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What are the Different Types of Aquaculture Farms?

Diane Goettel
Updated Feb 25, 2024
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There are a number of types of aquaculture farms that raise various kinds of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. There are also aquaculture farms that raise aquatic plants, such as seaweed. In many cases, these plants and animals are intended for human consumption, but there are a few exceptions. For instance, some aquaculture farms raise fish that are intended for use in aquariums. These kinds of fish are often referred to as ornamental fish.

Some of the most common aquaculture farms are fish farms, oyster farms, and shrimp farms. Farms of this sort may use a number of methods to raise their stock. In some cases, most of the operations happen in tanks and facilities that are on land. Others make use of facilities that are along a shoreline. In these cases, the stock is grown in a natural marine environment that is enclosed or somehow regulated by the fishery.

Farms that use natural marine environments to raise their stock instead of relying entirely on land-based operations are practicing what is referred to as mariculture. The practice falls under the umbrella of aquaculture. The products that are harvested in these kinds of farms are often produced for the same purposes and sold to the same markets as the products of land-based farms.

When farms grow aquatic plants they are participating in a process that is referred to as algaculture, which, like mariculture, falls under the umbrella of aquaculture. There are various uses for the products that are grown in algaculture farms. Algae that is grown on these kinds of farms has both commercial and industrial uses. It can be used for a variety of products, ranging from food to bioplastics.

Aquaponic farms are aquaculture farms that integrate the cultivation of plants and fish or shellfish. These sorts of farms use a cyclical system in which plants and aquatic animals rely on a symbiotic relationship. The waste that is produced by a certain kind of fish, for example, may be filtered out of the water by a certain kind of plant. In addition to filtering the water and detoxifying it for the fish, the plants also rely on the waste for its nutrients. These sorts of aquaculture farms are often very efficient in their use of water.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By myharley — On May 12, 2011

@LisaLou - I am fascinated by this type of farming method. I see aquaponics as another way of recycling our resources to make for a cleaner, better environment.

It would be interesting to know if crops that are raised with this method produce a higher yield. I would think that the rich, natural nutrients would be very beneficial for the end result.

I can picture this as something that will grow and become more common across the country. It would be a fun project to try!

By LisaLou — On May 10, 2011

I had my first exposure to an aquaponic farm this weekend, and it was very interesting! Some people refer to this as freshwater fish farming because of the type of fish that are used.

The farm I visited was a small one and they were just beginning to experiment with this method. They had large mouth bass in a big barrel. The waste from the barrel was used to help with the plants nutrients.

This operation had several types of produce growing, but they are planning to concentrate on salad greens. They want to be able to provide local, organic lettuce to the community. With the price of fuel it should be a very cost effective program for them.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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