Fish and plants at aquaponic farm on Long Island

- Inside an 8,000-gallon tank are about 300 koi and goldfish. Patrick Durkin, owner of Fruit of Life Aquaponics in Manorville, Long Island, grows plants and fish together. He says hydroponics and aquaculture complement each other. The nutrient-rich waste from the fish provides an organic food source for the plants through a closed loop, soilless system. In turn, the plants filter the water for the fish.

Durkin says the fish waste is broken down in a biological screener and available for the plants to uptake through the roots.

Durkin is able to grow produce using 90 percent less water, faster and bigger. He is experimenting with lettuce, basil and wasabi.

The entire wasabi plant is edible. The leaves can be used in salad or tempura dishes but the wasabi served with sushi actually comes from grinding the plant roots. It takes two years to grow.

Durkin says wasabi is well-tailored for an aquaponic setting because in Japan it grows in the mountain sides and aquaponic duplicates mountain stream water.

With precision and patience it can be a profitable business.
 

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