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(searched for: doi:10.1111/jwas.12040)
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Published: 4 August 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Aquaponics is a circulating and sustainable system that combines aquaculture and hydroponics and forms a symbiotic relationship between fish, plants, and microorganisms. We hypothesized that feed alone could support plant growth, but the symbiosis with fish adds some beneficial effects on plant growth in aquaponics. In this study, we created three closed culture systems, namely, aquaponics, hydroponics without nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), and aquaculture, and added the same amount of feed containing N and P to all the treatments in order to test the hypothesis. Accumulation of NO3 and PO43− was alleviated in aquaponics and hydroponics as a result of plant uptake. Lettuce plants grown in aquaponics grew vigorously until 2 weeks and contained a constant level of N in plants throughout the production period, whereas those in hydroponics grew slowly in the early stage and then vigorously after 2 weeks with a late increment of N concentration. These results suggest that catfish help with the faster decomposition of the feed, but, in hydroponics, feed can be slowly dissolved and decomposed owing to the absence of the fish. The bacterial community structures of the culture solution were investigated using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. At the class level, Actinobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, and Gammaproteobacteria were the major microbial groups in the solutions. Aquaponics prevented the pollution of tank solution and maintained a higher water quality compared with hydroponics and aquaculture, suggesting that aquaponics is a more sustainable cultivation system even in a small-scale system.
, Anthonie M. Schuur, Dallas Weaver, Kenneth Semmens
Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture, Volume 30, pp 33-80; https://doi.org/10.1080/23308249.2021.1886240

Abstract:
Aquaponics is the integration of aquaculture and hydroponics where nutrients released by growing fish are utilized by plants grown in a soilless culture, often in a controlled environment. Potential advantages of aquaponics include improved sustainability, reduced resource consumption, and fewer environmental impacts compared to conventional aquaculture. Based on a 2014 survey, it was found that most respondents were practicing aquaponics as a hobby. Other groups of respondents were educators, non-profit organizations that operate aquaponic systems, commercial operators, and consultants that sell goods, material, and services. Although many proponents cite the opportunity to create a commercially viable food production system few (if any) ventures have demonstrated sustainable financial outcomes. In general, much of the peer-reviewed aquaponic publications and popular literature, and despite the efforts of some investigators, lacks a methodical scientific basis for describing the essential mechanics, relationships, and culture methods within aquaponic systems. Many systems evolved from small-scale experimental facilities devised by trial and error methods and were implemented with locally limited appropriate species, limited finances, and distorted market situations. Many of the published aquaponic experiments are based on small systems, short growth trials, and weak experimental design. The predominant system design approach is based on a relatively small number of experiments. This review introduces notation and algorithms that are intended to standardize the numerous critical values essential in aquaponics for purposes of determining design criteria and operational parameters including flows, the concentration of water quality constituents, metabolite production, and productivity of plant and animal segments in an aquaponic systems. The objective of this systematic approach is to employ scientific methods that provide research results that can be replicated, challenged, and improved. This methodology is expected to facilitate more rapid development of scientific information, productive systems, and rational economic applications. This approach is crucial for commercial applications where production cost, product value, and investment returns are of critical importance for practitioners that envision investment in new ventures. For hobbyists and educators, economic issues may not be as important as the self-sufficiency and natural synergism aspects, personal satisfaction, and the learning experience that result from existing state-of-the-art of aquaponic practices. These outcomes remain for all and a clearer understanding of smaller personal systems is likely to be enhanced.
Published: 2 February 2020
by MDPI
Abstract:
Aquaponics is a rapidly growing food-production system integrating aquaculture and hydroponic crop production through an energy-intensive water recirculation process. Crop performance and yield in aquaponics are affected by essential and toxic nutrient levels in the root zone, which can be regulated by water flow rate. This study was conducted to examine the effects of hydraulic loading rate (HLR) on water quality and crop growth and yield in recirculating aquaponic systems set at three different loading rates: high (3.3 m3/m2/day; HFR, which is 12 times lower than recommended loading rate), medium (2.2 m3/m2/day; MFR), and low (1.1 m3/m2/day; LFR). Crop species varying in growth rate were examined for their optimal HLR: fast-growing Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa); medium-growing mustard (Brassica juncea) and chia (Salvia hispanica); and slow-growing basil (Ocimum basilicum) and Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris). Compared to LFR, HFR decreased water and leaf temperatures and total ammonium nitrogen (TAN) but increased dissolved oxygen and pH in aquaponic solution up to one and two weeks after transplant, respectively. HFR increased NO3–N concentration by 50 and 80%, respectively, compared to MFR and LFR, while reducing the exposure duration of roots to ammonia (NH3–N) and its peak concentration through rapid dissipation of the toxic compound. Lower electrical conductivity (EC) in HFR during the last two weeks of production was associated with higher plant nutrient uptake and greater biomass production. The leaf greenness, photosynthetic rate (Pn), and total plant N were significantly higher at HFR than LFR. Fish growth rate, fresh weight, and feed-conversion efficiency were also increased by HFR. The growth of fast-growing crops including total fresh weight, shoot fresh weight, leaf area, and Pn was not different between HFR and MFR, while HLR had less significant effects on the growth and performance (i.e., shoot fresh weight and whole plant photosynthesis) of slow-growing crops. In conclusion, the flow rate is an important component in aquaponic crop production as it affects spatial and temporal water characteristics and subsequently determines the growth and yield of the crops. HLR at 3.3 m3/m2/day was sufficient across the crops allowing better chemical and physical properties of the aquaponic solution for maximum yield and quality. HLR should be maintained at least at 2.2 m3/m2/day for the production of fast-growing crops but can be lowered for slow-growing crops.
, , Samuel Appelbaum, Sebastian M. Strauch, BenZ Kotzen
Published: 22 June 2019
Abstract:
Coupled aquaponics is the archetype form of aquaponics. The technical complexity increases with the scale of production and required water treatment, e.g. filtration, UV light for microbial control, automatic controlled feeding, computerization and biosecurity. Upscaling is realized through multiunit systems that allow staggered fish production, parallel cultivation of different plants and application of several hydroponic subsystems. The main task of coupled aquaponics is the purification of aquaculture process water through integration of plants which add economic benefits when selecting suitable species like herbs, medicinal plants or ornamentals. Thus, coupled aquaponics with closed water recirculation systems has a particular role to fulfil.Under fully closed recirculation of nutrient enriched water, the symbiotic community of fish, plants and bacteria can result in higher yields compared with stand-alone fish production and/or plant cultivation. Fish and plant choices are highly diverse and only limited by water quality parameters, strongly influenced by fish feed, the plant cultivation area and component ratios that are often not ideal. Carps, tilapia and catfish are most commonly used, though more sensitive fish species and crayfish have been applied. Polyponics and additional fertilizers are methods to improve plant quality in the case of growth deficiencies, boosting plant production and increasing total yield.The main advantages of coupled aquaponics are in the most efficient use of resources such as feed for nutrient input, phosphorous, water and energy as well as in an increase of fish welfare. The multivariate system design approach allows coupled aquaponics to be installed in all geographic regions, from the high latitudes to arid and desert regions, with specific adaptation to the local environmental conditions. This chapter provides an overview of the historical development, general system design, upscaling, saline and brackish water systems, fish and plant choices as well as management issues of coupled aquaponics especially in Europe.
Nallely Estrada-Perez, , , Iram Zavala-Leal, Carlos A. Romero-Bañuelos, Elia Cruz-Crespo, Cecilia Juárez-Rossete, Delia Domínguez-Ojeda, Antonio Campos-Mendoza
Published: 27 September 2018
Aquaculture Research, Volume 49, pp 3723-3734; https://doi.org/10.1111/are.13840

