COMERCIAL AQUAPONICS

So you want to get started with your own commercial scale Aquaponics. I've teamed up with Andrew Dezsery an expert in the field for the last 20 years.He's offering for free, Report On Aquaculture & Horticulture Integration (Aquaponics).

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN LITTLE HOME AQUAPONICS SET UP

On the weekend having moved into a new apartment and having to get rid of my old aquaponics set up. It was time to build a new one. So I decided to go with something decorative.

What you need

  • A large net pot
  • A large glass fish bowl or vase
  • decorative rocks to hold the plant in place (larger rocks are better, as they are easy to move when you need to feed the fish)
  • Small air pump to keep the tank oxygenated
  • Peace Lily
  • Small Fish

3D PRINTED AQUAPONICS MODS PLUS MORE

This is the bell siphon I designed for my aquaponics set up. The breather tube on the side allows air to reach the top to help stop the siphon. You can adjust it up and down via the thread.

This fitting for the hose is for cleaning out the breather tube on the bell siphon. An O-ring was added to make it seal with the hose fitting.

Cowmole Co. New 225pcs Seal O-Ring Gaskets Set Air Conditioning Rubber Washer O Ring Assortment Kit for R22 R134a Purple Standard Parts Hot

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Simple U-Lock for IBC Aquaponics

This fitting for the hose is for cleaning out the breather tube on the bell siphon. An O-ring was added to make it seal with the hose fitting.

Here’s some extra things I added to and around my IBC Aquaponics set up.

This solar air pump, is usefull for adding extra oxgen to the water for the fish. It’s also a great back up for if the pump breaks.

Anself 5V AC/DC Solar Power Charging Oxygenator Fish Tank Aquarium Air Pump Fishing Oxygen Pump Aerator with Air Stones

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This solar light is used on the ‘bug zapper"‘ mode and I drilled a hole in the plastic bottom. This way at night, insects will get zapped and fall into the water to be eaten by the fishes.

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This float valve is used and connected to a smaller tank to keep the water from getting to low. Very hot summers where I am located, so I get a decent amount of evaporation.

Kerick Valve MA052 PVC Mini Float Valve, Tank Mount, Adjustable Arm, 1.5 gpm at 60 psi, 1/2" NPT Male

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This great outdoor solar light as some much needed lighting around the garden at night. As long as you have sunny days, they are certainly bright enough.

Solar Motion Sensor Light, JUSLIT 74 COB LED Solar Lights Outdoor, Security Light with Night Light Diming Mode, Waterproof Wireless 270° Wide Angle Motion Detector light for Garage Porch Step(2PK)

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Click to download the 3D Files

Here are the .stl files for download. Let me know in the comments how you go and if you have any suggestions for improving the designs.

BEST PLANTS FOR AQUAPONICS

When it comes to aquaponics, some plants are better to grow than others. Some might be great for an enthusiast, but not the best for commercial systems. Use this simple charts as quick guide to get started with your aquaponics.

The best plants for a commercial aquaponics system

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home pagewww.desima.co

The best plants for a enthusiast/hobbyist aquaponics system

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

Do you agree with the lists? Anything you would ad or change? Let us know in the comments below.

HOW TO GET STARTED WITH AQUAPONICS

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE! Report On Aquaculture & Horticulture Integration (Aquaponics).

What is aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a way of growing plants and aquatic animals together in the same system. It is the combination of the two conventional farming techniques, aquaculture and hydroponics. Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic animals like fish and shrimps. In hydroponics, plants are grown in water using mineral nutrient solutions, without soil. So, aquaponics is growing of plants while rearing aquatic organisms together. In this great combination, fish and plants live in a symbiotic relationship. Fish in the water tank excrete waste. The water in the tank that contains fish waste is pumped out to the media bed where plants grow. There are bacteria in the media bed and they convert the fish waste in to smaller absorbable compounds. These are the nutrients for plants that they use for their growth. So plants absorb the nutrient compounds in this media bed. In another way, plants have helped to purify the fish waste in water. This cleaned water is returned back to the fish tank. It is a symbiotic relationship where fish feed the plants and plants clean water for fish to live in.

In aquaculture the waste from aquatic animals accumulate in water and increase the toxicity. Fish excrete ammonia as a metabolic product. Higher concentration of ammonia is toxic to fish. Excess ammonia can cause diseases and even death, so need to be removed from the system. The nitrogen cycle circulates these products within the system and helps detoxify the water.

