received water from the Euphrates. The basins were connected to wooden wheels that when they were operated filled with water that was then left to fall back into a collector. At the highest level there was a cistern from which water could easily be redistributed to the entire surface of the gardens.

This cultivation technique has remained unexplored for a long time. The first studies in fact date back to the late ’70s.

With the debates initiated by the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, and the publication of the Report to the Club of Rome “The Limits to Growth”, for the first time in the world, the risk of depletion of natural resources and land use is being discussed.

With the advance of technological progress and the emergence of new technologies, the first interest in sustainable development with the planet began.

Nowadays, aquaponic pilot projects are growing, with the aim of studying the best methods for the application of the system on a large scale. The prospect, in fact, is that of a great expansion of this sector. This is to generate intensive cultivation and breeding systems that allow to sustain a necessary increase in production in respect of the environment.

These new perspectives in agriculture are very interesting.

Have you ever heard something about it? Tell us what you think, leave a comment below!