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YWAM Amarillo | What is Aquaponics?
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What is Aquaponics?

A Smart Food Solution

Aquaponics is a unique combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (raising plants without soil). Fish are raised in a tank where their waste and respiration create ammonia. Beneficial bacteria in the water convert the ammonia to nitrites and then to nitrates, which becomes fertilizer for the plants. Water from the tank is gravity fed into grow beds where the plant roots, soaking directly in the water, take up nutrients which have been provided by the fish and beneficial bacteria. The water, which has now been filtered by the bacteria and plant roots, is then pumped back to the fish tank and the process repeats as a continuing cycle.

This method of sustainable agriculture is extremely effective in terms of food production (both fish and vegetables) and is also very efficient in terms of water conservation. Aquaponics uses about 2-5% of the water used in traditional soil gardening. Here are some of the many other benefits of aquaponics food production:


Vegetable production is completely organic – no chemical fertilizers or pesticides can be used without endangering the fish.


Much higher production than soil gardening in a given amount of space. Plants can be grown much closer together and will grow nearly twice as fast in an aquaponics system.

Year-Round Growth

In a greenhouse environment, aquaponics can be used for year-round production.


Increased food security through sustainable and water-wise production using very little energy.


Exceptional produce flavor and shelf life

No Weeding


Why Use Aquaponics in Missions?

With over 850 million people in the world suffering from malnutrition, a variety of models for sustainable food production is needed to reverse this trend. While no single method will solve the problem, we believe that aquaponics provides a method that is simple, effective and easily reproducible in a wide variety of climates. It also provides a balance of protein-rich fish and vitamin-rich vegetables to address malnutrition.


Additionally, aquaponics provides a context for holistic evangelism. Since food is a basic need of all people, aquaponics is a great tool for opening doors into areas where the gospel message can also be declared. In this way we can present the whole gospel to the whole man throughout the whole earth.


Finally, aquaponics food production can be utilized to make mission training centers more self-sustaining and can be used commercially in outreach for poverty alleviation and community development.