I’ve been pondering the question of why people engage in aquaponics and, notwithstanding all of the tangible benefits of the method, I believe that, for most people, it comes down to three things.
1. The bragging rights associated with being able to grow fish. If you can grow fish, you can do something that a lot of people can’t do…and that allows you to stand out from the crowd. And that, it seems, is very important to many people.
2. Most people are not good gardeners but, aquaponics allows people who are not good gardeners to grow plants – even if to a limited extent. The major critical success factor associated with gardening is the timely delivery of water and nutrients to the plants – and aquaponics (and hydroponics) provide this.
Note that I didn’t say anything about doing either thing – fish or plants – well. Most of the people who believe that the basic flood and drain system is OK, fall squarely into this framework. And that brings me to the third reason.
3. The mistaken belief that aquaponics is easy.
Aquaponics is only easy if you subscribe to the false belief that basic flood and drain systems are adequate places to raise fish.
If you want to grow plants quickly and easily – and with relatively few hiccups – go for hydroponics. A nice little well-designed hydro system is the closest you’ll get to a perpetual motion plant production machine.
Hydroponics is far easier to build, much cheaper, far more predictable, easier to operate and, with a little knowledge, far more productive than the average backyard aquaponics system.