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The potential for combining living wall and vertical farming systems with aquaponics with special emphasis on substrates

Khandaker, Mohammed, Kotzen, Benz
Aquaculture research 2018 v.49 no.4 pp. 1454-1468
aquaponics, coconuts, fish, food production, horticulture, hydroponics, recirculating aquaculture systems, synthetic fibers, tanks, vegetables, vertical farming
Aquaponics is a method of food production, growing fish and vegetables in a recirculating aquaculture system. Aquaponics uses the water from the fish to feed the plants in a totally natural way and like hydroponics, aquaponics is considered to be more sustainable as more plants can be grown per square metre compared to normal agriculture. However, as is the case with normal agriculture, in aquaponics plants are grown within horizontally. In aquaponics, using the UVI system, the ratio between fish tanks:filters:plant tanks is 2:1:5 which means that the plant tanks are occupying close to half of the production space. In order to reduce the spatial requirement for plants, which would make production even more sustainable, this research investigates aspects of combining living wall and vertical farming technologies in aquaponics. It is considered that by growing the plants vertically less space would be required. In this research living wall system is investigated but the main focus is on the potentials of using various inert substrates in the living wall systems for vertical aquaponics. The results showed that a pot system performs better in terms of management of the systems. With regard to substrates, horticultural grade coconut fibre and horticultural grade mineral wool outperformed other substrates.