Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Aquaponic Food Production" Book Review

My copy of "Aquaponic Food Production"
     When I took my first Aquaponics course "Aquaponic Food Production: Raising fish and plants for food and profit" was chosen as to be the textbook.  It's one of the few books available on aquaponic food production, and it's a pretty well rounded book.
     The book explains what aquaponics is and how it works in wording that is very easy to understand, even if you have no background in aquaponics.  There is even a chapter on the history of aquaponics, which I like since I'm a big fan of learning about history.  The types of systems most often used and the components used to build these systems are discussed to give the reader a better understanding of how the systems function.  Chapters on plant and fish selection help the reader choose what crop and what species of fish they'd like to grow in their system based on their needs.  There's even a pretty good chapter with information on starting an aquaponic business.
     There were some issues I had with the book.  When explaining raft bed systems it's mentioned that there are set ratios for raft to fish tank volume that are very important to follow.  This information is then never mentioned, in any way.  The stocking rate of fish to water volume or fish to plants is never mentioned, either.  And, oddly enough, the only time rates for feeding fish are mentioned is in the chapter on the different systems, not in the chapter on fish feeds and feeding.  In my mind this is information that should be easy to find and made very clear.  I can't help but wonder if the information was purposely left out.  How could you forget state a ratio that you just mentioned was extremely important?  And pest control was not adequately discussed, in my opinion.  There is a bit of information on pests, but not much on what to use to deal with them.  Since there are a lot of pest control products that can't be used in aquaponics (many inorganic products will kill the fish) pest control options should have been discussed in more depth.  If it weren't for the lack of this group of information I'd say that this book would be a fantastic choice for an all-in-one manual for aquaponics.  Luckily, the information that was left out is readily available on the Internet.  If you're reading this post, then you can surely find that information.
     All in all, I would recommend this book to newcomers and more experienced aquaponic enthusiasts alike.  It's got a lot of great information and I've gone back to it several times to get answers to some of my questions.  But, don't expect it to be the only book you'll need to get going in aquaponics.  Coupled with the Internet this book will help you out a lot, though.

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