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5 Aquaponics Secrets: How To Build A Working Aquaponics System
In this article we will show 5 aquaponics secrets you need to know to build a working aquaponics system.
Aquaponics is easy and anyone can be successful with aquaponics. It’s just a matter of knowing some basic information.
So can I ask you if you want:
- Grow fruit and vegetables up to ten times faster than with conventional soil methods?
- So you can feed your family fresh organic produce all year round?
- Save money on your food bill without worrying about another fear?
All of the above is possible with aquaponics. Now you might be asking how much right?
So first let’s take a quick look at aquaponics…
What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is a mini ecosystem that you can have in your own backyard. You have fish in one tank and plants in another.
The “kakini” fish is used to fertilize the plants and the plants filter the water for the fish. They work in harmony to do all the hard work for you.
It means you can grow organic produce year-round in your own backyard, saving money on your grocery bill.
Plus, since you know where your food comes from, you don’t have to worry about whether it’s safe for you or your family.
Anyway, let’s check out our 5 aquaponic secrets. so you are on your way to a successful aquaponics system
Aquaponics Secrets #1 – Choosing the right plants
With aquaponics it is possible to grow almost any fruit or vegetable you can think of, however…
Just because you could grow a papaya or a banana doesn’t mean I would recommend doing so. Staying away from plants that prefer acid or soil environments will make your aquaristic life easier.
I would also recommend staying away from plants that prefer a higher or lower pH than neutral, such as fruits and blueberries.
My advice is to look for plants that prefer a pH between 6.8 and 7.0. These plants will thrive in a basic hydroponic system that allows for optimal nutrient uptake.
When it comes to sourcing plants for your aquaponics system, it’s simple. You can take seeds, cuttings or transplants from regular soil plants and put them in your aquaponics system (just make sure no soil is left on the roots as it can contaminate your system).
Aquaponics Secrets #2 – Choosing the right fish
Choosing the right fish for your system depends on the following criteria:
Are the fish you are raising for food or are they strictly ornamental?
Some types of fish are better for eating (tilapia is very common in hydroponics) while others such as Koi carp are more suitable for decorative purposes only.
What is your local environment?
The average water temperature affects the types of fish you can choose to have in your system. If you live in colder environmental conditions you can go for Trout, in warmer climates like Australia you can choose Barramundi.
How much money should you spend?
If your budget is tight then we would recommend goldfish. It is a hardy fish and cheap too. Be warned, I wouldn’t recommend eating them. That’s why many people choose Tilapia. they are cheap to buy and make good food too.
When it comes to fish, I recommend keeping things as simple as possible. So you only have one or two different species of fish in your system. It will make your life easier and increase the chances of success of your aquaponics system.
Aquaponics Secrets #3 – Choosing the Right Grow Bed
Having the right grow bed is vital. that’s where your plants will grow. As a beginner, I recommend using a media-based grow bed rather than an NFT (nutrient film technique) or DWC (deep water culture) system.
The reasons are:
- The Media grow bed system is easier to build
- A media bed growing system is easier to maintain
- The system is easier to adapt (think expandable) at a later date
- You will have increased plant choices
- Bed culture media helps break down solids and cycle water in the process known as mineralization (it’s good!)
Aquaponics Secret #4 – Choosing the right tank
Stating the obvious here, but choosing the right tank is critical. Let’s take a look at the size first shall we?
As a beginner I would recommend starting with a tank of at least 200 liters in size. This will allow fish up to 30cm in size.
Ideally I would say start with a tank of at least 1000 liters. The bigger the tank, the more leeway you have if you make a mistake and not let it seriously damage your system.
You see the larger the tank the slower the system is affected giving you more time to fix any mistakes.
As materials you choose to build your tank. Make sure it won’t change the pH level or make the water toxic.
Ideally to start you want your bed to fish tank volume ratio to be 1:1. This will make life simpler. As your experience grows, you can increase the ratio to 2:1.
Aquaponics Secrets #5 – Water Conservation
Understanding the quality and composition of your water is essential for optimal plant growth and maintaining the health of your fish.
You should pay attention to the following:
Temperature – I recommend choosing a type of fish that can naturally adapt to the average temperature you will be watering year round to thrive.
PH level – As we mentioned before, the optimum rate for the pH level is between 6.8 and 7.0 for plants. The same goes for the fish and bacteria in your system. You should check your system weekly and adjust the pH accordingly.
Purity – If you use tap water, you must ensure that it is free of chlorine before adding it to your system.
[Tip]An old trick that aquarium people use is to let the water sit overnight before adding it to the tank as the chlorine evaporates.
Oxygen levels – You can’t really have too much oxygen in your system. Make sure your levels never drop below 3ppm (ppm) ideally though they should be above 6ppm.
Aquaponics Secrets – Conclusion
As you can see, the “secrets of aquaponics” are simple and easy enough for a beginner to understand and execute.
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