What is an Aquatic Eco System

What is an Aquatic Eco System?

The word AQUA means WATER.

So the words Aquatic, Aquaculture and Aquaponics all refer to “water”.

All 3 words apply to marine which can be salt-water or fresh-water.

An Eco System is a group of organisms that exist dependent ON each other.

An Aquatic Eco System is therefore a group of organisms that exist dependent ON each other but exist in a water based environment (which maybe salty or fresh water based).

An Aquatic Eco System is a balanced Eco System when the cycle of life of these organisms exist to maintain a continual balance despite the fact that organism B will interact with and maybe does devour (eat-up) organism A to produce organism C which in turns helps to interact with another part of the Eco System to produce or grow yet another which then grows and produces a replenishment of the original devoured organism A.  As such because this a replenish phase the System never depletes (removes entirely) any one original factor which is part of the overall balance of the Eco System.

Different organisms exist in different types of Eco systems and therefore a wide variety of organism species exist from deep salty water to shallow salty water – from close to shore to far off-shore – and this applies throughout the various levels of saltiness right through to freshwater.

When you think of an Eco System – think of the word BALANCE.

When nature is in balance – all is well and life in all its various aspect thrive.  Think of the importance to the world and the various animals and organisms that live in and around pools, ponds, creeks, rivers, estuaries, lagoons, mangrove swamps, salt marshes, coal reefs, as well as the oceans.

Pollution, climate change and issues such as overfishing can be factors in upsetting that delicate balance of an Eco System which once upset can take a significant period of time to restore or alternatively if so badly upset might never be restored.  In other words that whole area will become full of disease in some form or another.

Important Environmental Functions

Aquatic Eco Systems play a very important role in the World.  Consider if you will just how much water there is on the surface of the Earth and then remember that there are many undergrounds caves, water-tables and streams.

All these “aqua” resources play an important role because in their own various ways they recycle the water and nutrients in such a way as to purify them ready for the next cycle followed by the next.

Any form of pollution will place a stress factor of that delicate balance we referred to earlier, and so its ability to recover will depend on the level and form of pollution.  Even the creation of a dam will have serious effects on downstream eco systems so it is not just toxins but water flow restrictions and temperature that we need to be aware of.

Of considerable importance is the pH level (acid or alkaline level) and the amount of dissolved oxygen in local waters.  These factors can hold the “key” too many aspects of what can survive and thrive as far as organisms, fish and plants are concerned.

Fish for example need dissolved oxygen in order to survive, yet some species can tolerate a low oxygen level whilst some fish have to come to the surface from time to time to gulp air.

Plants may react by changing the size and shape of their leaves in order to survive.

Some bacteria may find the pH or oxygen levels to be fatal and consequently they die.

Nutrient also play a very important role for they are responsible for the control of algae and are an important source of food for plant life and their level are particularly influence by the pH level.

The importance of pH

Now the pH factor (level) is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution (of the site usually held and captured in a test tube or cup, jar, jug etc). When a substance (includes plants, nutrients, bacteria, pollution factors etc) is dissolved (or even suspended) into a solution charged molecules called ions are produced.

Acidic solutions (our water samples) have excess hydrogen ions compared to NEUTRAL water which is known to comprise double the number of oxygen ions as described in the formulae H2O. Even slight changes of pH will substantially determine how organisms will adapt, evolve or die.

The pH is a number that is between 1 and 14 – wherein 0 is most acidic and 14 is most alkaline.

Neutral pH (that is in the middle of Acidic and Alkaline) is regarded as 7.0

The saliva of a normal healthy person with no ionic calcium deficiency is usually in the 7.1 to 7.5 pH

So the level of pH of these waters effectively control what is or is not supported in their local areas as many are intolerant of salty waters.


Finally, we should look at the issue of mankind’s use of irrigation.  As far back as records show, humans have realized the value of water in growing produce and fish. Chinese farmers (from centuries back to these current times) would flood their rice paddy fields to aid in the growth of their rice crops, however, they added a “secret ingredient” that was so clever. Their secret was to breed fish and place these fish in their paddy field also.

As these fish ate and swam they deposited their excreta into the waters and this provided the nutrients needed as a fertilizer to enhance the growth of their rice crops.  Eventually they would catch and eat the fish (which would grow very quickly).  Now we have the beginning of the Aquaponic Eco System and the Aquaponic Organic Foods systems.

We should just add – in recent times (last 100 years) farmers have been adding more and more fertilizers to enhance the growth of their crops and whilst this has resulted in some additional yields does come at a price because these fertilizers have found their way into water sources (rivers, water-table etc) and created their own forms of pollution with significant damaging results of local eco systems.


Now for the fun part – when you review what happens so cleverly and automatically in Nature – we reproduce a similar series of events when we have a successful Aquaponic Eco System.

Elsewhere (on this site) you will read just how important it is to create the right sort of Ph balance with sufficient nutrients in your water system (which this site also details how to make including grow boxes) BEFORE adding any plant life. This requirement is to ensure your added plants etc do not die because the fish deposit their regular donations of “poop” into the water which is then broken down by bacteria into the needed nutrients and thus the Eco System commences.

The plants absorb these nutrients as is more fully explained elsewhere on this site and thus the continual life cycle of the Aquaponic Eco System is perpetuated with you as the lucky beneficiary of healthy vegetables (non-chemical pesticides) and eatable fish as you side benefits for a little daily work (explained elsewhere on this site).

The enhanced healthy life style for you and your family will obviously be determined by the size of your Aquaponic Eco System – from indoor tanks to outdoors systems right through to full commercial systems.

Best of all – no matter what the size Eco System you chose – you will have a lot of fun with Aquaponics and realize that living naturally is more conducive to a happy lifestyle.