What is Aquaponics?  It is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, two systems that are not new, but share a common problem and concern, TOXIC WATER BUILDUP!! In aquaculture, it is the fish emulsion, with hydroponics, it is the fertilizer water. This toxic water is not good for the fish or the plants.  This water must be cleaned from time to time and it cannot be dumped any place in our environment without causing damage.

We at Hanalei Nursery have developed a system over five years ago using both aquaculture and hydroponics. Our thought is that both systems compliment each other as a single unit, not as separate units. We pump the fish water to a greenhouse, which is evenly distributed. The fish water feeds the plants, such as  lettuce and tomato's, then filters through a porous material (volcanic cinders in Hawaii) and returns to the fish tank by gravity. Both systems are in a controlled environment, meaning light and temperature are controlled. The primary crop is the vegetable and the fish are secondary, meaning commercially. there is more money and turn around with the vegetables.

The aquaculture is suitable for ornamental fish, prawns, tilapia, catfish bass and escargot snails. We also grow the Hawaiian taro plant in cement pots that are placed in with the fish. Watercress can also be used. What is amazing, is the water stays Ph balanced and the water remains crystal clear.

The water is basically recycled, with a small amount of water added weekly for evaporation. This is a balanced, self-contained eco system that works!!  Solar powers the water pump and no chemical are added what so ever,  it is totally organic. Chameleons control any insects that might get into the house. Earthworms are raised to feed the fish and the earthworm compost is used in the garden or planter box gardens.

Our vision is to put one up in space and help third world countries and China feed their people. Prime aquaculture land is not necessary and our prototype was designed to fit on roof tops in cities and in the back yard of homes. We have future plans for a salt water system, but that will be another story.

The Book of Bromeliads & Hawaiian Tropical Flowers

 Hanalei Nursery                       Price list

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(RW Parkhurst  (C) 2002)