The Marketplace is now widely available! Install insights today.
Download AppBlogFeaturesPricingSupportSign In

Chapter 5 Aquaponics: The Basics

2 years ago

10 min read

Wilson Lennard and Simon God

Abstract Aquaponics is a technology that is part of the broader integrated agriaquaculture systems discipline which seeks to combine animal and plant culture technologies to confer advantages and conserve nutrients and other biological and economic resources. It emerged in the USA in the early 1970s and has recently seen a resurgence, especially in Europe. Whilst aquaponics broadly combines recirculating fish culture with hydroponic plant production, the application of the term aquaponic is broad and many technologies claim use of the name. Combining fish culture with aquatic-based, terrestrial plant culture via aquaponics may be better defined via its nutrient resource sharing credentials. Aquaponics applies several principles including, but not limited to, efficient water use, efficient nutrient use, lowered or negated environmental impact and the application of biological and ecological approaches to agricultural fish and plant production. Water sources are important so that the nutrients required for fish and plant production are available and balanced, and system water chemistry is paramount to optimised fish and plant production. Systems may be configured in several ways, including those that are fully recirculating and those that are decoupled. Aquaponics importantly seeks to apply methods that provide technical, biological, chemical, environmental and economic advantages.

Keywords Aquaponics · Agri-aquaculture · Aquaculture · Hydroponics · Agriculture · Fish · Plants · Nutrients · Ecology


W. Lennard

Aquaponic Solutions, Blackrock, VIC, Australia

S. Goddek

Mathematical and Statistical Methods (Biometris), Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands

© The Author(s) 2019 113

S. Goddek et al. (eds.), Aquaponics Food Production Systems,


Baquedano E (1993) Aztec Inca & Maya. A Dorling Kindersley Book, Singapore

Blidariu F, Grozea A (2011) Increasing the economic efficiency and sustainability of indoor fish farming by means of aquaponics — review. Anim Sci Biotechnol 44(2):1—8

Boyd CE, Tucker CS (2012) Pond aquaculture water quality management. Springer Science and Business Media

Buzby KM, Lian-shin L (2014) Scaling aquaponic systems: balancing plant uptake with fish output. Aquac Eng 63:39—44

Cerozi BS, Fitzsimmons K (2017) Phosphorous dynamics modelling and mass balance in an aquaponics system. Agric Syst 153:94—100

COST FA1305 (2017) The EU aquaponics hub — realising sustainable integrated fish and vegetable production for the EU.

Delaide B, Goddek S, Gott J, Soyeurt H, Haissam Jijakli M (2016) Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. Sucrine) (2016). Growth performance in complemented aquaponic solution outperforms hydroponics. Water 8(10):467

Eck M (2017) Taxonomic characterisation of bacteria communities from water of diversified aquaponic systems. Thesis for the partial fulfillment of a Masters Degree. Université de Liège, Liège

Endut A, Jusoh A, Ali N, Wan Nik WB, Hassan A (2010) A study on the optimal hydraulic loading rate and plant ratios in recirculation aquaponic system. Technol 101:1511—1517

Fernandez V, Sotiropoulos T, Brown P (2013) Foliar fertilization: scientific principles and field practices, 1st edn. International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), Paris

Goddek S (2017) Opportunities and challenges of multi-loop aquaponic systems. Wageningen University, Wageningen

Goddek S, Keesman KJ (2018) The necessity of desalination technology for designing and sizing multi-loop aquaponics systems. Desalination 428:76—85

Goddek S, Körner O (2019) A fully integrated simulation model of multi-loop aquaponics: a case study for system sizing in different environments. Agric Syst 171:143—154

Goddek S, Vermeulen T (2018) Comparison of Lactuca sativa growth performance in conventional and RAS-based hydroponic systems. Aquac Int 26:1—10.

