Working out a proper aquaponics design layout should always be the first step to setting up your own aquaponics system at home. However, when it comes to working out a working layout, there are always a number of things that you need to keep in mind. After all, when it comes to an aquaponics system, there are two main variables you are working with – the fish and the plants. So there are n numbers of things that affect the performance of your system once you have set it up. And when that happens, you need to solve those problems. Therefore, the least you can do is work out as many chinks in the layout stage as you possibly can. And to help you manage that, we have brought you these 5 top tips for a good layout!
#1: Choose the right style for your system
There are 3 main systems that can be used in an aquaponics system. 2 of them are Deep-Water Culture and Nutrient Film Technique – but these are borrowed from hydroponics, and don’t adequately factor in the presence of the fish. As a result, with any of these systems, the entire process becomes very complicated and expensive, and there is a chance of failure. The third and most successful system is the Media-based design. In this system, you use a media as a replacement for soil in which your plants can grow. The media also serves 3 essential functions itself – those of filtration, breaking up of solids and circulating the water back into the system.
#2: Go for the simplest – and also fool proof design
Now for the design for the circulation of water. There can again be a number of ways to do this. But the simplest and cheapest method is the flood and drain system. Here, the system consists of a pump that takes water from the fish tank and floods the media. The water is then used by the plants, as is the nutrition contained in it. Then gradually, the water drains out of the porous media – and is then siphoned back to the fish tank. These systems are the easiest to maintain and simplest to set up as well.
#3: Choose the right aquaponics growbed
Next concern is the grow bed. Choosing this is an important task, and you should put some thought into it. This is because three important factors depend on the grow media or grow bed. Firstly, this is the layer that needs to house the all-important bacteria that will break down the fish waste into plant food. Secondly, this media needs to support the growth of your plants adequately. And thirdly, the layer will have to do some filtration, and you do not want substances from the media to dissolve into the water and contaminate it. So make this choice wisely and after doing your homework.
#4: Make sure you place the system in the right spot
Another big concern is the placement of the system. This is because, while your fish do not need much light and prefer the dark – the plants will need adequate light, as well as the right climate. Also, in case of cold climates, you need to care for your fish accordingly. As a result, determine the needs of your fish and the plants – and then factor in the kind of climate you live in. Accordingly decide on where to place them – indoors, outdoors, in a greenhouse or elsewhere.
#5: Choose the right plants and fish – every time
We cannot stress on this factor enough. While the ratio of fish or tank size to grow bed size is an important factor, choosing the right fish and plants is also imperative. Certain fish and plants thrive better in an aquaponics system – unlike others that do not. So always make sure you pick the right fish and plants for the job.
Once you have these 5 factors taken care of, you will be able to plan out a much better aquaponics system. Remember that the success of your system supports the lives of both the fish and the plants. So make the right choices when it comes to your aquaponics design layout, and you will find that you face much fewer problems later on!