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Ryan P. Bartelme, Ben O. Oyserman, Jesse E. Blom, Osvaldo J. Sepulveda-Villet,
Published: 22 January 2018
Frontiers in Microbiology, Volume 9; https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.00008

Abstract:
As the processes facilitated by plant growth promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) become better characterized, it is evident that PGPMs may be critical for successful sustainable agricultural practices. Microbes enrich plant growth through various mechanisms, such as enhancing resistance to disease and drought, producing beneficial molecules, and supplying nutrients and trace metals to the plant rhizosphere. Previous studies of PGPMs have focused primarily on soil-based crops. In contrast, aquaponics is a water-based agricultural system, in which production relies upon internal nutrient recycling to co-cultivate plants with fish. This arrangement has management benefits compared to soil-based agriculture, as system components may be designed to directly harness microbial processes that make nutrients bioavailable to plants in downstream components. However, aquaponic systems also present unique management challenges. Microbes may compete with plants for certain micronutrients, such as iron, which makes exogenous supplementation necessary, adding production cost and process complexity, and limiting profitability and system sustainability. Research on PGPMs in aquaponic systems currently lags behind traditional agricultural systems, however, it is clear that certain parallels in nutrient use and plant-microbe interactions are retained from soil-based agricultural systems.
, Kevin Fitzsimmons
Published: 4 January 2017
Aquaculture International, Volume 25, pp 1227-1238; https://doi.org/10.1007/s10499-016-0109-7

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
, Kevin Fitzsimmons
Published: 1 November 2016
Bioresource Technology, Volume 219, pp 778-781; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2016.08.079

Abstract:
The interaction between the main ions in aquaponics nutrient solutions affects chemical composition and availability of nutrients, and nutrient uptake by plant roots. This study determined the effect of pH on phosphorus (P) speciation and availability in an aquaponics nutrient solution and used Visual MINTEQ to simulate P species and P activity. In both experimental and simulated results, P availability decreased with increase in pH of aquaponics nutrient solutions. According to simulations, P binds to several cations leaving less free phosphate ions available in solution. High pH values resulted in the formation of insoluble calcium phosphate species. The study also demonstrated the importance of organic matter and alkalinity in keeping free phosphate ions in solution at high pH ranges. It is recommended though that pH in aquaponics systems is maintained at a 5.5-7.2 range for optimal availability and uptake by plants.
Chen-Yu Wang, Chia-Yuan Chang, Yew-Hu Chien,
International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, Volume 107, pp 21-30; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibiod.2015.10.016

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
D. Castillo-Castellanos, , , A. Radilla-García, J. T. Nieto-Navarro, C. A. Romero-Bañuelos, J. González-Hernández
Published: 26 October 2015
Aquaculture International, Volume 24, pp 637-646; https://doi.org/10.1007/s10499-015-9954-z

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
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