$1 MILLION (Prize amount to be confirmed. Announcement expected for next year)
Aquaponics refers to a food production system that couples aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish, snails or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) whereby the nutrient rich aquaculture water is fed to hydroponic grown plant, involving nitrifying bacteria for converting ammonia into nitrates.
As existing hydroponic and aquaculture farming techniques form the basis for all aquaponic systems, the size, complexity, and types of foods grown in an aquaponic system can vary as much as any system found in either distinct farming discipline.
• Aquaponics consists of two main parts, with the aquaculture part for raising aquatic animals and the hydroponics part for growing plants. Typical components include: Rearing tank: the tanks for raising and feeding the fish;
• Settling basin: a unit for catching uneaten food and detached biofilms, and for settling out fine particulates;
• Biofilter: a place where the nitrification bacteria can grow and convert ammonia into nitrates, which are usable by the plants;
• Hydroponics subsystem: the portion of the system where plants are grown by absorbing excess nutrients from the water.
Several aquaponics gardens have been growing all across the globe as a new technique to produce food, both animal and vegetable in limited spaces while research is also under study.