Undoubtedly, aquaponic gardens can provide you a great deal of delicious fish and fresh vegetables. The plants and animals in an aquaponic system have a symbiotic relationship. In this aquaculture and hydroponics combine to grow plants and fish together in one integrated system. The waste produced by farmed fish supplies the nutrients for plants grown and the plants provide a natural filter for the water.
Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. If you are trying aquaponics for the very first time, the chances of getting stuck with aquaponics are too much. If you do a lot of mistakes repeatedly in your aquaponic system, you can lose fish and plants that you’ve cherished for weeks. So, it is important to maintain the health of both plants and fish. Have a look at the top 3 problems with aquaponics Australia and how to avoid them.
Top 3 common problems with Aquaponics Australia
Poor quality water
Starting with poor quality water is one of the biggest mistakes of first-time growers in their aquaponics system. The proper amount of acid, neutral and alkaline should be there in the water. In addition, Most of the people use fluoride and chlorine for the water cleaning process. Especially, Chlorine can be poisonous to fish. It is recommended that do not use tap water for your aquaponics system. If the tap is the only medium to provide fresh water, then you need to off-gas the water before letting the fish come in contact with. The proper pH for a productive aquaponics system will typically be in the range of 6.0-6.4. So you need to consider the quality of water for the growth of your aquaponics Australia system.
Too much fish in the tank
The second problem among those beginners is that they add too much fish in the tank. The quantity of fish you have in the aquaponics system and the size of the fish tank will affect the efficiency of your system. Having too much fish in the tank can provide many bad effects. Excess numbers can cause small fish to die; larger fish may feed on the smaller fish or over fertilization of plants. Plenty of fish waste can kill the plant as well. A general rule for a media based home aquaponics Australia system is to add one fish in every 20 liters of water.
Poor climate control
Temperature is one of the important factors that can make or break your aquaponics system. Make sure to keep a temperature in a range your fish can tolerate. Low sunlight can prevent plant to grow but excess sunlight can boil your fish tank. So, it is important to monitor your system frequently to ensure it stays within the range. You need to shade the plants in summer, especially if you are living in a very hot climate. Opposite to it, too little sunlight can cause many problems for your plants. You need proper sunlight in the winter for your aquaponics Australia system; otherwise, there are chances of plants withering away. Make sure there is proper lighting into your system design, and strongly monitor the climate of the tank so your fish and plants can grow perfectly.
Most of the readers of this post might not be familiar with hydroponics. The term hydroponics was coined in 1937 by Gericke after he grew tomato vines in his backyard in a solution of nutrient without using soil. It is a subset of soilless culture which is a technique of growing plants without using soil. It is the use of nutrient solution which differentiates hydroponics from other soilless culture techniques.
Till now, following six hydroponics methods have been developed:
- Water culture: It is the simplest and least expensive method of hydroponics. A platform made up of Styrofoam holds plants. The nutrient solution is kept directly below the platform. This system consists of an air pump and an airstone. When air is supplied to the airstone; the airstone in addition to supplying oxygen to the roots also creates bubbles of nutrient solution.
- Wink system: This method of hydroponics makes use of capillary action to supply nutrient to the root. This system comprises of wicks, a reservoir and growing medium. Perlite, ProMixs, coconut fibre and vermiculite are the most popular growing mediums used in the wick system. Nutrient solution to the growing medium is supplied through wicks using capillary action.
- Flood and Drain method: This system consists of a timer controlled pump submerged in the reservoir, and a grow tray. The pump is used to flood the grow tray with nutrient solution and then drain it by drawing the nutrient solution back into the reservoir. In this system, it is required to use growing mediums which can retain more water. Coconut fibre, Rockwool, Vermiculite are the most suitable for this method.
- Drip system: Like Flood and drain method, drip system also consists of a grow tray and a timer controlled pump submerged in reservoir. The pump is turned on by the timer and nutrient solution is supplied to grow tray using drip lines. Recovery and non-recovery are the two types of drip system. In recovery drip system, the excess solution is reused. In the non-recovery drip system, the excess nutrient solution runs-off.
- Nutrient Film Technique:F.T. system consists of a pump (without any timer) submerged in the reservoir. This pump continually pumps the nutrient solution into the growing tray. This system uses air as growing medium. The solution flows over roots of plants without any interruption and then is drained back into the reservoir.
- Aeroponic: This system is quite similar to N.F.T. as it also uses air as growing medium. The root of a plant hangs in the air and is misted with nutrient solution. Roots being exposed to air are likely to get dried quickly. Therefore, misting is done for a few seconds after a few minutes using a timer controlled pump submerged in the reservoir.
Hydroponic Xpress and Aquaponics is the largest hydroponic shop, aquaponic warehouse and display centre in Perth where you can buy all hydroponic essentials at very affordable prices. Visit the website of Hydroponic Xpress to learn more about hydroponics.
The Garden Gurus show how growing your own fish and vegetables at home in aquaponics is not only water wise but you can have fresh home grown produce all year round!
The Garden Gurus install a small aquaponics systems and show you how to have your own fish and vegetables freshly available all year round.
Take a tour of Perth Hydroponics Xpress and Aquaponics WA massive showroom and display centre in Canning Vale, Western Australia.
Maurice van Aurich from Aquaponics WA explains the importance of using expanded clay in an aquaponics system and why round fish tanks are a better choice than square or rectangle. Expanded clay helps convert ammonia to nitrite then to nitrate which becomes available for healthy plant growth and in turn cleans the water to recycle back to the fish tank.
Join Todd Johnson and the Greenfingers team to visit Hydroponic Xpress and Aquaponics WA showroom and display centre in Canning Vale, Perth, Western Australia.