How Fish Waste Is Used In An Aquaponic System

Are you looking for a great way to grow your own fruits and vegetables? Would you love to raise your own fish? If you answered yes to these questions, aquaponic gardening may be what you’re looking for. Aquaponic gardening is a form of system that utilizes fish waste as a fertilizer for your plants. It’s a great way to save on water and grocery costs.

How Fish Waste Is Used In An Aquaponics System


If you’re considering starting an aquaponic system, there are a few things that you’ll need to understand how this system works. With an aquaponic system, you’ll be raising fish so that you can use their waste as a fertilizer for your plants. Instead of having to clean out your tank to remove the waste, there will be a tube system that moves the waste over to your plants.

As your plants soak up the nutrients from the waste, they are cleaning the water. As the water gets clean from the waste, it will be funneled back into the fish tank.

When starting an aquaponic system, you’re going to need to decide on the plants that you’re going to grow. When choosing plants, you’ll need to decide how many plants you’re going to have.

You’ll also need to decide on the types of plants that you want. With an easy diy aquaponic system, you can grow herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Leafy, green plants tend to do very well in this type of system.

Some root plants, such as potatoes, won’t do as well as other plants since there isn’t soil for the roots. These types of plants may grow in an odd shape and could be difficult to harvest.

Once you’ve decided on the number of plants and types, you’ll need to choose a fish tank and type of fish. In order to provide your plants with the number of nutrients that they’ll need, you should make sure that you have enough fish to provide waste. If you have a limited amount of space for your tank, a simple way to produce more waste is by feeding your fish more food.

The more food that you feed, the more waste you’ll get. When choosing your fish, you’ll need to decide what the fish will be used for. If you only want the fish to fertilize your plants, you could go with fish from a pet store, such as goldfish.

These fish can adapt well to the changing water, plus they create a lot of waste. If you’re looking for fish that you’ll be able to eat, you could go with a fish that you’ll need to buy from a supplier, such as a tilapia. Tilapia is very quick to adapt to changing water, and they are a great food fish.

Aquaponic gardens are a great way to replace traditional gardening. You’ll get plants that grow faster, you could have fish to eat, and you won’t need to raise your water bill to keep your plants hydrated. There are many benefits to having an aquaponic system, so go out there are start your system today.

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How To Use Fish To Grow Fresh Vegetables with Aquaponics

In an Aquaponics system, the fish and the plants reside in two separate containers but they are a part of the same ecosystem. The fish regardless of their type, size or age will produce waste that is rich in nutrients and nitrogen. If the nitrogen levels increase to a certain level it becomes harmful to the fish and so by channeling this water to growing vegetables (contained in a separate grow container) it helps to filter the water which is then sent back into the fish tank.

The vegetables grow in an organic and healthy environment while the fish thrive in a clean tank of water. After some time the fish that have reached a certain age can be consumed. This is why it is always important that you add fish that you would like to eat or sell to the aquaponics system that you build.

Choosing The Right Type Of Fish

In aquaponics, there is really no right or wrong type of fish. That being said there are a few factors you should consider when choosing fish for your aquaponics system. You need to consider what you want to achieve with the system, the prevailing climate in your city, and the supplies which are at your disposal.

If you do not eat fish you can probably use goldfish which can then be sold for some cash. You can add catfish or Tilapia if you like eating fish. Silver Perch is considered ideal for an aquaponics system since it is not very sensitive to climate fluctuations and tends to be quite resilient.

Here Are a Few Other Factors Worth Considering:

  • The tolerance of the fish you chose to ammonia
  • The ability of the fish to survive a 5 degree increase or decrease in temperature
  • Can eat pellet (also known as fish food)
  • Feels happy living in a tank
  • Will not eat other fish like fingerlings

Adding Plants To The System

The growth rate of plants i.e. vegetables exceeds those of a hydroponic setup (conventional growing setup) by up to four times for some herbs and vegetables. The biggest advantage is that during the warm season the plants get a lot of warm water through the system’s continuous flood, and flow system. This ensures that they are always hydrated and are getting the nutrients they need to grow rapidly.