Illustration of the Nitrogen cycle in aquaponics

Nitrogen Cycle

Bacteria play an important role in aquaponics systems by performing major steps of the nitrogen cycle. In aquaponics systems, the bacteria colonies form on solid media surfaces. The toxic ammonia, released by fish, is broken down to nitrites and then to nitrates, which are lesser toxic to organisms than ammonia. This process is called the nitrification. The two groups of bacteria, Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter are involved in nitrification. Nitrosomonas convert ammonia to nitrites and Nitrobacter convert these nitrites to nitrates. The toxicity of nitrites is lesser than ammonia and nitrates are even lesser toxic than nitrites. Plants absorb both these nitrites and nitrates. On the other hand, now the water is clean, without ammonia, and is sent back to the fish tank.

The bacteria are a group of microorganisms, which are minute and cannot be seen by our naked eyes. Though some bacteria cause diseases and harmful to humans some bacteria are helpful and essential for us. Nitrifying bacteria are those who convert ammonia to nitrites and nitrates, like Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter. They are kind of helpful bacteria. Nitrites (NO2- ) and nitrates (NO3- ) are two forms of ions, soluble in water, produced in the nitrification process in the nitrogen cycle. These ions are easily absorbable by plants and they are essential plant nutrients. But for fish, these ions are toxic, if accumulated in higher concentrations in water.

 

Source: http://www.evanimal.com/MISE-MAGAZINE

Aquaponics and sustainable living

Aquaponics is a way to produce organic food without adding chemical fertilisers. Both the harvest of plants and the fish produce can be consumed. Not only that, it uses the resources to the maximum. It has an efficient water usage. Recirculation of water between the water tank and media bed ensures the maximum usage of water. You don’t have to purchase nutrients regularly for your plants. You only have to buy fish feed. It is an environmental friendly way of sustainable food production, providing meat (fish) and vegetables.

The resources in the nature are declining and the world needs more sustainable food production to feed the growing population. If you can practice aquaponics, may be in commercial scale one day, you are contributing to fulfil this need in a sustainable manner. If you do it small scale now, you can enjoy the fresh organic harvest of plants and fish produce at your own home, in a sustainable manner.

My first aquaponics system

If you are going to build an aquaponics system for the first time, start smaller. There are different types of aquaponics systems. ‘Media based systems’ use a non-soil medium in grow beds. They are the most common and most suitable for home use since they are easy to maintain. Deep water culture (DWC) / raft based and NFT (nutrient flow technique) are two other types of aquaponics systems. DWC is the preferred system among commercial scale growers.

Though an aquaponics system has complex chemical conversions of nutrients by microorganisms, setting up of a small scale aquaponics system is not that hard. The basic things you need are water-pump, air-pump, water heaters and media for plants. A water pump is used to pump water from the tank to the growing beds. You need to select suitable plant varieties and fish types. Leafy green vegetables are popular as plants suitable for aquaponics.

As growing media you can use river rocks, but be aware of limestone. Rocks that contain limestone change the pH of your water. Another option is clay balls that can be purchased. The bacteria forms colonies on the surfaces of your media rocks, so the media should have the maximum surface area. Over time media beds will build up solids. Your system may need to be cleaned every 7 months if you do not have enough filtration. Worms may take over a role in your system. They digest any organic matter in water.

Do you want a bigger system? This might be a question in your mind. The decision to move to a bigger system should be chosen wisely at the correct time. If you need to rear more fish and grow more plants or you need an income from this, you can think about moving to the next level. Generally speaking, larger systems are easier to maintain, more constant water temperature and less fluctuations in water quality. However it’s best to get experience on a smaller set up first. Our Aqua Garden system is good for an intermediate stage. For a commercial scale system, you will need a land area and capital investment. Once you are confident with the management of aquaponics systems and you have basic knowledge and adequate skills you can go to a bigger scale system.

 

The Best Fish for Aquaponics (Infographic updated in 2017

How to select best fish for aquaponics?

