There's not a lot of information about aquaponics out there and I've noticed that in order to gain a lot of attention, the information shelled out can be over exaggerated or embellished. Before I talk about what aquaponics ISN'T I'd like to say first what it IS.
Aquaponics is, at its core, an agricultural method. This method isn't an exemption pass to all the forethought of garden design. It does however mitigate a large percentage of labor and resources involved in agriculture. It uses far less water, requires much less additions of nutrients, allows you to virtually ignore soil related work and problems all while growing the plants at higher densities and grow rates. Nature constantly reminds us that there is no free lunch; everything has a price. This is certainly true with aquaponics as you are responsible for the wellbeing and growth of fish. Fortunately for the farmer, fish aren't exceptionally hard to take care of as long as you keep their tank and water comfortably clean so the tradeoff between the benefits and additional work isn't a tough call to make for many.
What aquaponics ISN'T is a fool-proof, so-easy-your-dog-can-do-it technology that basically grows your vegetables and fruit for you. While a well kept and properly established aquaponic system can certainly give that illusion, the road to that goal is one of learning, adapting, and most importantly observation. You still have to use integrated pest management; that is to say think about your systems surroundings and consider temperature, light, humidity, and other factors that may affect your fish or plants. Include plants that attract beneficial insects and group together synergistic plants like legumes and veggies of many varieties to lessen the chance that one disease decimates your entire garden. These caveats may be off putting to those who want the benefits of a garden without the work, but the labour itself can have you reap other rewards. It teaches observation and the effectiveness of giving direction your efforts. It teaches patience and commitment to a goal that may take months to achieve (especially in the case of fruits). It teaches you the incredibly invaluable lesson of how to fail. While I by no means wish to dishearten, as a small aquaponic system can realistically be maintained with a maximum of 20 minutes a day, there will be moments of failure that are opportunities to grow and instrumental to learning.
The most important and final caution I want to impart is that aquaponics is extremely addictive! Once you start making progress and see how powerful your effort can be, you'll never want to stop. So, for those wanting to give aquaponics a shot I say to you: there is no time like the present. If you encounter problems or need guidance we'd be happy to be a helpful friend along the way.
Cheers and Good Growing