Agrostudies agronomist Shoval Lavi has built an aquaponics system at the Ruppin campus demonstration farm, the larger of the two Agrostudies demonstration farms. The goal is to present to the students an innovative new growing technique for plants that also has much added environmental and ecological value.
Aquaponics is a self-sustaining system that combines growing plants with fish and/or other aquatic sweet water animals. The fishes’ excretions nourish the plants who in turn clean the water for the fish. The system works with a water pump (and it is possible to find pumps that operate on solar power these days) and a siphon that channels the water from the plant tub back to the fish tank. For every fish tank you can use two or three plant tubs, depending on their size.
In this case, Shoval has decided to grow lobsters and algae that develop in the sun and snails instead of fish.
- The system is self-sustaining and nourishes itself, even though there are those who will add fish food.
- There are no earth diseases. Since there is no earth involved in the growing process all earth related diseases are avoided.
- There are fewer pests, for the same reason as mentioned above, there is no earth and that leads to less pests.
- 80% water saving (!!) compared to drip irrigation systems. Drip irrigation is a method that already saves water, but this system allows farmers to save a further 80%. This is made possible because a much larger percent of the water is being utilized. The method is lot more efficient and minimizes waste.
- You can grow food from both plant life and animals life from one system.
- Growing fish in this system is complicated in terms of their procreation. Farmers must either buy fresh fishlings each time or cultivate them in a separate tank in procreation groups (one male and three females). This is why Agrostudies’ agronomist, Shoval Lavi decided to experiment with lobsters instead of fish, as their procreation methods are simpler and require less area.
- If temperatures fall the system must be heated, an issue that can lead to high electrical costs.
- Using this system you cannot use chemicals to prevent or treat plant diseases, as this would kill the fish.