Choosing the best fish for your aquaponics system depends on several factors. You may rear fish as an ornamental or for your consumption. Some major things to consider, when selecting fish for your system are, environmental conditions, feed source, your purpose and size of the fish and tank. Are you living in a hot, cold or tropical weather? The fish type you select should be able to tolerate your environmental conditions. The fish should match to the size of your tank. Some fish grows bigger and some fish, even they are small, need a big space to swim through. Also, importantly, check whether the fish type you select does not have legal restrictions. Some fish are prohibited to be cultivated in certain countries. Most commonly used edible fish types are Tilapia, Barramundi and Murray Cod. The favourites among ornamental aquaponics growers are Gold fish, Koi and Siamese Fighting Fish (Beta). Fish types have their own features that you need to consider when selecting them to be in your tank. If you use Siamese fighting fish, you cannot put more than one in a single tank as they fight with each other. You need to select a fish feed, like fish food or dead fish, depending on your fish type.

Gold fish is a great option for you as a starting aquaponics grower. They can live well in a wide temperature range between 10 to 23C (50 to 74 F). Not like Siamese fish you can put any number of Gold fish in one tank. Gold fish are the easiest to get started with because of the wide range of conditions and temperatures they can endure. When you are starting out in aquaponics, Gold fish are recommended as they are the easiest to work with.

How to maintain your aquaponics system

After setting up your aquaponics system you need to wait some time before adding fish. At first, use a source of ammonia such as urine or seaweed extract. This is to cycle your aquaponics system. Bacteria colonies form during this time. The aquaponics system should have built up its cycle before adding fish. For a small system, it takes about 6- 8 weeks to run smoothly. Ensure proper circulation and then you can add fish after this time.

Once your aquaponics system is established and running, you need to maintain it to ensure the smooth functioning. It is essential to test your water regularly. The parameters you have to check are the pH, temperature and water quality. Temperature should be in the range suitable for your fish type.The pH is one of the most important factors you need to check.

i. Monitor the pH in your aquaponics system

PH is a measure that gives an idea about the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Your aquaponics solution has free ions in it. The pH measures the concentrations of the ions that are responsible for acidity and is measured in a scale ranges between 0- 14. Pure water has pH 7, which is neutral. The values below 7 are acidic and above 7 are alkaline. The solutions have a certain pH value where pH 1 is extremely acidic and pH 14 is extremely alkaline (basic). The proper pH for an aquaponics system is 6.0 – 6.4. Some ions become unavailable for plants at pH values higher than 7 or at too low pH values. This unavailability means, though the nutrients are present in the solution plant roots cannot absorb them.

The aquaponics systems tend to reduce pH with time due to the nitrogen cycle. Nitrification adds nitrites and nitrates to your system and these ions make the water acidic, means the pH value goes down. This can be adjusted and bring the pH back to the ideal by adding the correct chemicals. If pH goes down, add an alkaline compound and if pH goes up, add and acidic compound that suit. It is also good to add a buffer solution, which can maintain the pH at a desired value. You can use a pH test kit to test the pH of your water. If the pH has risen, to lower it down, you can add nitric or phosphoric acid. There are things that you need to consider when adding these chemicals. Some chemicals may not suitable for your system. For example, phosphoric acid can cause a high growth in algae, so you need to control. Also, avoid citric acid. It is anti-bacterial and will kill your helpful microorganisms. On the other hand, your system’s pH may have gone down and you need to increase it. Try adding calcium carbonate or potassium carbonate or hydroxides of them. Dissolve these chemicals in water and add gradually to your system over a time period while testing the pH. Do not get the chance of a huge pH change in your system as these chemicals are strong and can change your systems pH dramatically. Always wear gloves when handling these chemicals. They can burn your skin. Simply, add the suitable chemical in a safe way to your system.

ii. Add nutrient supplements, if needed

Plants rely on a combination of nutrients. Some of them, like nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), are needed in large quantities and known as macronutrients. The nutrients that are needed in minute amounts are called micronutrients. Some examples are iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu). You may need to add some nutrients like N, P, and K to your aquaponics system as they are not available in fish food and not excreted by fish, but essential for plants. Calcium and iron are also required as supplements. You can add them at regular intervals or when plants show deficiency symptoms. When adding nutrient supplements, you should adjust the pH. Normally potassium and calcium is added as carbonates or hydroxides to increase pH. In this case you are actually adding the potassium and calcium nutrient supplements to your plants. The nutrient supplements can change the pH level of the system. So, best thing is to adjust the pH at the same time you add your nutrient supplements.

iii. Test water regularly and keep records

Test your water and keep notes on them. This help to understand how your system performs.

