Why Choosing Your Aquaponics Tank Is Important?
Most people are currently harvesting fish and plants at the comfort of their houses, thanks to hydroponic systems with an aquaponics tank. This tank is an essential component of the aquaponics system as it determines the project’s success. It’s in the tank where your fish will stay until maturity, so choosing the right fish tank will ensure they’re safe and healthy.
You can make or buy a fish tank, but the main concern lies in its size. If you have challenges knowing how big it should be, you’re in the right place.
This article will show you why choosing your hydroponic fish tank is essential, bearing in mind how big it should be. You’ll also learn the best aquaponics fish tank design to opt for to provide a conducive environment for your plants and fish.
How Big of a Tank Do You Need for Aquaponics?
How big the tank should be is directly proportional to the size of the aquaponics project you want to establish. A bigger aquaponics system will require more water for the plants and fish to co-exist peacefully. Adequate water supply will also give the fish enough living space to reduce the spread of diseases and stress allowing them to live healthily.
Many factors will determine the size of your aquaponics tank. They include:
The Grow Bed Size
How big your aquaponics tank is will depend on the size of the grow bed you want. This requires you to know the size and design of the system. Remember, fish waste is essential in this system as they feed the plants. The plants are beneficial to the fish as they filter out impurities in the water.
So, the water volume in the fish tank will affect the number of fish and plants that grow. High ammonia concentration in the water is harmful to fish growth, pointing to the need for a grow bed to help recycle water from the tank.
Generally, you should have a grow bed to aquaponics tank in the ratio of 1:1 to equalize their volumes. However, you can change this ratio depending on your location, the type of fish you’re using, and the system.
The Kind of Fish for The Setup
Your choice of fish will determine the size of the aquaponics tank to use in this system. If you’re growing edible fish, go for a bigger tank to increase stability. Such a tank should also contain food-safe materials and should be strong enough. It should be at least 18 inches deep and hold about 50 gallons of water. It’s best to have the fish to plant ratio to know the ideal fish tank size.
However, if you want to grow aquarium fish, the tank plus the system will be smaller. Remember, such fish only act as decorations or pets and don’t require a bigger fish tank to grow on.
Note that the size of the tank will affect how the kind of fish you grow thrives. So, you need to be careful about it. Most people prefer tilapia because they’re easy to maintain and tend to grow faster.
The Number of Fish You Add to The System
The number of fish you settle for will affect the size of the aquaponics tank to use in this kind of farming. Apart from the number, you should know the length and weight of the fish you expect to rear. As you know, a bigger fish will require more space. So, if you want to grow big fish in large numbers, your hydroponic fish tank capacity has to increase.
If you opt for a smaller tank that holds 50 gallons or less, it’s best to stock a 1-inch fish for each gallon of water. If your tank’s capacity is 20 gallons, it should have 20 1-inch fish in the system.
However, if your tank is above 50 gallons, stock the 1 lb. fish for every 5 or ten gallons of water. Alternatively, you can have 1 or 2 fish for 10 gallons of water. For example, if you opt for tilapia and settle for a 500 liters tank, you’ll have about 40 grown fish at your disposal.
It’s advisable not to have 1 lb. fish for 3 gallons of water as this will increase their stress, encourage disease spread, and create an imbalance in the system.
How Do I Make an Aquaponics Fish Tank?
If you don’t want to buy a ready-made aquaponics tank, it’s good to make one that meets your needs. You can use a recycled bathtub, barrels, or IBC tanks. Here’s how to do this with a recycled barrel;
- Two barrels
- Six concrete blocks
- Spirit level
- Some plywood
- Sikaflex in caulking gun
Step To Step Guide on How to Make the Aquaponics Tank
If you decide to do a DIY project, it’s best to learn all the steps to avoid messing. Before using the barrels, ensure they’re clean with no chemical traces on them. The first barrel will grow the fish, while the second one will be for plants.
Since this project needs continuous water flow, the aquaponics tank should be raised if you’re not using a water pump. But also, having the grow bed above the fish tank is possible as long as it enables water flow.
- The first step you need to do is make a hole in the tank where the water pump tube will pass through to the grow bed.
- Then fix the aquarium water pump into the fish tank (use gutters if you’re creative enough).
- Allow the connector tube to pass through the holes you made to the grow bed. Also, install a connector (valve and bulkhead between the tank and grow bed).
- After that, install the grow bed (second barrel) above the fish tank. Make holes at the bottom of the grow bed where water will drain into the tank. Also, have a hole for the tube for the water pump to pass through.
- Add grow medium into the grow bed. But this is after making holes in the tubes.
- Then add water into the hydroponic fish tank.
- Introduce your fish into the system.
- Do test the water Ph level to ensure it’s not more than 7.0 or less to avoid imbalance.
It’s advisable not to install the hydroponic fish tank with direct sunlight as that will encourage algae growth. Algae on the tank will require you to scrape them off or introduce a fish that eats them, which is more expensive.
Note that it’s best to make a bigger aquaponics tank to give you room for making errors and learning if you’re a beginner. This is because things don’t happen faster in a bigger system.
What To Consider When Choosing Your Aquaponics Tank Size
You need to consider the following before settling for the right tank size;
The Shape of The Tank
Even though any aquaponics tank design can do its best to work with a round tank with a flat bottom. A round tank will provide even water circulation. It will also create the right water current that improves fish health if they swim against it.
Oxygen level also increases in this setup, and it also becomes easier to manage the wastes. This shows that even if the fish tank is smaller but round with a flat bottom, your fish will enjoy staying here. However, the square-shaped fish tanks and the rectangular ones are also acceptable.
The Cover and Shading of The Tank
The fish cover and shading affect the size of the aquaponics tank. A bigger round tank with a flat bottom without cover is not worthy. A coverless fish tank paves the way for the fish to pop outside and enables dirt in. Also, fish don’t like staying in lit areas, so the shading provides a conducive environment.
Use a fishing net as a cover, while the agricultural shading nets are good for shielding light from the hydroponic fish tank.
A fiberglass or plastic fish tank is the best as they’re strong and durable. These materials are also lightweight, enabling you to do the DIY project easily. But you’ve got to ensure there are no leakages on the tank as it will reduce the water volume even if the tank is bigger.
It should also not contain harmful chemicals that can affect the health of your fish, making you incur losses.
A hydroponic fish tank made of strong materials can hold more water and tolerate fish movement. A stronger tank with a high water volume will hold more fish than a bigger fragile tank.
Your choice of aquaponics tank will determine how successful your smart farming is. The size of the tank will allow you to bring in more fish and plant more veggies. This will attract more income and encourage healthy eating.
However, you’ve got to consider the material composition, the tank’s shape, and cover/ shading as they can affect the number of fish in the system. But what determines the size of the aquaponics tank is the kind and number of fish you’ve got and the grow bed, as this guide has elaborated.