5 Things You Should Take Into Consideration When Building an Aquaponic System
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.
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.
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.
Advantages of Aquaponic Farming
Aquaponics is a new way of approaching farming. Unlike traditional agriculture where you needed plants to grow vegetables, with aquaponics you need water and fish in order to have healthy food on your table each and every day. Basically, aquaponics relies on the interdependence between fish and plants: the fish produces bio-nutrients for the plants, while the plants clean the water, creating a perfect environment for the fish to grow and develop. It is a blend of aquaculture and hydroponics that has plenty of advantages. If you need some reasons to get your own aquaponic system started, then here are some of the advantages you will get once you assemble it.
First of all you will have fresh organic food on your table each and every day, regardless of the hour when you decide to cook your meals. You simply take your tomato, cucumber of your basil from the aquaponic "field" and use it for your meals. It is as easy as it sounds.
The second best thing about it is that you not only grow vegetables, but you also have plenty of fish. Whether you want them for cooking tasty meals or simply for your décor, they are a great addition in your home! They also have a practical purpose, as you will never have to use chemical fertilizers on your plants, thus obtaining real organic food.
If you ask how difficult is this system to put in practice, the answer is extremely simple. Not only will you be able to assemble it all by yourself, without the help of your family or neighbors, but you can also put it wherever you want. If you move from one house to another, then you simply disassemble the system and take it with you! What can be easier than that?
Another great advantage of the hydroponic farming is that it offers you financial independence and control over your money. You know exactly how much you need to spend on your food and you will no longer depend on the market for your veggies' supplies.
Last, but not least, it involves no dirty hands and clothes, no bending and digging, no land and little maintenance time, so it will be like your veggies and fish grow all by themselves! Quite an easy to put in practice system, suitable for all types of people, even for busy and impatient ones!
There are plenty advantages that the aquaponic system can offer you! Your health and your comfort will be improved, while your savings will considerably grow with the constant use of the aquaponic type of farming! If this is what you want, then why not give it a try?
Adding Salt in Aquaponics
Many people add salt to their aquaponics system and you may be thinking of doing the same. The practice of adding salt in Aquaponics has its pros and cons, and if you decide to use salt you should do so carefully.
The main purpose of adding salt in Aquaponics is for disease control; salt acts like a natural anti-bacterial agent. In addition, a small amount of salt improves the mucous covering on a fish's body, and this improves the resistance of the fish to diseases and parasites. Salt may also help to prevent fungal infections. If you opt for salt addition, use pure sea salt and avoid table salt. If you can't find any pure sea salt, swimming pool salt is a viable alternative.
However, adding too much salt will kill the fish and stunt plant growth. Therefore, when adding salt, you should do it only in calculated amounts. A good rule of thumb is 1 to 2 ppt (parts per thousand) of salt to water. Some plants and fish will tolerate higher levels, but if you are a novice in Aquaponics systems, you should stick to this amount. Remember, that as time passes, the concentration of salt in the system will change. Evaporation of water, water taken up by the plants, etc... will lead to an increase in salt concentration. It is therefore important that you monitor salt concentration regularly, and you can do so by using an apparatus called a refractometer. You can buy cheap refractometers for just a few dollars and they will do the job.
Many people will have a separate small tank that they use for sick fish, a kind of quarantine tank. This is a good idea as it prevents the spread of disease to other fish and allows you to give medication only to the sick fish and not to the whole system. If you keep such a tank, salt can be very useful, as salt will enhance the fish's immune system. You can use higher concentration of salt in your sick tank - up to 10 ppt for a few hours to a few days. Make sure to keep the tank well oxygenated.
As mentioned already, different fish have different levels of salt tolerance, so to be on the safe side check with your local fisheries department for levels of tolerability of the species you are growing. In addition, remember that even if the fish you are growing are very tolerant to salt (for example tilapia can be grown in a salt concentration of up to 20-30ppt), the plants will not tolerate high concentrations. It is safer if you stick to 1-2ppt.
Why Is an Aquaponic System Better than a Hydroponic One
Hydroponic gardens are already highly popular among people of all ages. They require little space, are easy to take care of and give satisfactory results. However, because you will need to supply the water with necessary nutrients, which are most of the times chemical, the taste of the crops is not quite the ones people expect. Also, people trying to switch to organic products have a hard time in coping with the chemical additions from the hydroponically-grown vegetables. Fortunately, a new type of gardening is available. It is called the aquaponic system and can help you grow organic food in your home.
The aquaponic system is a mixture between the aquaculture, as it requires growing fish in a special fish tank and hydroponics, as it involves growing plants with water and nutrients. You will probably wonder what role the fish play in all this business. Well, things are quite easy: the fish excrements contain ammonia which is later decomposed in nitrites and nitrates. The latter substance is benefic for the plants, offering them enough nutrients to grow and develop normally. Thus, there will be no need to supply your plants with chemical substances as they will already have all the food they need.
This leads to the several advantages that the aquaponic system has over the hydroponic one. First, the vegetables will have a better taste as they will grow only with natural food and at their own peace. This will give them that delicious taste you love so much in veggies. Then, the system is simpler, as you will no longer need to feed your plants each and every day. Just make sure that your fish are in good shape and then let nature take its course.
Last, but not least, with the aquaponic system you do not only grow vegetables, but you also have fish which you can use for decorative purposes or you can very well cook delicious meals for you and your family.
Aquaponics is an improved version of the hydroponic system. The crops are better and the process is easier. In addition to that you get to eat organic food! What more can you wish for?