Aquaponics, Bioponics, Blog, Nutrient Cycling, Sustainability

Sustainable fish food for aquaponics; Bioponic nutrient cycling

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One of the greatest benefits of bioponics, as I define it, is that it addresses the challenges associated with the entire fish culture operation, including adequate fish biomass, waste and feed sources. For heavy feeding plants a pure aquaponic approach won’t cut it. They need minerals, higher phosphates, benefits from natural growth hormones, vitamins and rhizomal organisms. Bioponics solves this by cycling nutrients from waste.

What makes bioponics uniquely different that aquaponics is that while it supports fish, it does not require fish to fertlize the beds. A balanced system is like an ecosystem, supporting all varieties of life but not depending on one element to support the operation. Even though the nomenclature of “aquaponics (water-labor)” does not particularly speak to the definition of  aquaponics it is a system that relies on fish. Without fish it there needs to be an alternative, varied and bioponic source. If done correctly, the source is ever abundant and free. Plant and fish foods can all be derived from this process:

  • Nutrients, including ammonia, phosphates, trace elements, vitamins and minerals are present in all green organic matter. When leachates are integrated into the soil-less growing beds through a process of bioreaction and clarification the nutrients that are extracted from green manures, including food waste and human urine, are appropriate for feeding plants.
  • The detritis with live biomass of bacteria and fungal organisms, from bioreacted and partially decomposed green manures is a suitable herbivore fish and crawfish food. It also goes into the accompanying Vermi-Troughs. This introduction of green manure is a huge resource for the entire system.
  • Worms, teas and castings are another addition to ebb and flow bioponic grow beds. Full of important supplements
  • Growing duckweed on waste effluent requires no energy to produce animal feed except for modest sunlight exposure.  It is a plant in the nutrient cycle that can be dehydrated and packaged for storage up to 6 years as a fish or farm animal food or it can be pasteurized for human consumption. Duckweed is a plant that more closely resembles animal protein than any other plant and it yields 10x the amount of protein per square food growing area than soy. It is literally a “waste treatment plant” that may also be considered a “treatment plant” for reversing malnourishment and protein energy deficiencies.

About drdave

CoFounder of Algosolar, dba Bioponica. Consultant, designer, developer of Biogarden and Incubator Ecosystems for producing organic food and fish, sustainably.


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20' x 4' Deep Water Troughs plus 210 Gallon Tank Below. Troughs function as clarifier, biofilter, and aerobic digester for duckweed and Deep Water Culture

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20' x 4' plant beds 210 gallon fish tank. Ebb and flow rock beds above tank

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