How To Have Fun And Make Money With Aquaponics
- Aquaponics produces fish and vegetables by combining aquaculture and hydroponics. It solves the problems inherent in hydroponics and aquaculture without the costly and unsustainable solutions those methods now use. Our systems use fish tank effluent water as the nutrient solution for an organic hydroponics growing operation. The hydroponics acts as a biofilter for the fish tank water, cleaning and recirculating it so the fish stay healthy.
- Because aquaponics uses far less land, doesn’t require soil fertility or even soil, uses little water, uses far less energy than farming in the ground, is more productive for the same area, produces protein and vegetables, is certified organic, and is movable if designed properly, it is the number one contender for the sustainable farming system of the future. There is also substantially less labor required than farming in the ground.
- We have never farmed before; our background is in the business world. Our company, Friendly Aquaponics, Inc., is producing 3,000 pounds of vegetables and 250 pounds of fish per month. We’ve looked for why this is “too good to be true” since Day One, and we just haven’t found it. This really works.
- Our Disclaimer: Although these systems grow food exceedingly well, they won’t magically turn you into a businessperson who makes money farming. Please use all the sources for business training you have access to, including paying LOTS of attention to the sections of this blog that cover business aspects of the aquaponics operation, AND hold on to your day job until you can absolutely afford to quit!
- Produces both fish and organic vegetables, giving it a dynamic ability to weather disease problems in both, and gives you two streams of income rather than just one.
- Uses two to five percent of the “outside input” water of in-ground farming, even less if there’s rain in your area.
- Planting density of four to six times as dense as planting in-ground.
- “Cycle Time” of the vegetables is roughly half the time that growing in soil would require.
- Combining the faster production cycle with the increased planting density means aquaponics produces eight to ten times the amount of organic produce that the same area of soil would in the same time.
- Because of this, aquaponics uses a fraction of the land area that conventional farms do for the same output of vegetables; this means whatever size your aquaponics farm is, you have more land left over for other uses.
- It’s USDA Certified Organic, and can’t be cheated: if we use any chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, our fish all die. Even most organic pesticides would kill our fish. The fish act as the “canary in the coal mine”, and force the farmer to be honest.
- An additional benefit of farming aquaponically (that we noticed after our first system was operational for six months) was that the mosquitoes on our seven-acre farm had completely disappeared! We live in Hawaii, where there are as many mosquitoes as any other tropical area in the world. Although we are fortunate not to have malaria, typhoid, or any of the other dangerous diseases that are transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, we do have dengue fever, which can be fatal in the young, elderly, or those with compromised immune systems. (lots more about this in the Post “Mosquito Eradication With Aquaponics”; just hit “mosquitoes” in the Tag Cloud to find it).
- For farmers: There are no weeds, soil pests or pathogens. There is no tilling, cultivating, fertilizer spreading, compost shredding, manure spreading, plowing cover crops in, irrigating, or tractor shed required. For that matter, there is no tractor, tiller, fertilizer spreader, compost shredder, and so on required. There is also no dirt needed: it works just as well on rocks graded flat with a D9 bulldozer, or in an abandoned parking lot, as on fertile soil. Seeding and a large part of harvesting labor is done sitting in the shade, or standing and working at waist level. The only inputs are electricity, fish food, fish fry, seeds, and potting media. We’ve had three people who grew up on farms and had up to twenty years of experience farming take our aquaponics course then start commercial aquaponics farms. Their responses were identical: aquaponics is half as much work as farming the same crop in the ground, and their backs didn’t hurt any longer.
- Movable Farm: Our aquaponics systems can be drained, disassembled and easily moved to a new location, including the fish, with a backhoe and trailer. For the first time ever, the farm is movable and not tied to a specific piece of land. This means you don’t need to own the land or even have a traditional long-term lease in order to farm profitably. Although long leases are desirable, you can make money even if you have to move the operation every few years. It is much easier to find someone who will lease you a piece of land for five years than 25.