Aquaponics can be a great way to grow plants as well as rear fish – both for food. The good thing is that the plants can grow all year round – depending on what plants you have in the system. On the other hand, the fish will stay in the system for as long as they take to grow. Now – this is however, only possible if the temperatures are right. For instance, the fish need the water to be a certain temperature to thrive. Also, smaller plants usually die if it is too cold. And the solution to this problem is an aquaponics greenhouse!
Why you may need a greenhouse?
With most small table-top to medium size set ups, they’re usually possible to house inside your home. This means that they aren’t exposed to the elements. But you may be wanting to try it out on the large scale – maybe with 3-4 tanks of fish – and therefore proportionately more grow bed as well.
This presents a problem since not everyone has a garage or basement or indoor area big enough and unused. And in case you do not live in a part of the world where you get relatively pleasant temperatures throughout the year, you do have a real problem.
You cannot leave the plants out in the winter – because the frost will kill them, as well as harm the fish. And you cannot keep them inside for lack of space. In this circumstance, a greenhouse is the perfect alternative. It not only keeps the cold out – but helps you to maintain a controlled closed environment as well. This way, the light you get is free – you do not have to spend on artificial lights as you would indoor. And quite easily, you can control the temperature and humidity inside the greenhouse – to ensure best growth in plants and fish.
And now that we have established the advantages of having a greenhouse and the reasons you may need one, let’s check out…
A few facts to keep in mind about a greenhouse for your aquaponics system
Unlike a greenhouse for growing plants, when you are keeping your entire aquaponics system inside it – you need to be especially careful of a few things:
- Make sure that you are still continuing to use heaters for the water in the tanks. Most fish that are grown in aquaponics systems, like Tilapia, for instance, are quite sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Therefore, don’t just depend on your greenhouse to keep the water warm and risk the life of your fish.
- Also, do make sure that you have some measures in place to warm up the air as well. On particular days there may not be enough heat outside for the inside to get warm enough.
- At the same time, the measures you have should also facilitate cooling – because sometimes greenhouses can trap a lot of heat.
- Make sure that you have power and water supply to the greenhouse. Relying solely on pipes and extension cables isn’t such a good idea.
- Most good sized aquaponics set-ups make use of power. And its failure can be quite damaging. So ensure that there is some power backup – and if possible also ensure that you are informed in some way in case the power goes out.
- Finally, it may not be possible to pass large fish tanks through the door of your small greenhouse. In that case – get your tanks and the rest of the set up in place, and then build the greenhouse around them.
Armed with these handy tips of using an aquaponics greenhouse, you can now utilize the outdoor space and watch your plants and fish grow and thrive all year round! Of course, you should ideally visit your nearby nursery or gardening shop for supplies, and it is best to get more information and get better acquainted with the nitty-gritties of greenhouses from them.