Aquaponics: A New Entrepreneur for a Fishery Graduate Student —Adita Sharma

What is Aquaponics ?

Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (fish production in available water) and hydroponics (growing of plants without soil by using inert medium). It allows you to produce fish and plants in the one system with a large reduction in water use. Aquaponics is the symbiotic production of vegetables and fish. Fish eat food and release metabolites into the water derived from the food. These metabolites are further metabolized by bacteria and the products of this metabolism are pumped into a plant grow bed, where they are taken-up by plants for nourish­ment. Aquaponics is suitable for environments with limited land and water, because it produces about three to six times the vegetables and uses about 1% of the fresh­water used by traditional aquaculture.

Plants need to be fertilized in order to grow more. But, when plants are put in water, there is no soil, and therefore, there is nothing to be fertilized. However, if we put fish in that same water where the plants are, we will be able to make the water dirtier than usual. This may seem confusing right now, but it is not. Namely, that so called ‘dirt’ is actually the toxic by-product that fish leave behind. With special equipment, that water is transferred and cleaned and then returned back to the fish.

Simple aquponic unit


Applicability of Aquaponics

Aquaponics combines two of the most productive systems in their respective fields. Recirculating aquacul­ture systems and hydroponics have experienced wide­spread expansion in the world not only for their higher yields, but also for their better use of land and water, simpler methods of pollution control, improved manage­ment of productive factors, their higher quality of pro­ducts and greater food safety. However, aquaponics can be overly complicated and expensive, and requires consis­tent access to some inputs.

Major Benefits of Aquaponic System

0 Sustainability and intensive food production system. • Two agriculture products are produced from one nitrogen source.

0 Extremely water efficient.

0 Does not require soil.

0 Does not use fertilizers or chemical pesticides.

0 Higher control on production leading to lower losses. 0 Daily tasks, harvesting and planning are labour saving and therefore can include all genders and ages.

0 Economical production of either family food pro­duction or cash crops in many locations.

0 Construction materials and information base are widely available.

0 Promoting fuel efficient and environment friendly fishing practice.

Maintenance of Fish Health and Feeding Status

Water is pumped from the fish tanks into the raceway and returns to the fish tank via a standpipe and bulkhead. Fish feeding should start out slowly and increase over two weeks to the level of about 42 g of feed per day. This is a rough estimate, as the fish determine how much they want to eat. The slow increase should allow for the growth of bacteria, which are recruited from the environment to detoxify the water. Fish are fed twice daily, once in the mid-morning when water temperatures begin to rise and once in the evening. The best way to determine feeding amounts is to feed fish the prede­termined amount and then ten minutes after feeding count the number of particles remaining. If 5-10% of the feed remains after 10 minutes, the meal size should be kept the same; if more than 10% is left over, the meal size should be decreased; if less than 5% is left over, the meal size should be increased.


‘ X


/ill!I;:.\ yr

Grow tray
27.78 crore

Workers registered till March 2015

Total 9.80 cr

State Active Women Reg’d Women 50            275          111

TN 90 67 130 85
MP 88 39 245 113
UP 87 24 234 57
Rajasthan 78 47 245 118
Andhra 76 40 208 101


How can We Start Our Own Aquaponic Unit?

We can use simple wooden boxes. Grow-bed units are shallow wooden boxes with a piece of plywood for a bottom,

two 2″x 4″ side pieces and two 2″ x 4″:end pieces. These grow- beds are quick and inexpensive to cons­truct. Each bed pro­duces 48 heads of leafy greens, such as lettuce, some vege­tables, such as mustard cabbage; require 5 weeks to grow to a pound.

To construct the box, screws are placed through the bottom once every approx. 41 cm. 2×8 stainless steel screws or 3 x 10 stainless steel screws are used. Typical raceways consisting of 8 pieces Boxes are construc- of plywood connected end to end.                                                                  ted upside down.

Many trays are attached to each other. Usually 8 pieces of plywood form a race-way. The number 8 is used because rolls of plastic are usually about 100 feet long. The greatest challenge is to ensure that all of the trays are level. They need to be level or fish water will puddle somewhere in the tray. Raceways are supported by double hollow tiles.

Plants sit in 2″ net pots supported by the white poly­styrene covers.

Grow-beds are filled with enough water to reach the bottom of the net pots, and lettuce plant roots Gravel filled raceway with plants grow down into growing in the gravel the water to take up nutrients. It is noted that this leaves about 5 cm of air space between the raft and the surface of the water, approximating well-aerated tilled soil.

India today is the second largest fish producing nation in the World. India is also a major producer of fish through aquaculture and ranks second in the World after China. Infact, fish sector contributes about 0-92% to the overall Gross Value Added (GVA) and 5-58% of the Agricultural GVA at current prices for the year 2013-14. Inland fisheries presently has a share of 64-09% in total fish production (9-58 million tonnes-MT in 2013-14), while marine fisheries share is 35-90%. Overall, this Aquaponics technique/system will be suitable for environment with limited land water in the country a dire need in 21st Century. This Aquaponics technique will be useful to develop post harvest technologies for students by the National Institute of Fisheries Post Harvest Technology and Training (NIFPHATT, Gol) Vishakhapatnam (A.P.) renamed in 2008, Central Institute of Fisheries, Nautical and Engineering Training (CIFNET), Kochi (Kerala) est. in 1963 etc.

‘World Fisheries Day’ was observed first time in India on November 21, 2014 during International Trade Fare, New Delhi so as to enhance fish production by National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) and implement ‘Blue Revolution’ Inland Fisheries.


Aquaponics is an integrated approach to efficient and sustainable intensification of agriculture that meets the needs of water scarcity initiatives. Globally, improved agricultural practices are needed to alleviate rural poverty and enhance food security. Aquaponics is residuefree and avoids the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It is a labour-saving technique and can be inclusive of many gender and age categories. In the face of population growth, climate change and dwindling supplies of water and arable land worldwide, developing efficient and integrated agriculture techniques will support economic development.            p.oarpan


NREGA @10: Rising wages,
dwindling workforce

Govt’s flagship employment scheme completed 10 years on February 2,2016

Rs. 3,13,844.55 crore



1,980.01 crore

Man-days of work created in 10 years


(Worked at least once in the last two years)

Others 5.88 cr

tl –

r9%Land development _ 5% Other 12% Land development 4% Other r works
\ 24% Rural 15%




WHERE THE Rs. 3 lakh cr WENT


_ 9% Drought proofing



-16% Water conservation

………. ..■tPMjMwt


2015-16* 2014-15 2013-14 2012-13
Wage/day/person 151.96 143.91 132.7 121.41
Total expenditure 34,360 cr 36,025 cr 38,553 cr 39,778 cr
Man-days of work 160 166 220 230
Households that worked 3.99 cr 4.14 cr 4.79 cr 4.99 cr
Individuals that worked 5.81 cr 6.22 cr 7.39 cr 7.97 cr
Households got 100 days (in lakh) 20.85 24.93 46.59 51.73
Average days per household 40.13 40.17 45.97 46.2
1 *2015-16 figures until date; tables cover two UPA years, two NDA years
THE STATES (UTs excluded from tables)





TOP 5                           BOTTOM 5

Haryana 91% Arunachal 7%
Mizoram 85% Manipur 40%
Tripura 84% Odisha 53%
Himachal 82% Bengal 54%
MP 82% Maharashtra 58%



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