When growing vegetables in with an easy diy aquaponics system you need to choose ones that do not grow in the root of the plant. This is because in between the layers of soil and sediments setup to grow plants there is not enough space for these types of vegetables to grow.

That being said you are pretty much open to growing anything you want. The best plants to grow in an aquaponic system include lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, beans and cabbage, etc. You can also grow flowering plants which include roses and sunflowers.


An aquaponics system happens to be the most efficient and eco-friendly way to grow plants and raise fish in a small space. However, it is imperative that you set up the system correctly with the right materials so that things continue to run smoothly providing a healthy environment to both the fish and the vegetables.

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What Are The Best Suitable Aquaponics Fish

When deciding to take on the adventure of aquaponics some thought must also be given to what type of aquaponics fish will be raised in this environment. Some fish are raised for the purpose of eating while others are more ornamental.

There is a wide variety of fish species that can be grown in an aquaponic environment and with the right plant life and other aspects of this ecosystem, fish will grow healthy and strong.

Aquaponics Fish For Eating

The top favored aquaponics fish to be raised for the purpose of eating are tilapia, trout, and bass. Each of these fish species has specific needs that should be adhered to for the achievement of the best results. Also, you want to make sure that the fish you are putting in the water tank are compatible. You would not want to go out and find that some of your fish have been eaten.


Bass prefer mildly cool water ranging between 59 – 96 degrees with 75 – 86 degrees being the preferred range. The younger fry needs water just a tad cooler. Keep in mind that bass is big fish when grown, so you would not want to take on this species of fish if you only have a small area to work with.


Trout grow to be a decent size when cared for properly. This fish species is a coldwater fish but is an excellent aquaponics fish because it grows fast. They prefer temperatures around 32 degrees to 80 degrees. During the fry stage, the minimum temperature for trout is 41 degrees.


Tilapia are a warm water fish, and it is recommended to not have water temperature below 55 degrees. If it falls below this margin tilapia becomes sick and when water is below 50 degrees, they will start dying off.

Aquaponics Fish For Decoration

The best aquaponics fish species for decoration are koi, goldfish, and perch. Many people raise koi for income purposes.


When possible it is best to purchase koi at an early age when they are not as expensive. There is a tidy little profit that can be made by the raising and sale of this fish species. A few years back a prized koi was sold in Japan for nearly $400,000.00.


The perch is a very adaptable fish and makes a good starter fish for aquaponics enthusiasts. Perch comes in several colors, but the three most used as aquaponics fish are yellow, silver, and jade variety.

Aquaponics is an excellent way to get the best of both worlds in fish and plants without chemical interaction. The symbiotic relationship between fish and plants can work to the advantage of the grower by providing food for the table. It may be the fish that was raised or the plants that benefited from the fish.

For the various species of fish that are used in aquaponics gardening, there are just as many plants that benefit from this closed ecosystem. There are currently over 300 plant species that have been tested and shown success in an aquaponic environment. This is a great hobby for someone to pick up but is also an excellent learning opportunity.  More importantly, it is a great way to ensure that there will always be something to eat for one or for the masses.

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Aquaponics System Kit Versus DIY Aquaponics System

Aquaponics system kit or DIY aquaponics system? I am asked this question all the time. Of course, it is a valid one. My answer is your final decision will ultimately be a matter of your budget. If money isn’t a big issue, then you will want to have an aquaponics system that runs without needing a lot of work. You will definitely want to get an aquaponics system kit. However, if you happen to be a diy person, then you can definitely do it yourself. It is easy to do.

According to statistics, men do have a tendency to be more into diy than women are.

Originally aquaponics developed from its start as backyard diy aquaponics. A majority of the pioneers were men who had been involved in either farming or agriculture. They were the early diy men who constructed the system by working with their hands.

Does this mean that women are deprived of using aquaponics systems? Of course not. Honestly, diy aquaponics isn’t hard to do. It is more a matter of your mindset. Anyway, that’s where the aquaponics system kit comes into play. These kits are very simple to get set up. They basically plug and play systems that only take a minimum amount of muscle and effort. However, it still provides you with all of the benefits that an aquaponics system promises, each time without fail.

