News You Can Use: Aquaponics - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

News You Can Use: Aquaponics

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Aquaponics is the combination of hydroponics and aquaculture.

In this system, everything is recirculated. The tilapia eat fish food and generate metabolites through digestion, which are pumped into the growth tray to provide nutrients for the plants.

"It uses two percent of the water of traditional agriculture because you can see water goes in and comes out but none of it goes in the ground," explains Harry Ako, a professor of molecular biosciences. "What is a toxin for a fish is a nutrient for a plant and so the fish are, actually they're happier with the plants there because the plants help clean up the water."

Through 30 years of teaching and research, Ako has developed an inexpensive yet productive aquaponics system.

"This is the little water pump it's a tiny little thing, but it works. It pumps water from here into the tray and then the excess water overflows and goes back in the fish," Ako says. "To put a system like this together takes maybe two hours."

The system is quick to put together, but you'll want to consider a couple of things. It needs electricity to run and you'll need help setting it up properly.

"It uses a 50 watt air pump, so that's half a light bulb, and it uses a 4 watt water pump so the whole thing is half of a light bulb," Ako says.

"Anyone can do it but everyone needs a little help," adds Sean Short, a student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Get online, look us up and give us a phone call and we're happy to talk story and just help you out."

Systems you find online can cost thousands of dollars, but Dr. Ako says his system costs about $400, which is economical considering the crop tastes so good, they sell at a good price. "Our best guy has one acre and he sells 15,000 heads of lettuce a month."

They grow everything from lettuce to basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, and the tilapia taste good too. In fact, top chefs have served aquaponic tilapia in their restaurants.

Contact Dr. Harry Ako at 956-2012 or email him at hako@hawaii.edu for more information.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All Rights Reserved.

  • Hawaii News Now headlinesNewsMore>>

  • The Latest: HHS says families won't be immediately reunited

    The Latest: HHS says families won't be immediately reunited

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 12:01 PM EDT2018-06-20 16:01:56 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 6:56 PM EDT2018-06-22 22:56:14 GMT
    (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File). FILE - In this Wednesday, June 13, 2018 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly session of PMQs at parliament in London. The British government is facing anoth...(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File). FILE - In this Wednesday, June 13, 2018 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly session of PMQs at parliament in London. The British government is facing anoth...
    British Prime Minister Theresa May says the United States is wrong to separate migrant children from their parents, but has rejected calls to cancel President Donald Trump's visit to Britain next month.More >>
    British Prime Minister Theresa May says the United States is wrong to separate migrant children from their parents, but has rejected calls to cancel President Donald Trump's visit to Britain next month.More >>
  • In reversal, Trump orders halt to his family separation rule

    In reversal, Trump orders halt to his family separation rule

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 11:21 AM EDT2018-06-20 15:21:21 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 6:55 PM EDT2018-06-22 22:55:45 GMT
    A boy stares out of a heavily tinted bus window leaving a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility Tuesday in McAllen, TX. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)A boy stares out of a heavily tinted bus window leaving a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility Tuesday in McAllen, TX. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Trump signs executive order to keep families together at border, says 'zero-tolerance' prosecution policy will continue.

    More >>

    Trump signs executive order to keep families together at border, says 'zero-tolerance' prosecution policy will continue.

    More >>
  • High Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

    High Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

    Thursday, June 21 2018 10:32 AM EDT2018-06-21 14:32:03 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 6:53 PM EDT2018-06-22 22:53:39 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jessica Gresko, File). FILE - This April 23, 2018, file photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington.  The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax. The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were lo...(AP Photo/Jessica Gresko, File). FILE - This April 23, 2018, file photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax. The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were lo...

    The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.

    More >>

    The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly