Your Ultimate Guide to What Aquaponics Supplies You Need
Aquaponics is the method of growing plants organically in a grow bed in a fish tank. Fish are placed in the tank, and water from the fish tank, which contains nitrates and other nutrients, helps the plants in the grow bed to thrive.
If you are fascinated with hydroponics, you need to understand its basics, such as the aquaponics supplies you need. Regardless of the aquaponics system you want, they likely have the same essential supplies. Each of these is important in having a successful aquaponics system. Continue reading to know the aquaponics supplies you need.
What Materials Do You Need For Aquaponics?
If you are ready to build your aquaponics system, you need the suitable materials and supplies to build and optimize your system.
1. Fish Tanks
Your fish tank is one of the most crucial aquaponics growing supplies. You can’t have your hydroponics systems without it. A fish tank provides the right environment for fish to thrive and provide the vegetables grown with the right nutrients.
When buying or making your fish tank, you have many options to choose from depending on the type of fish you intend to keep. You need to ensure that you have a food-grade fish tank, and you should position it on a steady stand.
2. Grow Beds
Grow beds are the next type of commercial aquaponics supplies you have to consider. This is where you’ll grow your plants inside your fish tank.
Your grow bed should be 15 inches tall. Usually, 12 inches of your grow bed is immersed in the water, and 1 inch has to be on top to function as a weight for your media and manage algae.
You can opt for any grow bed that has water and can support your chosen media. While you can purchase a grow bed online, it’s best to look for one at your local aquaponics supplies store. Similar to fish tanks, your grow bed should be food-grade as well.
3. Growing Media
Your growing media is what will hold your plants securely, and it can be placed above or on the side of your fish tank. Hence, it is one of the aquaponics supplies worth considering. It’s also a substitute for nitrifying bacteria that transforms ammonia into nitrates.
For growing media, you have many options to choose from, with the most common ones being lava rock, ¾-inch river rock, and hydroton or clay pebbles. Most people consider clay pebbles their favorite media since they are PH neutral and hold the moisture well.
4. Water Pump
A water pump comes in handy to ensure there is adequate water in the entire system. The water is pumped, and it will get cleaned through the bio-filter, ensuring that your fish tank has clean water.
Before purchasing a water pump, you need to check its head, depending on how high your grow bed is. The water in your fish tanks should be cycled at least once per hour.
5. Water Testing Kit
Besides the water pump, a water testing kit is the other essential supply for large and small aquaponics systems. This kit will come in handy to help you check the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH levels. The range for pH levels is 6 to 8.8.
6. Bell Siphon
A bell siphon will prove helpful if you have a media-based aquaponics system. This is one of the helpful aquaponics supplies that can help facilitate efficient water movement from the media bed to the fish tank. This helps to ensure that your grow bed maintains a minimum water level after removing excess water.
As water drains from the standpipe, more water builds up inside the bell, forcing air out via the standpipe. This helps to improve oxygen circulation in the water, ensures plant roots are hydrated, and prevents water stagnation.
There are two types of siphons you can choose from for your aquaponics system. These are bell siphon and U-siphon, with the former being the more popular choice.
7. Air Pump and Air Stones
An air pump is one of the aquaponics supplies you need on your list that is used in the media bed and fish tanks. Your air pump will give oxygen to the fish; hence, it should be placed in an area with good ventilation near your fish tank.
It’s recommended to protect it from external elements such as wind, snow, and rain. Similarly, air stones produce tiny bubbles with oxygen to ensure proper air circulation in your fish tank. They are usually put in the fish tank, and less volume of water will be pumped if the air stones are deep.
8. PVC Pipes
You may need PVC pipes depending on the type of your grow bed. You may also need these for your solid lifting overflow, utilizing around 2 inches.
Three-inch PVC pipes may be enough if you create an aquaponics system as a hobby. Bigger pipes will come in handy as commercial aquaponics supplies for a larger commercial structure since a biological film on the sides of the pipes can reduce the diameter of the pipes.
9. Tray for Seed Starters
You might need a seed starting tray to maintain a high humidity level when you germinate seeds. You don’t need to purchase this since you can use any content available in your home.
10. Bulkheads or Uniseals
Bulkheads or uniseals are commercial aquaponics supplies that link your aquaponics system to your containers. It’s recommended to utilize a bulkhead at the bottom of your grow bed and uniseals for the SLO.
The benefit of choosing a uniseal instead of a bulkhead is flexibility. The former can also be utilized for round containers like a drum, while a bulkhead does well on flat surfaces such as the bottom of your grow bed. Though it’s more expensive, it’s more durable.
11. Solid Filter
You won’t need solid filters if you plan to utilize backyard aquaponics with your grow bed. You can also skip getting these aquaponic supplies if you have the correct stocking densities of 1 pound of fish per cubic foot of your grow media. A solid filter prevents the breakdown of solids and nitrification in the grow bed.
12. Timers and Controllers
These are useful supplies for when you want to control the temperature of your system. They are also helpful for lighting and pumping.
13. Rockwool Cubes
Rockwool cubes are essential aquaponics supplies to set up your seeds. These are good at water retention and have many air pockets. One and a half inches is ideal for lettuce and other leafy vegetables.
14. EC Meter
This meter gets the electrical conductivity measurement of your water to help you determine the solid content of your water source. You will know that the water in your fish tank has many minerals if the PPM is more than 200. You can also use it to determine the nutrient strength of your water.
Can You Get Sick From Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is safe if you follow the proper steps. It is considered one of the safest agriculture methods to lower your chance of getting pathogenic contamination.
However, according to a study, there could be a presence of STEC or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in aquaponics and hydroponics growing systems. Nevertheless, consuming food from aquaponics is healthier than those purchased at local stores.
Now you know the aquaponics supplies you need to get started. The right aquaponics supplies are crucial in making your aquaponics thrive. Before building your system, ensure that you understand your goals in choosing the right aquaponics supplies.