This also answers everyone’s question, girls or boys who aren’t into diy things, but who would like to reap all of the benefits that backyard aquapnoics gardening system provides. It produces chemical free and healthy organic food that’s really good for you as well as your entire family. Another really good thing that I love about home aquaponics is, it allows you to spend some quality time with your loved ones and your kids. It is amazing how getting your kids involved with aquaponics can strengthen your family bond. You should try it.

Both aquaponics system kits and diy aquaponics systems have pros and cons to them, just like all things in life. You need to choose a system that will best suit your lifestyle and your needs. As far as I’m concerned there isn’t one that is better than another. The main question you need to ask yourself is, which of these systems would you be the most comfortable working with. There is, however, one distinct difference. I am referring to the cost. An aquaponics system kit can range in price from hundreds of dollars to thousands. It all depends on what scale of system you choose to go with.

You can set up a home diy aquaponics system for about what it would cost for two people to go out for dinner. It definitely is doable, especially if you already have a fish aquarium. Then all you will need is a growbed, in addition to some piping to redirect the aquarium pump outlet into the growbed. This is all you need for an aquaponics system that runs effectively.

Even if you designed and build a diy aquaponics system completely from scratch, it would cost you less than $200 to construct a small aquaponics system with aquaponics supplies such as a 50 gallon growbed and 100 gallon fish tank.  aquaponics supplies.

Pros of a DIY Aquaponics System

  • You will get much better feels for how your aquaponics system works. You will naturally understand it better if you build it yourself and really appreciate your system.
  • You have lots of flexibility in terms of designing your system so that it fits into your available space.
  • Setting one up is cheap.

Cons of a DIY Aquaponics System

  • You do need to have some diy experience, but if not you need to be willing to try something new.

Pros of Aquaponics System Kits

  • You don’t need to have a DIY experience.
  • Ability to plug and play.
  • Instant set-up, which allows you to have an operating system right away that you and your family can enjoy.

Cons of Aquaponics System Kits

  • The cost of the kits can be expensive.

So there are my two cents on the matter. I hope this has provided you with good insight into how to choose an aquaponics system that will suit your lifestyle and preferences.

If you happen to be a diy person, then its time to take action if you haven’t already:
Build Your Own DIY Aquaponics System Today!

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Getting Started With Aquaponics Gardening

Getting Started With Aquaponics Gardening is not hard. But before setting up an Aquaponics garden, it is very important that you understand the basic elements of aquaponics.

I created the video below to walk you through 3 steps that are critical to starting an aquaponics garden.

We will also discuss planning and setting up an aquaponics system. You will learn about the fish tank, the garden bed, fish you will be raising, and plants that grow well.

Now it is time to watch the video:

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Aquaponics DIY Swirl Filter

In Home DIY Aquaponic systems, an aquaponics DIY swirl filer, which is also called a solid filter, is often used. One of their main purpose is to help with removing fine particles that fish waste produces in the aquaponics fish tank. It is especially true when it comes to fully commercial and semi-commercial aquaponics systems that have hundreds of fish stocked in them at any given time period.

These filters help with maintaining water clarity that the fish can thrive in. The health of the fish deteriorates whenever the water is murky and full of fish poop and food debris. For Deep Water Culture (DWC) systems it is necessary in order to prevent plant roots from getting clogged since this is detrimental for the health and growth of the plants.

With media-filled growbed systems, normally an aquaponics DIY swirl filter isn’t necessary. That’s because the growbed cleanses the system water in a similar way that a swirl filter does. So the more growbeds you have, the cleaner the water will be. The determining factors of whether a swirl filter needs to be installed or not are the scale of the system, the fish species, and the density of the stocked fish. If your system water is frequently cloudy to where it is hard to see the fish, that is a very good indication that a swirl filter needs to be installed.

Design Of An Aquaponics DIY Swirl Filter


At I found really good information on an aquaponics diy swirl filter. The major concept is for solid waste to be trapped on the bottom of this swirl filter’s assembly.

