The Chinese, Inkas and other ancient cultures have, for thousands of years, used the system of aquaponics as an efficient food production method.
In the 70s, Dr James Rakocy and his colleagues at the University of the Virgin Islands did research using plants as natural filtration system within the fish farm system. The team developed deep water hydroponic grow beds within a large-scale aquaponic system by 1997.
An off-shoot of this system led to bio swimming ponds where plants filter natural pools for swimming.
In the 1980’s, Mark McMurtry and Doug Sanders successfully designed the first closed loop aquaponic system, in which water from fish tanks irrigated cucumbers and tomatoes and returned, minus the nitrate, to the fish ponds.
We have 4 banks with 3 beds in each producing 32 lettuces per bed in 28 days. That’s 384 lettuces a month in peak conditions. We don’t produce this except in Spring when green produce is low. We mix the crops in the beds to add diversity to our food production.