Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growth of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish.
The aquaponic system planned for CLTI was designed by Richard Rath, a civil engineer associated with Engineering Ministries International. The project includes four 2100-gallon tanks for rearing the fish, an aeration system, tray rain covers to protect the system during the rainy season, and all fittings, foundations, and components needed to immediately begin aquaponic farming once the system is constructed.
Tilapia will become the fish of choice for farming, because they thrive in fresh, still water, they breed naturally and quickly, and their nutritional intake consists of a large variety of readily available, inexpensive food products.
Aquaponic systems come in all sizes and many designs. Our aquaponic system will begin with a 70 square foot concrete foundation on which the fish tanks will rest. Vegetable farming will be symbiotically integrated into the system, will be places in a modified U-shape around the tanks.
While aquaponic farming is not new, it is a system that is gaining increasing recognition as a efficient, eco-friendly, and flexible way to raise high quality protein (fish) and plants (vegetables) in one farming system.
An aquaponic system is ideally suited to the hot, dry climate of Liberia. Water usage is 1/10 the amount of soil based farming. During the rainy season, covers for the fish tanks will provide protection to the system. The water in the tanks can be used indefinitely, needing only to be topped off when lost through plant transpiration or evaporation.