All life needs to be respected. All life should be allowed to enjoy as natural a life cycle as possible. This ideal condition does not work well when raising animals and water creatures for food. Feed lots for cattle, feed enclosures for chickens, and some of the tanks shown below for raising fish are to be avoided, as these unnatural enclosures lead to unhealthy critters, and this surely has a negative impact on those who consume food raised in this manner.
OASIS VILLAGES will focus on providing better, more natural living environment for animals and fish raised for food. Fresh air, sunshine, fresh water, and a rest cycle are beneficial to all living things. These criteria will be used for all food production in the OASIS VILLAGES.
Our water supply comes from the air. Our water will be involved in all aspects of growing our food, therefore it needs to be energized using natural methods. Beyond filtration and UV treatment, we will use crystals to mineralize and energize water, also vortexes as found in a mountain stream to further energize the water. We agree with the concept of AQUAPONICS as shown in the following articles, however, we intend to improve on the process by raising our fish in natural ponds with a proper amount of aquatic plants to maintain optimum health for all.
Aquaponics consists of two main parts, with the aquaculture part for raising aquatic animals and the hydroponics part for growing plants. Aquatic effluents, resulting from uneaten feed or raising animals like fish, accumulate in water due to the closed-system re circulation of most aquaculture systems. The effluent-rich water becomes toxic to the aquatic animal in high concentrations but this contains nutrients essential for plant growth. Although consisting primarily of these two parts, aquaponics systems are usually grouped into several components or subsystems responsible for the effective removal of solid wastes, for adding bases to neutralize acids, or for maintaining water oxygenation. Typical components include:
- Rearing tank: the tanks for raising and feeding the fish;
- Settling basin: a unit for catching uneaten food and detached bio-films, and for settling out fine particulates;
- Bio-filter: a place where the nitrification bacteria can grow and convert ammonia into nitrates, which are usable by the plants;
- Hydroponics subsystem: the portion of the system where plants are grown by absorbing excess nutrients from the water;
- Sump: the lowest point in the system where the water flows to and from which it is pumped back to the rearing tanks.
Depending on the sophistication and cost of the aquaponics system, the units for solids removal, bio-filtration, and/or the hydroponics subsystem may be combined into one unit or subsystem, which prevents the water from flowing directly from the aquaculture part of the system to the hydroponics part.
A Deep Water Culture hydroponics system where plants grow directly into the effluent rich water without a soil medium. Plants can be spaced closer together because the roots do not need to expand outwards to support the weight of the plant.
Plants placed into a nutrient rich water channel in a Nutrient film technique (NFT) system Plants are grown as in hydroponics systems, with their roots immersed in the nutrient-rich effluent water. This enables them to filter out the ammonia that is toxic to the aquatic animals, or its metabolites. After the water has passed through the hydroponic subsystem, it is cleaned and oxygenated, and can return to the aquaculture vessels. This cycle is continuous. Common aquaponic applications of hydroponic systems include:
- Deep-water raft aquaponics: Styrofoam rafts floating in a relatively deep aquaculture basin in troughs.
- Recirculating aquaponics: solid media such as gravel or clay beads, held in a container that is flooded with water from the aquaculture. This type of aquaponics is also known as closed-loop aquaponics.
- Reciprocating aquaponics: solid media in a container that is alternately flooded and drained utilizing different types of siphon drains. This type of aquaponics is also known as flood-and-drain aquaponics or ebb-and-flow aquaponics.
- Other systems use towers that are trickle-fed from the top, nutrient film technique channels, horizontal PVC pipes with holes for the pots, plastic barrels cut in half with gravel or rafts in them. Each approach has its own benefits.
Most green leaf vegetables grow well in the hydroponic subsystem, although most profitable are varieties of Chinese cabbage, lettuce, basil, roses, tomatoes, okra, cantaloupe and bell peppers. Other species of vegetables that grow well in an aquaponic system include beans, peas, kohlrabi, watercress, taro, radishes, strawberries, melons, onions, turnips, parsnips, sweet potato and herbs. Since plants at different growth stages require different amounts of minerals and nutrients, plant harvesting is staggered with seedlings growing at the same time as mature plants. This ensures stable nutrient content in the water because of continuous symbiotic cleansing of toxins from the water.
Freshwater fish are the most common aquatic animal raised using aquaponics, although freshwater crayfish and prawns are also sometimes used. In practice, tilapia are the most popular fish for home and commercial projects that are intended to raise edible fish, although barramundi, silver perch, eel-tailed catfish or tandanus catfish, jade perch and Murray cod are also used. For temperate climates when there isn’t ability or desire to maintain water temperature, bluegill and catfish are suitable fish species for home systems. Koi and goldfish may also be used, if the fish in the system need not be edible.