[permaculture] Natural hydroponics, aquatic foodweb & quality food

christopher nesbitt christopher.nesbitt at mmrfbz.org
Sun Apr 7 00:59:42 EDT 2013


Thank you for taking the time t find that. Aquaponics is NOT hydroponics. It bothers me when people confuse them and then make statements based on lack of understanding.


_____________________________
Christopher Nesbitt

Maya Mountain Research Farm
San Pedro Columbia, Toledo
PO 153 Punta Gorda Town, Toledo
BELIZE, 
Central America

Country code 501-630-4386

www.mmrfbz.org
www.facebook.com/MayaMountainResearchFarm




On Apr 6, 2013, at 10:55 PM, venaurafarm wrote:

> On 4/7/2013 12:40 AM, venaurafarm wrote:
>> On 4/7/2013 12:25 AM, Steve Hart wrote:
>> 
>>> On the subject of hydroponics I do recall a recent debate raging about
>>> acquaponics which like hydroponics has little to do with
> 
> You participated in that discussion.
> 
>>>>> Which the way I understand hydroponics:  There's no soil, no
>>>>> soil-food-web, no soil biology - it's not even agriculture (much less
>>>>> permaculture), which helps explain why I become distempered if I eat
>>>>> even a little (something which I would not knowingly do).
>> 
>> There is no soil, there is aquaculture foodweb and biology. Read the
>> thread on this and pay attention to Toby's input. That will explain all.
>> Then Google the subject for more detailed information.
> 
> Here you go:
> 
> Toby Hemenway toby at patternliteracy.com:
> 
> Well-aerated, nutrient-rich water can grow vastly more microbes than any 
> soil. I used to run a fermentation lab, so I've done it, easily. This is 
> why wetlands are so important--and they work because wetland plants pump 
> out oxygen at far higher rates than most terrestrial plants, and 
> nutrient diffusion rates in water are far higher than in soil. Plus soil 
> is mostly rock or carbon, which displaces bacteria, while water doesn't 
> displace them--the sheer density of microbes in water can be far higher. 
> The few billion bacteria per gram of healthy soil are a fraction of what 
> a healthy wetland or an aquaponics system can achieve.
> 
> Like any system, aquaponics is not appropriate for every situation. But 
> in places where land is scarce (cities), conditions are unreliable (many 
> places), technical resources are more available than soil, and a number 
> of other situations, aquaponics can allow food--and dense protein--to be 
> grown where it otherwise can't.
> 
> You can get rid of fungi and other diseases more easily than in soil 
> because you can circulate a treatment through the entire system very 
> quickly or even replace the water, unlike soil.
> 
> I'm grateful to Kathryn K for staying so level-headed and reasonable in 
> the face of some assumptions not well based in fact. I used to have a 
> strong prejudice against aquaponics, but it pretty well dissolved after 
> I learned more about it. I'm awfully fond of soil-based systems, but 
> aquaponics has its advantages in some places. It's a useful tool.
> 
> Toby
> http://patternliteracy.com
> 
> I, like most people, have a strong preference for working in the dirt 
> instead of using a bunch of tanks and pipes to grow food, but, then, 
> soil ag, too, is pretty mechanized these days.
> 
> To sum up: there is nothing special about soil, in one sense: it is a 
> medium for the propagation of the microbes that convert manure and other 
> non-available nutrients into plant-available nutrients, and it can hold 
> water and air.  Same with water. Instead of a rock-based medium to hold 
> microbes and nutrients, aquaponics uses water as the medium, which is a 
> nice stacking of functions, if you think about it, because soil has to 
> be kept wet for microbes and plants to grow, while water doesn't, and 
> most of the nutrients that plants use are water soluble, converted into 
> that form from insoluble form by microbes. The carbon, the energy source 
> for the microbes, is provided by the OM in the fish manure instead of OM 
> from insect frass and animal manure.
> 
> And aquaponics has a couple of advantages over soil systems, because a 
> water medium can transport nutrients to microbes and plants much more 
> quickly than soil. In soil, water moves by diffusion, and once the 
> water, or the nutrients in it, are used up in one area, the organisms 
> must wait for more to diffuse in before they can feed or get moisture, 
> and that can take time--and sometimes it doesn't happen, and the plants 
> or bugs die. Same with oxygen, which can't travel well in compacted soil.
> 
> But in a water medium, nutrients are constantly being circulated to 
> where they are needed, as is air. That's one reason that growth rates in 
> aquaponics is much faster than in soil.
> 
> To make it clear: Aquaponics is not hydroponics plus fish. Hydroponics 
> uses water-soluble nutrients from the get-go, with no microbes in the 
> mix. Aquaponics, just like soil ag, relies on microbes to convert manure 
> into plant-available form. Big difference--the former is chemistry, the 
> latter is an ecosystem.
> 
> Toby
> http://patternliteracy.com
> 
> One thing to keep in mind about aquaponics is that bacteria and other 
> microbes are as critical a part of the system as in soil. The fish 
> manure is not some liquid fertilizer that goes straight to the plants. 
> It contains N primarily in the form of ammonia, and the usual bacteria 
> are present in the gravel beds (which are best made with lava rock or 
> some other high-edge substance) to convert it to nitrite and nitrate. 
> Many of the nutrient-releasing processes are the same as in soil. As 
> long as your fish food comes from a balanced source, a good nutrient 
> balance will go to the plants. (I agree that you probably don't want to 
> make aquaponics your exclusive vegetable source.)
> 
> People also complain about the embedded energy in these systems, which, 
> indeed is higher than the energy footprint of a soil bed. But since most 
> farming is done with tractors and other equipment, and chickens live in 
> coops made with manufactured materials that have a high energy 
> footprint, and we drive to the store to buy our food, etc, etc, I think 
> that argument goes away.
> 
> Toby
> http://patternliteracy.com
> 
> _______________________________________________
> permaculture mailing list
> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> subscribe/unsubscribe|user config|list info|make a donation toward list maintenance:
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
> message archives:  http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture/
> Google message archive search:
> site: lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture [searchstring]
> Permaculture Institute USA http://permaculture.org
> Avant Geared  http://www.avantgeared.com



More information about the permaculture mailing list