To achieve this, the water is directed from a fish tank via a pipe that is shaped so that the wastewater that comes in is forced to swirl on the bottom. that helps to ensure that the growbed stays free of waste solids.

DIY Instructions

  • Locate a 200-liter barrel.
  • On each end of the barrel, drill a hole. One hole is for the inlet line running from the fish tank. The other hole is for the outlet line going into the grow bed (it needs to be higher than the inlet line). Use an adapter to make sure you have water-tight pipe connections.
  • Find a laundry basket that will fit in the barrel (it is good if it is slightly smaller). Drill a hole for the inlet pipe to go through.
  • Your next step is to figure out what kind of filter material to use. It can be any type of material. The unused cloth can work. Line your material on the basket’s wall.
  • Next drill a hole on the barrel’s bottom. This is for draining off solids. A 1/2 inch PVC line can be used along with a valve for controlling the flow.

That’s it! You now have a DIY swirl filter you can use with your aquaponics system.

Although the aquaponics design is a bit more expensive and complex, it is easier to maintain and filters out fish waste more effectively.

The waste after some time starts to collect in the lining. You will need to clean the lining. To do this, all you need to do is take it out and wash it. One thing you need to be aware of is the lining by that time will have good bacteria living on it that you will want to keep. So the lining should be washed without any detergent in cold water.

There is also a Youtube video that I found that teaches how to build a swirl filter that was contributed by The Urban Farming Guys. In the video, they show you how to build a swirl filter step by step. They make things very simple. They mainly focus on aquaculture. However, it is 100% workable for a diy aquaponics system also.

In their video, they are very willing to share their experiences with building vortex filters. They say the set-up is similar to ones selling for $4,000 in stores. It only costs $100 for them to make their diy filter.

Their willingness to share is what I really like the most. They even show the obstacles they have faced while building the aquaponics DIY swirl filter and how they were able to solve the problems. It really is great!

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Nitrogen Cycle From Fish Excretion In An Aquaponics Systems

Nitrogen-CycleThe image above shows a typical nitrogen cycle that occurs in an aquaponics system.

For any aquaponics system to effectively and properly function, it will highly rely on the bacteria present and their function in the system’s nitrogen cycle. For starters, Nitrogen is basically the fundamental element in all living things. In essence, every single living organism on this planet will need it to change from one form to another.

The nitrogen cycle is where microorganisms work on converting the existent nitrogen in the air – which makes up about 78% of our earth’s atmosphere – and in other organic compounds like fish excretion, into a more usable form like Nitrate and Nitrite in the aquaponics system.

This is an invaluable process through which fish waste is converted into valuable natural fertilizer or nutrients for the plants living in the aquaponics grow beds. This cycle plays an important part in an aquaponics system. Without it, water in the system would become toxic, leading to the death of the fish and plants. It is fundamentally what makes the aquaponics system work and basically what runs the earth. We could never survive without this cycle.

By allowing your aquaponics system to naturally recycle itself, you will have no need to chemically treat it. It therefore can be reused as many times as possible without having to replace it. That is why you need to understand what the term ‘cycled’ in aquaponics means. It refers to when a system has, over time, grown a sufficient amount of bacteria that is able to convert the ammonia in the system into nitrate for the plants to take in as nutrients. The great thing is that these bacteria are present in the air and will naturally propagate in your fish tank’s grow bed.

However, the most important thing to note is that these bacteria are microscopic and will multiply naturally as long as the environment is favorable. As such, it is important that all the recommended steps are followed to the T when setting up your own aquaponics system. That is if you want to create a system that will offer and maintain the perfect conditions for the bacteria to thrive.

Nonetheless, there is no need to worry as it is something very easy to accomplish. A healthy bacteria colony will usually determine the success of any aquaponics system. In the long run, a mature system will usually grow a good amount of bacteria over time, sufficient enough to convert fish waste into nitrates- what your plants need to grow.

