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Aquaponics

Aquaponics Taste Test


This blog has been quite interested in the ways that freshwater tropical fish can promote the growth of various vegetables in the rapidly evolving aquaponic area.  It is one thing to be able to grow fresh produce for market on an industrial level. Since the fish must be kept alive to provide the wastes needed for the vegetation to thrive, it must be organic by default.  But is there any difference in an aquaponics taste test from the way the plants actually taste when grown in an aquaponic system rather than from a standard garden grown lettuce from the soil.

It seems that such a test has finally been conducted between the two systems in Hawaii. Eric Knutzen of the Kaua‘i Community College Ho‘ouluwehi did a blind taste test on a number of leafy lettuces; Red and Green Oak leaf lettuce and Red Cherokee

This is the first time a taste test involving various professionals in the culinary arts trade was conducted…

a facilitator between farms, chefs, and the various aspects of resort, would compare three different types of lettuce, each type having a sample from the garden and a sample from the aquaponics facility.

There were differences between a naturally grown lettuce and one that had been raised  organically in the aquaponics system.

Lettuce heads

Photo by photofarmer on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons license

It does make sense that there would be some noticeable differences between the two origins.  The garden soil would be expected to have quite a lot of various compounds that could be toxic to the fish if added to the water, and simply not available in the water solution.  I was somewhat surprised that the aquaponic lettuce did as well as it did.  Basically the test was a wash, the garden took one, the aquaponic took another, and the third was a tie!.

Of the three types tested, the Green Oak Leaf, a green leaf variety, finished with a score of 136 for aquaponics and 122 points for garden, the only variety where aquaponics outscored garden.

The other two types, a Red Cherokee, a green leaf tipped with red, and the Red Oak Leaf, saw scores of 123 points aquaponics and 138 points for garden for the Red Cherokee.

This clearly favored the garden-grown variety.

The third type, the Red Oak Leaf, was almost a draw, the variety collecting 120 points for aquaponics and 123 points for garden.

Hawaiian Aquaponics Taste Test a draw

Logically, the expectation of a comparison between garden grown and aquaponic raised vegetables should have the garden grown showing a clear preference over the fish fertilized.  That was not the case.  The test was basically a wash, with Garden winning one, Aquaponics winning one and a virtual tie for the third blind test.  What would be even more interesting is the addition of a third variety, hydroponics where the roots are treated much the same but the growth nutrients are opposed.  Aquaponics must, by its definition be strictly organic or the fish would die.  Since there is no need to sustain the life that feeds the system, hydroponics nutrient solutions do not have to be non-toxic.  A comparison between these two competing systems would be very interesting indeed.

Adding hydroponic grown varieties to the aquaponics taste test, along with the true garden grown varieties would go a long way to establishing the true worth of both aquaponics and hydroponics.

Looking for a quality personal system that will grow along with your needs for fresh fish and organic home grown vegetables, the link below may be of great interest.


About

Steve Pond, of Tropical Fish Aquarist, has kept fish both personally and professionally for over 50 years.  He writes regularly on the wide range of current topics that are important to people who keep tropical fish tanks as a passion and a hobby.

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About blueram

Steve Pond, of Tropical Fish Aquarist, has kept fish both personally and professionally for over 50 years.  He writes regularly on the wide range of current topics that are important to people who keep tropical fish tanks as a passion and a hobby.

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One Comment

  1. Tropical Fish Aquarist – Aquaponics Taste Test | Freshwater Tropical FishAugust 17, 2012 at 10:38 amReply

    […] thing to be able to grow fresh produce for market on an industrial level. … View post: Tropical Fish Aquarist – Aquaponics Taste Test ← The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums | aquaticpetssite.com 11 Steps for Starting […]

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