iv. Know when to harvest your produce

Have a variety of plants that you harvest at different times, so there are always plants to clean the water. The balance between plants and fish is important to maintain the equilibrium in the system.There should be enough plants at every time to remove the waste products of fish. If there is a large number of fish compared to the plants, the toxics may not be removed by the plants completely. This can cause fish diseases and may eventually lead to deaths. If you select different varieties of plants that are suitable for different times, then you always have plants for your system.

v. Check your system components

Ensure good circulation of water between the fish tank and media bed. Poor circulation results in poor oxygen content in your system. A good circulation will reduce the risk of plant and fish disease outbreaks. You can use a filter to avoid entering of particles in to the growing beds. Solids filtration will keep your system running healthier for longer. Keeping backup equipment is also a good idea.

vi. Control the pests

A good pest control plan will keep unwanted insects and pests away from your system. You can choose cultural, biological, physical or chemical pest controlling methods. Each method has advantages and disadvantages and can be selected according to your needs. These should be handled in a safe manner and some methods need extra care. Remember to be very careful when using chemical pest controlling methods, as the chemicals can get in the water and affect the fish.

The Aqua Garden by Desima

‘Aqua Garden’, your first aquaponics system

If you are going to purchase an aquaponics system for the first time, Aqua Garden is a good starter for you. Aqua Garden is a desktop aquaponics system that you can keep on any table, specially designed for home usage. It is ideal for start-ups and you can get started quicker.

Aqua Garden is small enough to go indoors. It includes an acrylic fish tank, 2 bell siphons and 2 media beds. The kit comes with comprehensive instructions. It is great for your desktop in the living room or your garage or even your high-rise roof top. For those in colder climates, Aqua Garden is small enough to be used indoors and thus easier to keep warm for your plants and fish.

Aqua Garden is simple and smaller system to learn first on. Especially, if you are totally new to aquaponics, or you have only had a small ornamental setup, then the Aqua Garden will be the best to learn this farming technique. It is small enough to keep on your desk and big enough to grow your vegetable plants. Most of the desktop aquaponics systems available in the market are not large enough for vegetable plants. But in Aqua Garden, each media bed is large enough for you to grow a tomato plant in it. It is easy to maintain. You do not have to be afraid to start at this small scale. It is ideal to improve your skills and learn to manage your aquaponics system. You will soon be able grow your own healthy organic vegetables and fish at home. May be next you’ll have your very own full size farm.

Click here to order your Aqua Garden.

BIOLOGICAL PEST CONTROLS

Mite Munchers Biological Pest Controls

by Alex Owen

Unfortunately, pests are an inevitable problem facing ALL gardeners and farmers at one point or another. Controlling these bug populations has always presented a quite the challenge for aquaponic growers and farmers. There are so few pesticides that are 100% guaranteed not to be toxic for fish. When dealing with closed-looped systems, especially when those systems are enclosed in a greenhouse, you will soon find yourself with an out-of-control infestation unless you have a reliable system of pest control in place. 

When a pest population requires treatment, the best way to deal with it head on is to use biodiversity to our advantage by educating biological control. Biological control is defined by using one species to control another. For crops and plants, we supply and release ladybugs to eat aphids (although they will eat other soft bodied prey as well), predatory mites to combat spider mites, and I welcome the many species of spiders that spin their webs over plant beds and provide a fantastic catching and killing service. We also use a wide range of nematodes for use on soil crops and fruits (although you can use some species on the plant living bugs also). Predatory wasps also do a very good job as they can seek out high numbers of pests for laying (injecting) their eggs in, the young then use the host as a first meal! Usually within a matter of days, they then burst from the infected host into the world and carry on the cycle started by their parents, a single wasp can have a HUGE impact, there can be up to 100+ young emerging from a single host!!

Biological control is a complex field that requires an understanding of the life cycles of the pests and the beneficial species, and it can not replace preventative practices unless actioned correctly. I always like to start early with treatment plans and over treat certain hotspots picked up on from previous years of growing.. With biological controls there are a lot of benefits to commercial growers and certainly for use in aquaponics due to the sensitiveness of the fish used in the systems.At Mite Munchers we strive to be in front of the problems caused by pests! For any questions you may have head over to our Facbook page @ https://www.facebook.com/mitemunchers/ or try our Garden Pest Control Help Page @ Alex Owen - Mite Munchers Biological Pest Controls

Unfortunately, pests are an inevitable problem facing ALL gardeners and farmers at one point or another. Controlling these bug populations has always presented a quite the challenge for aquaponic growers and farmers. There are so few pesticides that are 100% guaranteed not to be toxic for fish. When dealing with closed-looped systems, especially when those systems are enclosed in a greenhouse, you will soon find yourself with an out-of-control infestation unless you have a reliable system of pest control in place.