Goddek S, Delaide B, Mankasingh U, Vala Ragnarsdottir K, Jijakli H, Thorarinsdottir R (2015) Challenges of sustainable and commercial aquaponics. Sustainability 7(4):4199—4224

Goddek S, Espinal CA, Delaide B, Jikali MH, Schmautz Z, Wuertz S, Keesman J (2016) Navigating towards decoupled aquaponic systems: a system dynamics design approach. Water 8(7):303. 1—29

Gooley GJ, Gavine FM (2003) Integrated agri-aquaculture systems: a resource handbook for Australian industry development. RIRDC Publication No. 03/012

Goto E, Both AJ, Albright LD, Langhans RW, Leed AR (1996) Effect of dissolved oxygen concentration on lettuce growth in floating hydroponics. Proceedings of the International Symposium in Plant Production in Closed Systems. Acta Hortic 440:205—210

Graber A, Junge R (2009) Aquaponic systems: nutrient recycling from fish wastewater by vegetable production. Desalination 246:147—156

Hallam M (2017) EC. Murray Hallam's practical aquaponics.

Halwart M, Gupta MV (eds) (2004) Culture of fish in rice fields. FAO and The WorldFish Center, Penang

Kalantari F, Tahir OM, Lahijani AM, Kalantari S (2017) A review of vertical farming technology: a guide for implementation. Adv Eng Forum 24:76—91

Karimanzira D, Keesman KJ, Kloas W, Baganz D, Raushenbach T (2016) Dynamic modelling of the INAPRO aquaponic system. Aquac Eng 75:29—45

Kloas W, Groß R, Baganz D, Graupner J, Monsees H, Schmidt U, Staaks G, Suhl J, Tschirner M, Wittstock B, Wuertz S, Zikova A, Rennert B (2015) A new concept for aquaponic systems to improve sustainability, increase productivity, and reduce environmental impacts. Aquac Environ Interact 7:179—192.

Knaus U, Palm HW (2017) Effects of the fish species choice on vegetables in aquaponics under spring-summer conditions in northern Germany (Mecklenburg Western Pomerania). Aquaculture 473:62—73

Komives T, Junge R (2015) Editorial: on the "aquaponic corner" section of the journal. Ecocycles 1 (2):1—2

Lennard WA (2005) Aquaponic integration of Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii) aquaculture and lettuce (Lactuca sativa) hydroponics. Thesis (Ph.D.). RMIT University, 2005

Lennard W (2017) Commercial aquaponic systems: integrating recirculating fish culture with hydroponic plant production. In press

Lennard WA, Leonard BV (2006) A comparison of three different hydroponic sub-systems (gravel bed, floating and nutrient film technique) in an aquaponic test system. Aquac Int 14:539—550

Love DC, Fry JP, Genello G, Hill ES, Frederick JA, Li X, Semmens K (2014) An international survey of aquaponics practitioners. PLoS One 9(7):E102662

Love DC, Fry JP, Li X, Hill ES, Genello L, Semmens K, Thompson RE (2015a) Commercial aquaponics production and profitability: findings from an international survey. Aquaculture 435:67—74

Love DC, Uhl MS, Genello L (2015b) Energy and water use of a small-scale raft aquaponics system in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Aquac Eng 68:19—27

Masser MP, Rakocy J, Losordo TM (1992) Recirculating aquaculture tank production systems. SRAC Publication No. 452. Southern Regional Aquaculture Center. USA

McMurtry M (1990) Performance of an integrated aquaculture-olericulture system as influenced by component ratio. PhD. dissertation, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Monsees H, Kloas W, Wuertz S (2016) Comparison of coupled and decoupled aquaponics Implications for future system design. Abstract from aquaculture Europe, 2016. Edinburgh, Scotland

Morehart CT (2016) Chinampa agriculture, surplus production and political change at Xaltocan, Mexico. Anc Mesoam 27(1):183—196

Nichols MA, Lennard W (2010) Aquaponics in New Zealand. Practical Hydroponics and Greenhouses, 115: 46—51

Palm HW et al (2018) Towards commercial aquaponics: a review of systems, designs, scales and nomenclature. Aquac Int 26(3):813—842

Pantanella E, Cardarelli M, Colla G, Rea A, Marcucci A (2010) Aquaponic vs hydroponic: production and quality of lettuce crop. Acta Hortic 927:887—893

Priva (2009) Eindrapport project EcoFutura, visteelt in de glastuinbouw. Priva B.V., Aqua-Terra Nova B.V., Green Q Group B.V., Groen Agro Control.

