Aquaponics is the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a recirculating environment. Alternate definition: An integrated hydroponics (growing plants in water) and aquaculture (growing fish) system.
Aquatic animal effluent (for example fish waste) accumulates in water as a by-product of keeping them in a closed system or tank (for example a recirculating aquaculture system). The effluent-rich water becomes high in plant nutrients but this is correspondingly toxic to the aquatic animal.
Plants are grown in a way (for example a hydroponic system) that enables them to utilize the nutrient-rich water. The plants uptake the nutrients, reducing or eliminating the water’s toxicity for the aquatic animal.