Setting up an aquaponic system, although quite an easy task, requires some basic knowledge of aquaponics. If you have decided to install such a system in your house, then you probably know what this is and how it could help you. However, there may still be things which can interest or help you. Below you will find 5 essential things which you should know in order to obtain spectacular results.
Main component of Aquaponic System
The place where you put your aquaponic system is highly important for the way in which the plants and the fish will develop. In order to obtain great results you should make sure that the temperature from the room is not too high, nor too low, that there is enough light for the plants to prepare their food and that no wind or extreme weather conditions will reach them. Also, make sure that no harming chemical substances can get inside the water as this means death for both your fish and your plants.
2. Oxygenizing the water
The happier your fish are, the better your system will work! This is why you need to oxygenize the water on a daily basis and make sure your fish have all the “comfort” they need.
3. Choosing your fish accordingly
The aquaponic system works well with almost all types of fish. Yet, there are states in which you are not allowed to grow whatever type of fish you want, so you will want to see what types of fish you are allowed to have before starting your aquaponic system as you do not want any problems with the law.Aquaponics mainly depends upon quality of fish.
4. Placing the pots
In order to make the harvest much easier, you should place the pots or the entire system at your waits level. This way you will not have to bend over, making the daily care routine a much easier activity.
5. Adding additives
There are cases in which your fish may not provide all the nutrients needed for your plants. If the quantity is lower than what the plants need, then you will have to supply them with the respective substances. In most cases you will need to add iron, calcium carbonate or potassium carbonate.It plays vital role for aquaponic system.
What kind of fish are best to partner with in aquaponic systems?
There are many kinds of fish that serve as helpful partners in an aquaponic system. Ingenuity Innovation Center works with tilapia. These fish thrive in temperatures of 74 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason we like working with tilapia (besides that they are a popular choice), is that it requires us to heat the water. During wintertime, it allows us to grow year round because heating the water provides a “hot tub” for plants in their growbeds. Therefore, we do not have to spend large amounts of money heating our greenhouse.
Other freshwater fish such as perch, carp, catfish, sleepy cod, koi and goldfish do well in the system. People have even been working with freshwater river prawns, crawfish and crab in their systems.
Where is the best place to put an aquaponics system?
Determining where the best place is for an aquaponic system starts with what size will work best for you. We have several choices and options that can fit any budget. After that is established, the next step is to consider if you would like a system to be indoors or outdoors. If you place your system outdoors, you will need to provide some sort of covering (greenhouse, lean to, shed) to put your system in. Covering is essential to prevent precipitation from ending up in your system that can alter the PH and symbiotic relationships of your microbes, fish and plants. We recommend choosing a place that is level and has easy access to power or other renewable energy solutions.
How efficient are aquaponic systems?
Aquaponics is highly efficient. Consider these areas:
- Water. In aquaponics, there is only 7% water loss through evaporation and plant uptake versus 90% in traditional farming.
- Energy. We have designed our aquaponic solutions with energy efficient components (aerators, pumps, heaters and lighting) that can be also tied in with renewable and off grid solutions. In the Ingenuity Innovation Center greenhouse, we have one pump that runs an entire row (1, 300 gallon fish tank, 8, 100 gallon beds of aquaponics, and 1, 200 gallon sump tank) for the energy it takes to run a light bulb!
- Waste. There is virtually no waste from this system. Unlike hydroponics that requires the water be discharged from adding in nutrient again and again, aquaponics has a natural cleaning and filtration process using the rock media beds. Worms and microbes help break down nutrient rich fish waste so the plants can absorb the nutrients. Extra organic material from the plant beds can be composted.
How expensive are aquaponic systems?
There are many different kinds of aquaponic systems out there to choose from that range from full turnkey systems to do-it-yourself plans you can build using repurposed materials. Ingenuity Innovation Center has done extensive research on what is available. With so many to choose from, we started to evaluate different systems using these criteria:
- Total cost. We looked at what the total cost is to build a system and support it. We added up start up costs and examined what type of financial commitment would be required to maintenance the system.
- Failure points. We evaluated system designs based on the extra work you would have to do in order to ensure your system works properly (timers, filters, cleaning media, etc.). The more steps you have to take or remember to do, the more opportunities there are for things to go wrong and present major issues. We sought out system designs that were simple and easy to use and that naturally take care of problems.
- Maintenance Time. We evaluated different aquaponic systems based on how much maintenance time you spend per day, week, month, semi-annually and annually.
- Longevity & Efficiency. We looked at the quality of materials that are used in aquaponic systems. We evaluated materials based on UV resistance, durability and chemical composition (including off-gassing and leaching). For pumps, aerators and heaters, we examined components for longevity and energy efficiency.
- Quality of Symbiotic Life. We examined systems that provide a high quality of life for every living being in the aquaponic system.
Through our research, we have been able to bring about some very innovative solutions that will meet anyone’s budget and living situation. From mini kits you can build yourself for less than $100 or a full blown large system for $2,000 that will feed two people for life, we have worked to bring the designs forward while building community and knowledge around what you can do, build and grow using aquaponic systems.
Aquaponics is an easy activity which will provide you with the necessary vegetables and fish in a short amount of time. Just follow the tips mentioned above and you will have great success in your attempt to grow organic food in your home.