Rakocy JE (1989) Vegetable hydroponics and fish culture, a productive interface. World Aquacult 20:42—47

Rakocy JE, Hargreaves JA (1993) Integration of vegetable hydroponics with fish culture: a review. In: Wang J (ed) Techniques for modern aquaculture. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St Joseph

Rakocy JE, Bailey DS, Shultz RC, Thoman ES (2004a) Update on Tilapia and vegetable production in the UVI aquaponic system. In: New Dimensions on Farmed Tilapia: Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium on Tilapia in Aquaculture, Manila, pp 676—690

Rakocy JE, Shultz RC, Bailey DS, Thoman ES (2004b) Aquaponic integration of Tilapia and Basil: Comparing a batch and staggered cropping system. Acta Hortic 648:63—69

Rakocy JE, Masser MP, Losordo TM (2006) Recirculating aquaculture tank production systems: aquaponics — integrating fish and plant culture. SRAC Publication No. 454. Southern Regional Aquaculture Center. USA

Rakocy JE, Bailey DS, Shultz RC, Danaher JJ (2011) A commercial scale aquaponic system developed at the University of the Virgin Islands. Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Tilapia in Aquaculture

Resh HM (2013) Hydroponic food production, 7th edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton

Reyes Lastiri D, Slinkert T, Cappon HJ, Baganz D, Staaks G, Keesman KJ (2016) Model of an aquaponic system for minimised water, energy and nitrogen requirements. Water Sci Technol 74:1.

Roosta HR (2014) Effects of foliar spray of K on mint, radish, parsley and coriander plants in aquaponic system. J Plant Nutr 37(14):2236—2254

Roosta HR, Hamidpour M (2011) Effects of foliar application of some macro- and micro-nutrients on tomato plants in aquaponic and hydroponic systems. Sci Hortic 129:396—402

Roosta HR, Hamidpour M (2013) Mineral nutrient content of tomato plants in aquaponic and hydroponic systems: Effect of foliar application of some macro-and micro-nutrients. J Plant Nutr 36(13):2070—2083

Savidov N (2005) Comparative study of aquaponically and hydroponically grown plants in model system. In: Evaluation and development of aquaponics production and product market capabilities in Alberta. Chapter 3.2., Phase II, pp 21—31

Somerville C, Cohen M, Pantanella E, Stankus A, Lovatelli A (2014) Small-scale aquaponic food production: integrated fish and plant farming. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 589

Srivastava JK, Chandra H, Kalra SJ, Mishra P, Khan H, Yadav P (2017) Plant—microbe interaction in aquatic system and their role in the management of water quality: a review. Appl Water Sci 7:1079—1090

Suhl J, Dannehl D, Kloas W, Baganz D, Jobs S, Schiebe G, Schmidt U (2016) Advanced Aquaponics: evaluation of intensive tomato production in aquaponics vs conventional hydroponics. Agric Water Manag 178:335—344

Timmons MB, Ebeling JM, Wheaton FW, Summerfelt ST, Vinci BJ (2002) Recirculating aquaculture systems, 2nd edn. Cayuga Aqua Ventures, Ithaca

Tyson RV, Simonne EH, Treadwell DD, Davis M, White JM (2008) Effect of water pH on yield and nutritional status of greenhouse cucumber grown in recirculating hydroponics. J Plant Nutr 31 (11):2018—2030

Tyson RV, Treadwell DD, Simonne EH (2011) Opportunities and challenges to sustainability in aquaponic systems. Hort Technol 21(1):6—13

Van Os E (1999) Design of sustainable hydroponic systems in relation to environment-friendly disinfection methods. Acta Hortic 548:197—205

Vimal SR, Singh JS, Arora NK, Singh S (2017) Soil-plant-microbe interactions in stressed agriculture management: a review. Pedosphere 27(2):177—192

Wongkiew S, Zhen H, Chandran K, Woo Lee J, Khanal SK (2017) Nitrogen transformations in aquaponic systems: a review. Aquac Eng 76:9—19

Yogev U, Barnes A, Gross A (2016) Nutrients and energy balance analysis for a conceptual model of a three loops off grid, aquaponics. Water 8:589.

Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

Aquaponics Food Production Systems


Stay up-to-date on the latest Aquaponic Tech


  • Our Team
  • Community
  • Press
  • Blog
  • Referral Program
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Service

Copyright © 2019 Aquaponics AI. All rights reserved.