When a pest population requires treatment, the best way to deal with it head on is to use biodiversity to our advantage by educating biological control. Biological control is defined by using one species to control another. For crops and plants, we supply and release ladybugs to eat aphids (although they will eat other soft bodied prey as well), predatory mites to combat spider mites, and I welcome the many species of spiders that spin their webs over plant beds and provide a fantastic catching and killing service. We also use a wide range of nematodes for use on soil crops and fruits (although you can use some species on the plant living bugs also). Predatory wasps also do a very good job as they can seek out high numbers of pests for laying (injecting) their eggs in, the young then use the host as a first meal! Usually within a matter of days, they then burst from the infected host into the world and carry on the cycle started by their parents, a single wasp can have a HUGE impact, there can be up to 100+ young emerging from a single host!! 

Biological control is a complex field that requires an understanding of the life cycles of the pests and the beneficial species, and it can not replace preventative practices unless actioned correctly. I always like to start early with treatment plans and over treat certain hotspots picked up on from previous years of growing.. With biological controls there are a lot of benefits to commercial growers and certainly for use in aquaponics due to the sensitiveness of the fish used in the systems.


Advantages of biological pests control

  1.      There is few or no detrimental effect on other organisms or even humans.
  2.     Pests rarely resist biological control.
  3.     Often the results are permanent or for a long time.
  4.     Harmful insecticides are not used.
  5.     Cost/benefit ratio very favorable.
  6.     Avoid secondary pests.
  7.     There are no problems of intoxication of fish and water.

Ten Best Tips for Aquaponics Success using biological controls:

Avoid duckweed The number one problem with new growers and with those interested in aquaponics is the use or the recommended use of duckweed. Yes fish, specifically tilapia, will eat duckweed with gusto, and yes the duckweed will repopulate faster than the fish can eat it. It’s this info that makes it very attractive as a fish feed to aquaponic growers. We’ve even seen claims that duckweed is around 40% protein and that it is perfect diet for those trying to grow a high protein fish. 

Be careful using tap water This is one of the biggest mistakes of first time growers in their aquaponics systems. Most of the cities in the world add chlorine and fluoride to their water. Specifically chlorine can be deadly to fish. If the only access to fresh water you have is through your tap you need to “off gas” the water before letting you fish come in contact with it. If you are setting up a brand new system you can do this by adding the water to the fish tank and letting it sit for 48/72 hours with the aeration unit going. If you have a running system and need to add water to it, you need to off gas.It before you add it to the system. If public utilities is your only access to water it would behoove you to keep a steady supply of off gassed water, just in case.

Don't add too many fishThose starting out tend to want to grow as many fish as possible as quickly as possible. The problem with this is that an overcrowd fish tank results in stunted growth and high nitrate levels, affecting the health of the fish. When starting out with a system for the first time, keep your stocking densities low. Colleagues recommend one pound of fish for every five gallons of water in your fish tank. This is lower than the generally accepted densities but from expert experience low densities do not hinder plant growth and over the lifetime of the system create a more stable environment. In addition it will save you money in feed which adds up over the lifetime of your system. Unless you are growing on a large commercial scale it is highly unlikely that the fish portion of your system will be profitable. As a small scale or hobby grower you should be looking to keep the fish side of the operation as low as possible to maximize your margins. Don’t make the mistake of overstocking, you can always add fish later, it’s a cruel waste to stock too densely and end up losing fish.Plan your Pest Management Strategy Even if you are growing indoors you’ll want to have a plan that you may never need than get caught with unwanted pests. If you are growing outside you definitely want to have a pest management plan. Pests are really the only threat to your plants’ health in aquaponics. A simple Google search for organic pest management will bring up a variety of source material on how to manage pests easily. I promote organic pest management in every case possible, the benefits for us as humans is huge!! By using beneficial insects you will also make your life a lot easier as they do all the hard work for you by hunting out all the pests and dealing with them in various ways.. Choose methods that pertain to the crops you are growing and the region you are in. Some pests are native to certain regions and some are widespread. It is up to you to determine the actions you need for your aquaponic project size and location.

