Regardless of whether you’re highly experienced or a newcomer to aquaponics, mistakes can happen to anyone, and simple mistakes can cost you your time, money, fish and plants.
It can be very frustrating and time consuming when big mistakes happen, which is why it’s so important to monitor your aquaponics system often. Here are 5 frequent problems with aquaponics to serve as a reminder for you.
1) Not Testing Ammonia Levels Often
It’s vital that ammonia levels are checked frequently to ensure that there isn’t a build-up of the toxic substance. Too much of it in the fish tank is hazardous to the health of the fish and will end up killing them.
Ammonia is produced by the fish’s respiratory system and is discharged from their gills. Ammonia must be diluted, converted or removed completely. Test ammonia levels at least once a week, and look out for any dead fish as they will also produce ammonia.
2) Letting Bugs Roam
The moment you spot any bugs that are harmful to plants, such as aphids, it’s best to get rid of them before their population grows. You can combat them in the following ways.
Catch them with bug traps and throw them in the fish tank for fish to feed on. Fish will eat certain bugs such as caterpillars and slugs. You can save money on fish food this way.
Mix organic solution with water, and put the liquid in a bottle spray and spray your plants with it. Bugs will naturally repel from the smell as they will find it unattractive.
Use predator bugs such as ladybirds to eat plant critters such as aphids. Beetles and spiders are also good predators and will not damage your plants.
3) Having Too Many Fish In The Tank
As a general rule of thumb, for every 20 litres of water, there should be one fish. If you’re a bit more experienced you can have a denser population of fish but it requires more monitoring and more mistakes can happen.
For an efficient aquaponics system and healthy fish, you need to have a comfortable environment for your fish. Too much fish can lead to a build-up of ammonia and fish waste that will be excessive for the biofilter to handle.
4) Allowing The Water To Get Too Hot
It’s crucial to understand what temperature range your species of fish can live in. Having the water temperature too high will result in less oxygen for your fish.
The popular aquaponics fish, the Tilapia can handle warm tropical water temperatures while others prefer cooler climates. Check the temperature of your water at least once a week to see if it’s ideal for the fish you have in your tank.
5) Inflexible Aquaponics System Design
If you’re going to build your own aquaponics system, make sure that the design is properly planned out so that you can easily upscale or move your system later on if you want.
A common mistake that some people make is making their entire fish tank difficult to access by putting their grow bed right above it in a way where the four corners of the fish tank is hard to reach.
This is problematic because you need to be able to see what’s going on in all places of the fish tank, incase there’s dead fish or if you need to change the water.
For more information on aquaponics, please check out the blog of hydroponics and aquaponics.