Just like anything worth knowing in life, there’s always something new and intriguing to learn about aquaponic farming, whether you’re a complete newbie or a seasoned veteran.
So, today, I’ve brought together 5 of the best aquaponics ‘how to do it’ suggestions to help you on your way to becoming an aquaponics expert.
1) Choose the Right Plants
Almost any sort of plant, including tropical ones like papaya and banana trees, can be cultivated in an aquaponics system. Plants that demand an acidic or basic soil condition, on the other hand, should be avoided.
Also, plants like azaleas and blueberries, which require a pH level significantly higher or lower than neutral 7.0, are not ideal to grow.
Plants can be started from seed, cuttings, or transplants, just like they would in a traditional soil garden, and water pH levels must be kept between 6.8 and 7.0 for optimal nutrient uptake.
2) Choose the Correct Fish
In an aquaponics system, the fish you breed must be carefully selected. You must be aware of your personal requirements and what you want from the fish. Your decision will be influenced by the following factors:
Are you going to eat them or put them on display? – Some fish species are better for eating, while others are better for creating nutrients for plants or for decorative purposes.
What is the regular temperature of your water? – The temperature of the water will be affected by where your aquaponics system is located, such as in an Alaskan greenhouse or outside in Australia, which will change the fish’s surroundings.
How much do you think your budget will be? Goldfish (not recommended for consumption) and Tilapia are the most cost-effective and widely available options. They are both inexpensive to purchase and to maintain.
Aquaponic fish are often easier to raise than aquatic fish as long as you follow simple criteria. Keep things as simple as possible by having only one or two fish breeds, all of which are roughly the same size.
3) Selecting A Growing Medium
The effectiveness of other components of your aquaponics system will be affected if you don’t choose the correct aquaponics grow-bed. Your grow-bed is where you grow all of your plants, which provides you with the majority of the food.
Instead of using an NFT (nutrient film technique) or a DWC (deep-water culture) technique, you should use a media-based grow bed.
This is due to a number of significant factors:
- It’s considerably easier to construct and comprehend, making it excellent for aquaponics newbies.
- It is less expensive and time-intensive to maintain.
- Allows for greater versatility because your aquaponics system can be easily modified.
- Because there is more open space, it is possible to grow a wider range of plants.
- In a process called as mineralization, the media will aid in the breakdown of solids and the cycling of water.
When selecting a grow bed, make sure the material is non-toxic and provides a safe environment for plants, germs, and worms. It must be watertight and robust enough to withstand the downward pressure exerted by the plant roots, water, and media.
4) Picking Out A Fish Tank
Your fish tank selection is equally as crucial as your grow-bed selection, and for similar reasons. You should think about the following:
Size of Fish Tank – If you have enough space, a fish tank with a capacity of 1,000 liters is advised. Because everything will work at a slower pace as the fish tank volume grows, you’ll have more room to make mistakes. This is a great place to start if you’re new to aquaponic gardening. To raise a 30cm fish, you’ll need 200 liters of water on average.
The materials in your fish tank must be non-toxic and must not alter the pH levels in any manner, just as the materials in your grow bed.
Because of its simplicity and efficiency, the optimal starting point ratio of grow bed volume to fish tank volume is 1:1. You can boost it to 2:1 as your system matures and you get more experience.
5) Water Management
Controlling the constituents of the water is critical for maintaining the happiness and health of plants and fish. Controlling the following factors is necessary:
Temperature – Different fish species prefer different temperatures. Choose fish that will thrive in the water temperature that your tank will naturally adjust to.
pH Level – Plants, fish, and bacteria thrive in a pH range of 6.8-7.0. To maintain this range, test the pH levels at least once a week and adjust as needed.
Purity – Using a chlorine filter, remove chlorine from the water before adding it to your fish tank.
In an aquaponics system, there is no such thing as too much oxygen. However, dissolved oxygen levels must be at least 3ppm and ideally 6ppm.
Because water circulates throughout your aquaponics system and affects all living organisms, it’s important to keep it clean and alter the elements as needed.
So, there you have it, my 5 basic considerations for setting up a successful aquaponics system. Hopefully, this has inspired you to get started but, of course, if you need any more information or want to share some knowledge, please feel free to leave some comments in the discussion section below.