Image Credit: Aquaponics Cycle

Basically, this is how the cycle works. Your fish will expel ammonia-rich waste through their gills, feces and urine. The interesting thing to note is that 80% of the ammonia will be from the gills while 17% from the feces. However, this will usually vary depending on the fish species in question. Generally, though, these are the common figures.

The NH3 or Ammonia produced by your fish is then converted to NO2 or Nitrite by Nitrosomonas bacteria in a process known as the nitrification cycle. The Nitrite produced is then converted into NO3 or Nitrate by the Nitrobacter bacteria. It is the Nitrate that your plants need as nutrients to flourish.

Therefore, there are two types of bacteria that you will need to have in your aquaponics system:

1. The Nitrosomonas Bacteria: this bacteria is what converts ammonia into the less poisonous compound known as nitrite. Nitrite on its own will usually be easy on the fish as compared to the presence of ammonia. However, it is of no use at all to the system’s plants. Nonetheless, high nitrate levels will damage the fish’ gills, preventing them from adequately assimilating oxygen, eventually leading to their death if not taken care of.

2. Nitrobacter Bacteria: this bacteria is what converts nitrites into nitrates and plays a very important role in the cycle. These bacteria consume nitrites converting them into nitrates, ending the cycle. By doing this, they provide the plants in the system with the nutrients they need to thrive. The great thing is that fish are able to tolerate considerably high levels of nitrate in the system.

It is when you have successfully built a sufficient amount of these bacteria in your system to convert the system’s ammonia into nitrate, that your system can be considered to be cycled.

A cycling process usually takes about 2 weeks to a whole month to complete. However, this is affected by external factors like temperature and geographical location. For instance, in cold countries, this process tends to be slower while in warmer regions, it tends to be faster. Overall, it is way easier to cycle your system during summer than during winter.

And that’s all there is to know when looking to start and maintain a nitrogen cycle in your aquaponics system.

Hope this has helped you better understand how aquaponics systems work.

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The Importance of The Chemistry of The Water In Your Aquaponic System

An aquaponic system is made up of a number of chemical processes. But, you don’t need to know formulas or theories to make your system work. By understanding a few chemical processes you can better understand how aquaponics works and how to make your system more productive.

Nutrients in your Aquaponic System

Ammonia in fish excrement is converted to nitrites. These nitrates are converted into nitrates, the nutrients that help the plants grow. Nitrites and nitrates naturally occur as long as there is ammonia in the system. You do not need to add them.

Nitrates are consumed by plants, this completes the process which will remove the ammonia the fish produce (which can be toxic) from the system. This is beneficial to the fish who have clean water and to the plants which have a ready source of plant food.

In a balanced water system, the ammonia and nitrite levels would be at 0 ppm. The nitrate level should be kept below 60 ppm for most types of fish. Some fish such as Koi can tolerate a high level, up to 80 ppm, without trouble. The reason the ammonia and nitrite levels are low is because they should be immediately converted and thus removed from the water.

You want to maintain control of your ammonia and nitrite levels, they should not exceed 6 ppm, which can be toxic to fish. Try to keep these levels below 1 ppm for each. Nitrates are acceptable in a range from 40 to 80 ppm. This all depends on the types of fish you choose. Some fish can tolerate higher nitrate levels. Watch your fish see how they behave at a given range to determine if the level needs to be increased or decreased.

Water Chemistry and Your Aquaponic System

Another measure of a healthy system is the water pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature levels. You can use a standard aquarium testing kit for this purpose. These tests should be conducted regularly starting during the initial system installation.

Sample Water Test Kit

The water test kit can be purchased form an aquarium or pet store. There are a number of different types ranging from simple test strips to liquid test kits. The liquid kits cost more but give more accurate results.

Testing the water pH

You need to monitor your water pH closely. The pH level can tell you how much nutrients are available for the plants in your system and warn you when the system (and the fish) are in danger. An acceptable pH level is between 6.0 and 8.0. The ideal level for an aquaponic system is 7.0.

While you want to maintain the proper pH level, you don’t want to purposefully reduce or increase the pH. It’s better to get fish and plants that are suited for the type of water you have.

