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Development of aquaponic systems resulted from the need to reduce costs associated with high-nutrient effluent discharged from recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). Known for intensive aquaculture, RAS can produce large quantities of fish in a small volume of water. Some water is discharged and replaced in the system over time, as solid waste and toxic nitrogen by-products (ammonia (NH~3~-N), nitrite (NO~2~-N), and nitrate (NO~3~-N)) build up. Concentrated discharge from intensive aquaculture is a barrier to positive consumer perception of aquaculture. However, these accumulated nutrients can be similar in composition and concentration to hydroponic nutrient solutions and often exist in the form preferred by plants (Rackocy et al. 2006). Combining these two production technologies provides an efficient and sustainable method of growing fish and produce.
Source: Janelle Hager, Leigh Ann Bright, Josh Dusci, James Tidwell. 2021. Kentucky State University. Aquaponics Production Manual: A Practical Handbook for Growers.