Aztecs and Aquaponics

Modern cultivation looks for answers from the Aztecs.

Aquaponics, a self-sustaining water system, grows crops and raises fish. The Aztecs created this cultivation process around 1000 AD.

Aztecs performed the process using floating rafts in canals and lakes, called “chinampas”.

How does old Aztec farming effect the modern world? Believe it or not, this could be the future of agriculture.

Aquaponics grows crops without dirt and less water; the cool trick, the fish grow in the water used to feed the plants!

Crops need three things to grow, and dirt isn’t one. Plants obviously need sun for photosynthesis, to grow. The second being nutrients, plants can’t make food from nothing. The third being water, water equals life!

Aquaponics utilizes plants’ three needs more efficiently than regular farming, other than sunlight.

As previously mentioned, plants don’t need dirt, just the nutrients found in it. Aquaponics uses nutrient rich water; the enriched water comes from waste produced by the fish growing within the system.

Red worms and bacteria (in another tank) break down these byproducts into usable nutrients for plants. Once the plants take all the nutrients, the water circulates back to the fish. The plants filter the water as they extract nutrients, providing clean water for the fish.

Picture from: The Aquaponic Source

Since aquaponics evades harsh fertilizers and acres of land, the environment can be more at ease.

Traditional farming wastes more water; water can’t be reused because of soil absorption. Versus aquaponics, which recycles the water, moving from the plants to the fish tank, then pumped back for plant use.  Ultimately reducing water waste.

Over longer periods of time (which can be shorter in hotter/dryer climates) water  loss occurs through evaporation and transpiration (water leaving through plants’ pores). Although water will need to be added, its efficiency still stands greater than conventual farming.

Aquaponics becomes a self-sustaining ecosystem with the fish, plants and bacteria depending upon one another to survive. This satisfies mans’ needs while helping the environment.

It just goes to show, maybe looking toward the past isn’t such a bad idea.


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