While it is possible to change the pH of your system it’s difficult to maintain that level after you manipulate the pH. Eventually, it will return to its original level and you’ll have to begin the process again. If you find that the pH is not where you want it, don’t throw in the towel, just adjust your strategy and work with your system to make it productive.

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) in Your System

Oxygen is essential to the health of the fish in your system. The oxygen content is affected by the temperature of the water. If the water is cold it can hold more oxygen. If the level of oxygen is low, the fish can suffocate.

The best way to increase oxygen levels is with an aeration system. Add the pump to the aquaponic system and turn it on. The goal would be to have 80 percent saturation but not less than 4 ppm.

The Water Temperature

If you live in an area that experiences high fluctuations of temperature you need to keep a careful eye on the temperature of the water. If the temperature drops too low it can impede the nitrification process, the fish will eat less and may die.

It’s important to keep the temperature of the system between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (25-30 Celsius). This will allow the nitrification bacteria to flourish.

It’s important to achieve balance in your system. Each one of the chemical processes is important to the life and well being of the fish and plants in your aquaponics system. By starting off right (during the cycling stage) you can ensure that you have all of the needed bacteria and elements to establish a healthy aquaponic system.

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How To Manage Aquaponics Water Chemistry

A well-managed and mature aquaponics water chemistry system will help you grow almost anything you have ever dreamt of growing. This is made possible by three factors and these are: the best pH range for your fish and plants, biochemical filter, and feeding fish with quality food.

The Best pH Range For Fish and Plants

In the above chart, the horizontal axis represents the pH, while the vertical one represents different essential elements. A thicker horizontal line represents how easy it is for a plant to take-up that specific element. For instance, consider the red horizontal line representing Iron. Iron, in the above case, is easier to absorb when its pH ranges from 4.0 to 6.0. However, absorption lowers once the pH goes past 6.3.

From the above chart, you will also see that the best spot would be between 6.0 and 7.5. This is where most elements’ lines are thicker. What this tells you is that if you could get your system’s pH to stay within this region, then your plants would be best suited to get, and absorb, all the elements they require to grow.

The key to maintaining a good aquaponics system is in creating a system that comprises pH levels where the fish, bacteria and plants are all benefiting. In most cases, fish and bacteria thrive in pH conditions that are between 7.0 and 8.0. To create levels where all involved elements can benefit, it is essential that you maintain your aquaponics system’s pH level is between 6.8 and 7.0. It is important that you acclimatize your plants to standard water pH and slowly adjust it as your system matures.

It is very important that you be very careful when attempting to raise or lower water pH. The secret to accomplishing this is doing it gradually. The shift needs to be no more than .2 a day. This way, your fish can handle the gradual change. Massive swings in pH will strain them and may eventually lead to the death of your fish.

Good thing is that there is a safer way to lower pH levels. You can do this by using a product known as AquaDown, and which is available at Amazon. The key is to avoid products containing citric acid as it would kill the entire system, and AquaDown, which is an Aquaponics Source product, is safe and reliable to achieve this. This product will also supplement your plants as it provides them phosphorous by lowering the level of pH in your system.

A natural option to raise the level of pH in your system is by adding crushed seashells, snail shells and eggshells. However, it is important that you first boil or bleach them before adding them into the system to kill all unwanted bacteria. For a synthetic approach to raising pH is by using AquaUp, which is also an Aquaponics Source product. aqua is packed with potassium carbonate and calcium, two essential elements that plants require and can be found on Amazon.

The Biochemical-Filter

All aquaponics systems pack a bio-filter and which simply refers to the nitrating and nitrifying bacteria plus the red composting worms that live in the media bed of the system. These, plus poop from your fish, create the perfect mini-ecosystem within the system. This bio-filter is more or less like the motor that makes your car run. The motor utilizes the fuel poured into it, turning it into the energy required to power the automobile.

To establish a bio-filter, you will need to start by introducing some ammonia into your aquaponics system. You can accomplish this either by introducing some fish poop, which is a natural source of ammonia, or through a synthesized process known as cycling. However, the cycling process can only be complete if enough bacteria are introduced into the system to convert the ammonia into nitrite, and eventually to nitrate with no nitrite or ammonia levels reading in the system.

