My buddies designed this new modular system and are starting a Kickstarter campaign for soon.
Check them out, they explain the idea of aquaponics and how easily their system works.
Their Facebook is here:
and website is
share some of their thoughts or point me to resources on the general context of this subject in relation to permaculture and sustainability. for instance it has the reputation as a water saver, but I assume for the most part it needs chemical inputs in terms of fertilizers. Any opinions, sites, or known expert refrences appreciated.
You mentioned water savings as a sustainability feature of hydro and this can be very easily referenced. As with most anything we can apply permaculture principles and raise level of how these systems are designed, built and operated.
Based on my experiences with both of these systems, in both large scale applications and backyard/home-based systems the both have their pros and cons...
Hydroponics is the general the strategy used by Aquaponics to grow the plants. The fish feed and by extension the fish provide the nutrients to the system. In both systems we are inputting nutrients to grow plants with a water based nutrient solution. Both systems can or cannot use media (soil substrates).
In what ways is aquaponics superior to Hydroponics??
From an environmental standpoint, while only considering this one statement, a synthetic hydroponic setup will produce a wastewater stream that is high in sodium that will be released back into nature at some point. There are methods to reduce and negate this process but most are very cumbersome and/or expensive enough to prohibit the backyard farmer from doing it. Aquaponic setups do not produce this same wastewater.
This is one area where AP is definitely superior.
Aquaponics is very energy intensive compared to farming in soil, and even hydroponic systems (there are numerous no electricity hydroponic methods). People with cheap grid connections tend to overlook this issue, but at the end of the day, I have not seen many aquaponics systems that produce more energy than they consume.
In these areas (energy and water efficiency), hydroponics is superior to aquaponics.
There are numerous soil farming methods (wicking beds, swales, etc) than can match Aquaponics in terms of water use per lb of food produced.
Aquaponics is really a compromise between hydroponics and recirculating aquaculture. Both hydroponics and recirculating aquaculture are typically a lot more efficient in terms of energy consumed per unit of food produced than a typical aquaponics system.
Actually, aquaponics won a recent trial vs. hydroponics.