Do You Need To Change The Water In An Aquaponics Fish Tank?
Aquaponics fish tanks bring solutions to even a fish farmer’s most basic need. Aquaponics has become a highly efficient means to deliver nutrients without the need to change the water. You may be wondering why the need to change the water in an aquaponics fish tank is not necessary. There is just a need to add water that is lost to evaporation or transpiration.
An aquaponics fish tank is like a self-contained ecosystem which produces the right conditions for your plants and fish. It is also a self-cleaning system which makes it pretty much manageable as you do not need to replace the water regularly.
How Does It Work?
Aquaponics is a known sustainable method in growing food. It works on the basic premise that the waste produced by the fish becomes food for your plants, the existing plants clean the water for your fish, and then a continuous cycle goes on and on.
What types of aquaponics fish and plants can you consider?
A variety of fish can work well in this kind of setup but the common choices are tilapia which are considered the easiest fish to care for and grow. They are also not prone to diseases. Goldfish are also considered ideal because of the huge waste they produce. Koi can also be grown because of their high resale value. Ornamental fish like guppies and tetras can be placed as well.
Others have catfish but take into consideration that they do not have scales. Barramundi is the so-called prince of fish in the world of aquaponics. Carp can also be an option because they are easy to grow and you can reproduce them well.
When it comes to plants that grow well in aquaponics are lettuce, kale, watercress, basil, mint. Others with well-established aquaponics fish tanks can grow tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, strawberries, and peppers.
How To Know When Your Aquaponics Fish Tank Needs Water Replacement?
This happens when you add too many fish than the ideal capacity of your existing aquaponics system. When you feed your fish too much, it results in having active bacterial growth.
When fish food is eaten by your aquaponics fish, and they secrete waste through their urine and gills. Heterotrophic bacteria are a type of beneficial bacteria that process the waste and uneaten waste but this results in ammonia. A rise in ammonia levels can become toxic to your plants and fish.
What Will Help Keep An Aquaponics Fish Tank Clean?
Heterotrophic bacteria manage the ammonia and nitrite present in your aquaponics system. They help keep your aquaponics fish and plants healthy and alive.
To create a healthy system, there needs to be fish, plants, and helpful bacteria to keep the water clean for the fish and provide plants with the nutrients they need to grow. The plants act as a filter helping the water remain clean and livable for your fish.
What Are The Reasons Why You Need To Change The Water In Your Aquaponics System?
The main reason you need to change the water is when you have extreme algae problems. Algae can be a major problem since it can impact your aquaponics fish tank by affecting its natural pH and the nutrients needed by your plants.
What Are The Three Zones In An Aquaponics System?
An aquaponics system has three zones that help distribute nutrients while waste is broken down. It is advisable that the grow bed is 12 inches deep to achieve the best conditions for your fish and plants.
- Zone 1 or surface zone is the uppermost layer. It prevents the evaporation of moisture and algae growth.
- Zone 2 or root zone is the area where most activity takes place. This area has enough oxygen that helps the roots of your plants. Bacteria, worms, and microbes are active in this area and this is where they accumulate.
- Zone 3 or mineralization is where you find fish waste solids and worm castings. This zone receives oxygen-rich water.
How You Can Prevent Algae In Your Aquaponics Fish Tank?
This is the easiest way to help prevent the growth of algae. You need to block the light because this is a condition that algae find conducive to grow and reproduce. You can shade your fish tanks or use a tarp with a darker color to cover them.
Other fish tank owners paint their tanks on top to reflect the sun’s heat and prevent water from heating. Others put additional gravel or rocks to prevent light from reaching the areas with moisture.
In other aquaponics fish tanks, owners put a mechanical filtration system to help remove algae. This strains algae out from your system.
Some fish tank owners consider using humic acid. This chemical helps darken the water and prevents the further growth of algae.
Ensure your pipes and pumps work properly
You have to ensure that these parts are working correctly. They also have to be clean.
How To Maintain Your Aquaponics System?
Even though you do not need to change the water regularly as long as there are no algae outbreaks, you still have to maintain your system properly. First, you need to give your fish a quality diet. Avoid giving live food to the fish to prevent introducing diseases in your tank.
Second, you have to give them food quantity that they can consume in more or less five minutes. You can feed them two to three times a day. However, you have to manage the food you give to maintain the pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrate levels in the tank.
A healthy pH is between 6.8 to 7.0. It is considered a neutral and ideal level for fish, plants, and bacteria. Ammonia and nitrite levels should be at low levels, almost no-detectable if necessary.
If you find the pH levels off, such as dropping below 7.0, you can use powdered potassium carbonate or calcium hydroxide. In taking care of your plants, follow your regular gardening methods except there should be fewer weeds growing.
Why Has Aquaponics Become Popular?
Aquaponics uses less water than traditional farming. You can also reduce the time needed compared to regular fishkeeping and the plants do the cleaning for you.
Aquaponics is an organic process. The use of harsh chemicals is not considered since they will be deadly for the fish. It also needs less time than other forms of food gardening. The advantage of this is that food can be grown almost anywhere from greenhouses to indoor spaces. When you consider maintaining an aquaponics system, the choice remains in your hands should you want to manage a system that can feed a huge number of people or just a family with a small number of members.
Is Aquaponics A Way To Solve Food Insecurity?
The human population constantly grows which is why food demand increases. This leads us to the topic of having an adequate food supply for everyone around the globe. Moreover, agricultural spaces have been dwindling to make up room for other things such as housing.
As traditional agriculture is being affected by soil quality and climate change, also, crops can get damaged by pests and by rains and floods. But a rising farming system like aquaponics allows taking care of fish and growing plants at the same time.
Its advantages include a lesser need for land and fertilizer because the system is already self-reliant. It creates a cycle where it can create sustainability around the system. Fish waste becomes the fertilizer needed by plants, plants give off oxygen to keep the fish alive, and the bacteria inside the tank helps clean the whole system. It is also not dependent on the weather.
Aquaponics may help solve food insecurity in communities that rely heavily on importation. It can be a convenient way to prevent food loss during the transportation process and it cuts the chain length as well.
Aquaponics technology can be more efficient and economical than traditional farming. It can be a method that can be optimized to become a practical and operable solution to help the global food supply.
An aquaponics fish tank does not require you to change the water often. It still needs a form of maintenance such as checking the filters. You have to check that everything is in the right place and is working properly. Check for blocked pipes or water pumps to ensure that the cycle is not interrupted. This keeps the fish and plants healthy and the whole ecosystem to keep on thriving.
Though the system can care for itself, you have to make sure that you give a helping hand to get optimal results. Aquaponics fish tanks are truly promising, aside from letting you perform a hobby or something you like doing, they also can be a means to provide food to the table.