During the first stages of the aquaponics system, which is the initial three months, all you will be able to cultivate will be plants that require lesser nutrients like salads. As your bio-filter hits maturity, that’s in about six months, you then start cultivating heavier feeders like beans, cucumber or even tomatoes; however, what you cultivate will be determined by your system’s pH levels.
pH Levels and Their Effects On Your Aquaponics Set-up

The pH level of your aquaponics system will determine the strength and health of your produce. pH levels greatly affect how a plant takes up nutrients. Each element has a pH level on which the plant will comfortably absorb it. If your aquaponics system offers pH ranges where some elements cannot be absorbed by your plants, then these plants will grow deficient in them.

Feeding Fish With High-Quality Food

What you give, is what you get. This virtue is true to a great extent and will apply in your aquaponics system; more so, with your fish. Feed your fish the best and highest quality food you are able to afford for the specific fish you rear. The aquaponics principle is, the healthier and happier your fish are, the better and tastier your produce will be. Feeding your fish with quality feeds will go a long way in promoting healthy production from your system in the long run.

By feeding your fish right, you will rarely need to supplement your system; that is if your system has a 12 inch deep grow bed just as it is recommended by the Easy DIY Aquaponics step-by-step guide. As a matter of fact, did you know that you could end up harming your system by opting to add supplements? This is because an aquaponics system is a natural ecosystem on its own. Once your system has matured, all you have to do is feed your fish, manage your system’s water temperature, pH and oxygen levels and just letting it be.

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Aquaponics or Hydroponics – Which One Is Right for You?

Are you having trouble deciding between an aquaponics system and a hydroponic system?

There are some similarities between the two, but even more differences. Let’s take a look and see what makes each system unique and spell out the clear advantages of one system over the other.

Hydroponic systems are designed only for plant growth. In hydroponics, a medium other than soil is used to pass nutrients along to the plants. This requires the addition of nutrient solution at regular intervals. It is a one-way system that runs pretty much automatically except for adding the nutrient solution.

Aquaponics systems focus on not just plant growth but finding a balance between the health of plants and fish. Aquaponics uses the same principles as hydroponics in part, but adds fish to the equation, creating a self-contained ecosystem. Waste from the aquarium water is used to provide nutrients for the plants, which scrub the waste from the water as they feed. Clean water is then returned to the aquarium for the fish.

Hydroponics is a good system if you only want to grow a few plants at a time. However, adding more plants changes the game significantly. The addition of more plants means more nutrient solution must be used, adding to the overall costs. Also, the nutrient solution must be flushed regularly to prevent the buildup of algae, which can be harmful to plants.

The symbiotic nature of aquaponics, on the other hand, takes care of the algae problem. Choose the correct fish for your aquaponics system, and they will filter algae out. Another advantage of aquaponics is that no nutrient solution is required – all of the nutrients are provided by the fish. The result is a self-contained process that is entirely organic from beginning to end.

Both hydroponic and aquaponic systems produce waste, the main difference is that an aquaponics system uses that waste by reintroducing it into the system again and again. Hydroponic waste, however, must be removed and disposed of by professionals. This waste removal adds a huge expense to hydroponic systems. Calibrating the nutrients in a hydroponic system can be difficult as well. But an aquaponics system doesn’t require constant tweaking of nutrients – the plants take all of the nutrients they need from the fish waste. All you need to do is add fish food.

Another main downside to hydroponics is the constant fear of root rot, a fungus that can spread quickly through a hydroponic system. Many hydroponic growers need to sterilize much of their equipment to prevent disease, adding additional costs. Aquaponics embraces the bacteria present naturally in an ecosystem, which may help all of its organisms by boosting immunity.

Perhaps most importantly, aquaponics provides more yield with less cost. A university study has shown that established aquaponics systems will produce faster growth and overall better results when compared to hydroponics systems. In the end, as long as you’re willing to care for the fish, an aquaponics system has many clear advantages over hydroponics.

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