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              Roots of Aquaponics

 INTRODUCTION

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Aquaponics  is
a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics which includes elements of recirculation  and symbiosis(1),its gives output of
vegetables and fishes utilizing water which is nutrient rich and fish food and
excrete as a basic source,again it is a soilless culture. History says that one
of the ancient practice is using fish waste as fertilizer for crops.”stationary
islands” set up in shallow lakes in central America(e.g.,Aztec’s Chinampas 1150-1350 BC)2. In South
East Asia about 1500 years ago used to introduction of fish into paddy
fields3 ,researchers at the New Alchemy Institute
and the works of Dr.Mark McMurty et al. at the North Carolina State University
(USA)4 in 70’s and early 80’s developed the basics of modern Aquaponics5.  Good mile stone was set
up in year 1980 at the University of the Virgin Island (UVI) 1.

Food security would be particularly
belongs to global population it now exceeds 7.2billions and is growing rapidly 9.6
billions around 2050.6Urban population growth will require an increasing
demand for animal protein7.

Aquaculture  is
closed system of  fish farming,  where commercial fishes (catfish, ornamental
fish, crayfish or prawns etc.)are grown under controled conditions  in container. 
It includes a new approach called Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS),
reuse of water with < 10% of total water volume replaced per day8. Hydroponics is a term used to determine the production of plants in soilless media. Plant roots plays major role in a nutrient artificial medium for mechanical support 9.It supports the production of green leaf vegetables Chinese Cabbage, Lettuce, Basil, Spinach, Chilies. In other hand aquaponics system with mature and high stock density of fish, plants such as tomato, peppers and cucumbers. It includes salads capsicum, red salads onions, snow peas, okra, tomato, bell pepper. To full fill the concept of aquaponics living microbial concept comes a head  that is symbiosis (nitrification)1011.  Nitrification, a two-step process;  First step ammonia is oxidized to nitrite,  2 NH4+ +  3 O2 ? 2 NO2? + 2 H2O + 4 H+ (Nitrosomonas)   Second step nitrite is oxidized to nitrate. 2 NO2? + O2 ? 2 NO3? (Nitrobacter, Nitrospira)   The end product of nitrification produces nitrate(NO3?) plays major role in aquaponics. Nutrient rich waste water in aquaculture system is flows into hydroponics system. Plants will uptake nitrate(NO3?) form along with nutrient rich from waste water where purify by roots (Rhizofiltration)12. Aquaponics is a closed loop system similar to a natural system. Fish takes food and it naturally converted into nitrates and nutrients that present in water are taken up by plants. Fish supply necessary plant nutrients and the plants act as a natural water filter13. Collaboration of aquaculture with agriculture can helps to reduce the water usage to production of animal protein and fresh vegetables14. Aquaponics consists of two systems ,aquaculture where aquatic animals are grown and the hydroponics part where plants are grown. Aquaponics is also combination of sub-systems that takes role in removal of solid wastes,filtration,and adding bases to neutralize acids (or) for maintaining water oxygenation.it consists of different parts. Rearing tank:it is a site where fish raising and feeding. Setting basin:a special place where deposite of catching un eaten food and other waste materials. Biofilter: a site of microbial growth (nitrification) that is convertion of ammonia into nitrate. Hydroponics system: place where plants are grown and obtain nutrients from water. Sump: the bottom system  where  water runs down and it pumps again back to rearing tank15. Types of aquaponics system There are three types of aquaponics that have been developed for use by home gardens and commercial enterprises. 1.Media based system. 2.NFT based system. 3.Deep flow(or)Raft system. 1.Media based system: It is simple system, easy to set up and operate that is why it is used in small (or) large scale. It is commonly used in backward aquaponics This system contains small rocky and clay pebbles that usally expands,/with pores to absorb water and air. Rocks act as bio filter in this system. NFT system: Nutrient film technique is a common method used in large scale aquaponics. It involves PVC pipes and mechanical filtration system to operate. It works by a technique that a thin film of nutrient rich water is flows at root system with in enclosed gutter. In this mainly small root system like leafy green vegetables are grown. Deep flow(or)Raft system: Deep water culture(DWC)involves the use of raft that which float on water therefore it is also called raft system. It relatively cheap to set up and operate so it is highly recamended for both backyard and commercial aquaponics. Plant root system that grow in the holes of the raft and roots system hangs down in water. In this system mainly the leafy green vegetables and small herbs plants with higher root system is not possible. By above reasons DWC is easily adopted for home garden. Some Advantages(PROS) of Aquaponics 1.Main benefit of aquaponics is saves space. 2.It provides weeding free zone. 3.Because of soil free medium prevents from soil pests. 4.regular interval of irrigation not required. 5.it creates a path for income source. 6.plants grows faster than traditional farming. 7.energy utilizes less energy to run aquaponics. 8.its final results to produce healthy animal protein and vegetables to society. Disadvantages(CONS) of Aquaponics 1.initial set up of aquaponics system is expensive . 2.electricity is needed continuously. 3.skilled labour and regular monitoring of necessary.

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