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  • Practical experiences of a designing and operating a pilot aquaponic system

    Aquaponics is the combination of fish farming (aquaculture) and the soilless cultivation of plants (hydroponics). The aquaponics system is an artificial, recirculating ecosystem, in which bacterial processes convert the waste materials in the water used for fish rearing into plant nutrients, and therefore with the generated heat it is suitable for culturing economically valuable plants, and thus it mitigates the nutrient laden and quantity of the intensive fish producing systems’ effluent water.

    The primary goal of our 12 separate unit’s aquaponics system was to gain experience. We would like to find the right plant species, which are fit for that medium, and their crop can be sold. Besides the plants, our attention focused on the fish. Two fish species were included in the experiments, the common carp and barramundi. It was difficult to create them a perfect living space, besides a constantly changing conditions temperature. Apart the above mentioned we had a problem with the number of individuals per tank, the deformity of the fish body and the too high volume of pH (we registered continuous values above 8.4). We get by carps 4.7 grams of weight gain during 15 weeks, because of the bad conditions.

    The main problems at the plants are caused by aphesis and protection against sunburn. Even so we have got the multiples of field yields for each plant species. At salad has grown twice of field yields, tomatoes one and half, kohlrabi than 3.5 times more. The causes of multiple yields are the continuous balanced water and the nutrient uptake of plants. Each plant species fit for cultivating in aquaponics and their crops are delicious, chemical -free, safe and marketable. The plants should be more concentrated. After the experiment, it has been determinated that the carp is suitable for aquaponics, but greater weight gain could be achieved with optimal selection of size of rearing units.

  • The effect of dissolved oxygen on common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and basil (Ocimum basilicum) in the aquaponics system

    Aquaponics is an integrated system that combines fish farming (aquaculture) and hydroponic plant production. The objective of this study was to examine how the level of dissolved oxygen with or without an air pump affects water quality, fish output and plant growth parameters for common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and basil (Ocimum basilicum).

    Ebb – and flood aquaponics systems (with automatic syphon) was used. Two treatments were set in this experiment, one of which was the aquaponics system without air pump (unit I), where water of the plant bed was pumped two directions, one falling back to the fish tank oxygenating the water the other was pumped to the hydroponics unit. The other system (unit II) was designed with an air pump.

    In the course of the study, water quality parameters, such as oxygen saturation, dissolved oxygen (DO), electrical conductivity (EC) and nitrite were significantly different (p<0.05). Total basil biomass was higher in unit II. (5367.41 g). The final biomass of common carp were
    2829.45 g ± 79.24 and 2980.6 g ± 64.13 g in unit I and unit II respectively. Weight gain (WG) and specific growth rate (SGR) showed no significant differences (p>0.05) between the treatments. 

  • Comparison of the technological background of aquaponic systems

    Aquaponics is the combined culture of fish and plants in recirculating aquaculture systems, an ecologically sustainable horticultural production technique with long traditions.

    The objective of this study is to compare flood-and- drain, and the water crossflow system and examine the differences in the water quality, fish yield and plant growth parameters for Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and basil (Ocimum basilicum). During the study, water quality parameters of two treatments were compared in temperatures, pH, EC and NON were significantly different (p <0.05). Leaf area of the basil plants grew to an average of 20.37 cm2 (± 9.02 cm2). The plants’ biomass production was significantly different (p< 0.05) in the two systems. The biomass production showed lower yield, 458.22 g (± 214.59 g) in the constant flow system that in the flood- and- drain system 692.9 g (± 175.82 g). Fish Growth parameters were better in constant flow system (FCR 5.48 g/g ± 0.19). However, the specific growth rate (SGR) demonstrated that fish grew faster in flood- and- drain system 1.38 %/day (± 0.29).

  • Preliminary results of the combined production of duckweed Spirodela polyrhiza and common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in an aquaponic system

    As a result of population growth, increasin amount of food is needed, and agriculture is under an increasing burden to meet these needs. Traditional agriculture is often attacked due to its environmental impact. We must find alternative, environmentally friendly ways to produce more food. Aquaponics is a closed system in which we can produce both fish and plants at the same time. Duckweed species are small, aquatic, floating plants belonging to angiosperms. It can potentially be an alternative protein source, due to its high protein content, good amino acid supply, and rapid growth. Under suitable conditions, it doubles its weight in 2–4 days, and can reach a yield of 30 t ha-1 year-1in dry matter. It forms a carpet on top of the water and can be found in slow-moving or still waters. Since they are resistant to a wide range of nutrient concentrations, they are also suitable for cleaning wastewater (such as eutrophicated lakes, sewage reservoirs, liquid manure storage). Fish feed is the primary nutrient source for aquaponic systems, which usually contains fishmeal. If duckweed can be used as an alternative for fishmeal in the feed, it could improve the sustainability of the aquaponic and aquaculture systems. In this study, the aim was to develop an optimal harvesting protocol for duckweed Spirodela polyrhiza under aquaponic conditions. In a four weeks experiments, four harvesting protocols were set up, a control where only biomass measurements were made, a 25% group where 25% of the biomass at the time of measurement was harvested, and a 50% and a 75% group where at the time of measurement 50% and 75% of the biomass was harvested. Three replicates were used per treatment. We weighed the biomass every week and removed the amount corresponding to the group. Based on the preliminary results, it can be said that more biomass was obtained in the groups with the 25% harvesting protocol and the control group.

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) harvest and plant replacement methods in aquaponia

    The aim of the study is to investigate the potential of basil leaf mass production under aquaponic conditions with different harvest and plant replacement methods. Aquaponics is a combination of soil-less crop production hydroponics and aquaculture and it is can use and clean the wastewater of intensive aquaculture systems. Three groups were established in the 6 units during the six-week harvest and seedling rotation cycles. Group 1 individuals remain in the units throughout the breeding season. Group 2 individuals were replaced every 12 weeks, while Group 3 individuals were replaced every six weeks, at the same time as harvest. Data from the experiment were analysed to determine how the harvest and replacement protocol of basil plants influences the amount of leaves harvested, the percentage of leaves harvested relative to the plant stem, and the changes in plant height, SPAD and NDVI during harvest and replacement. A continuously maintained and harvested healthy basil stock under aquaponic conditions can provide a consistent leaf mass all year round without the extra cost of replacing and producing seedlings.

  • Inhibition of the spread of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in aquaponics

    Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, which causes white mold, is a widespread pathogen. In 2020, a new host plant of this fungus, the watercress (Nasturtium officinale) was identified in Hungary in an aquaponic system. During the cultivation of watercress S. sclerotiorum was detected on the plant, the fungus caused a 30% yield loss. Fungicides should not be used against fungi in aquaponic systems. Non-chemical methods of integrated pest management should be used. These include biological control (resistant species, predators, pathogens, antagonist microorganisms), manipulation of physical barriers, traps, and the physical environment. In the aquaponic system, the removal of the growing medium (expanded clay aggregate pellets) solved the damage of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum 100%. By removing the expanded clay aggregate pellets, the environmental conditions became unfavorable for the development and further spread of the S. sclerotium fungus.