@ Manchester Museum

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is the combination of growing fish (aquaculture) and plants (hydroponics) in a closed recirculating system.

What are the benefits of aquaponics over aquaculture or hydroponics?

Compared to hydroponics, aquaponics eliminates the need for chemical nutrients to feed the plants. Nutrients to help the plants grow come from the waste of the fish in the system. Traditional aquaculture systems typically suffer from build up of fish waste that causes the water to become toxic due to the nitrites. In an aquaponics system the bacteria in the grow beds convert the nitrites to nitrates, which the plants then consume as their main nutrient source.

Which are the best fish for aquaponics?

There is no 'best' fish. It depends on what is available to you, what is legal for you to keep in your location and what will live in your temperature range. The fish recommended for a home aquaponics system are tilapia and common carp, which are often used in aquaponics systems in the UK. Here, we use common carp.

What plants can you grow?

There have been over 300 different plants that have been trialled and found suitable to grow in an aquaponic system. In our installation, we have chosen mint plants, which have been found to thrive when water from the fish directly supplies nutrients to the roots of the plants. Cultivated in this way, it has been found that mint plants grow faster in the system than in a traditional garden.