Aquaponics or (pisciponics) is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) withhydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are broken down by nitrogen fixing bacteria, then filtered out by the plants as vital nutrients, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the fish.
As existing hydroponic and aquaculture farming techniques form the basis for all aquaponics systems, the size, complexity, and types of foods grown in an aquaponics system can vary as much as any system found in either distinct farming discipline.
Hydroponics is a subset of Hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only, or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, expanded clay or coconut husk.
Hydroculture is the growing of plants in a soilless medium, or an aquatic based environment. Plant nutrients are distributed via water.