Aquaponics Recirculation System: A Sustainable Food Source for the Future Water Conserves and Resources
The current and escalating extent of soil degradation, water scarcity and environmental concern plaguing agricultural productivity, demands re-assessing the direction of food production. Aquaponics is a concept relatively new to modern food production methods and can contribute to food security. This study was conducted to establish sustainable aquaculture systems that maximize benefits and minimize the accumulation of detrimental compounds and other types of negative impacts on both natural and social environments. This study carried out at an average inflow rate of 1.28 m/day to evaluate the operation of the aquaponics recirculation system (ARS) on nutrients removal and growth and yield of African catfish as well as water spinach. A special design of ARS was used to provide nitrification of fishery wastewater, where the combination of sands and gravels in hydroponics trough, providing both surfaces for biofuel development and cultivation area for plants. Removal efficiencies of 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), total suspended solids (TSS), total ammonia nitrogen (TAN), nitrite-nitrogen (NO2-N), nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N), and orthophosphate (PO43-) were 82%, 89%, 93%, 94%, 81%, and 80%, respectively. The feed conversion ratio (FCR) and specific growth rate (SGR) of African catfish were 1.08 and 3.34% day-1, respectively. The average water spinach production was 3.56 kg per m2. This study showed that ARS is a method of producing crop along with a healthy protein source and among the best alternatives for achieving economic and environmental sustainability.
Keywords: African catfish; aquaponics recirculation system; food security; hydroponics; water spinach
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