Test Your WaterThe success of any aquaponics system lies in the water. The flip side of that coin is true as well, most failures lie in poor water. Aquaponics is a living ecosystem and nutrient levels in your water fluctuate over the course of time. If certain levels fluctuate too far from where we want them then it can affect the health of our fish and plants in a bad way. The good news is that once a system is established it is very stable and takes minimal maintenance. 

Design your first system with industry standards In addition to experience, the best way is to build up your assumptions with industry best standard math based on already existing systems. So if you are looking to start your first system, look to the internet and those who have experience in aquaponics and utilize their designs for systems. There is no need to reinvent the wheel in this regard. When you do branch out to designing your own systems keep them simple. Do not overcomplicate your design and always design your system around one waterpump. Take advantage of gravity to move water freely whenever you can. Adding more than one pump into the design almost never works out and only causes headaches down the road. 

Use a pH neutral media Another common mistake in aquaponics comes in choosing their media. The issue with almost all media is that they will affect your pH in some way, at least initially. For instance, people use expanded shale in systems. This expanded shale raises pH, in large systems it generally raises it .51pH. This quick initial raise can affect the health of plants and fish and for that reason it is advisable not to add either until a few days after the shale is added. Over the course of about 6 months the pH lowers slowly back to an acceptable range for both the plants and fish. However, there are other suitable options for media that do not affect the pH. These include hydroton and lava rock. On the flip side one example of unacceptable media is limestone. Limestone affects the pH in an irreversible manner and will affect the health of both the fish and the plants. While it is attractive because of its availability and cheap price tag it is not suitable for aquaponics operations. To test to see if the media you picked affects pH, Test the pH of your water, and then add water to a cupful of media and test the pH 2448 hours later. If it has changed significantly you can be certain that your media will affect the pH of your system. 

Do not use harmful additives Aquaponic gardens are systems of relationship and balance. Generally speaking an excessively high or low pH will find equilibrium over time. This is called “returning to homeostasis.” Some people are impatient and resort to using chemical such as muriatic acid to lower their pH. Chemicals will lower your pH but they are untested in aquaponics and many of them may harm the health of your fish and plants. 

Ensure proper circulation Make sure your fish tank turns over once per hour. Another key component to maintaining good health in your system is consistent turnover of the fish tank. Make sure that the volume of your fish tank turns over at least once per hour. This comes down to proper pump selection and over sizing your plumbing to prevent clogging. In general it is better to oversize your pump as their efficiency does deteriorate over their lifespan. Over sizing your pump gives you more life out of your pump as well as ensuring you get proper circulation throughout your system. More turnovers, more the better. 

Always keep back up equipment The success of your aquaponics system comes down to the success of your equipment. In everyAquaponics system there is typically a water pump, an air pump and water heaters. Each of these items is key to your system’s health and there for the success of your system. Because these different pieces of equipment are so critical, every successful aquaponic gardener has a backup of each of these pieces. Pumps and heaters do not last a lifetime and they can fail without any previous warning signs. You don’t want to risk losing your fish because you didn't have a backupPump on hand. It is too risky to assume that your local aquarium or hydroponics store will have the materials you need. Plus, if your pump goes at midnight you will likely a nightmare on your hands before you can get to a store. To the new gardener, backups might seem like an unnecessary expense but every experienced gardener will tell you: take the expense on up front,Because if you aren’t prepared it will cost you more in the long run. Worst case scenario for being prepared is that you never need to use your backups.


Most popular biological controls used in aquaponic and farming

1.   Beneficial Insects (my favorite) This form of “bio-control” consists of adding and raising populations of beneficial insects (lady bugs, aphides wasps, etc) to feed on bugs that eat your plants. . Lady bugs will devour up to 50 aphids, mealy bugs, scale, leaf hoppers, or other destructive pests per day! You YOURSELF can even serve as a surprisingly effective live “biocontrol” with a high powered spray bottle or hose and a wet cloth! If you have just a few pests, putting such beneficial organisms to work in your system will help prevent many pest outbreaks and big infestations. I always over treat hot-spots from previous years with predators to avoid a large outbreak happening again second year round.. With the use of beneficial insects in aquaponics it us usually best to purchase the slow release sachets so the insects can make their own way out onto the plants, using the vials containing the predators and vermiculite could be dangerous if not done carefully because when sprinkled over the plants vermiculite could drop into fish tank and be harmful if consumed by the fish.   

2.  Biological Sprays Another type of “biocontrol” (as in not synthetically-produced) method for dealing with more stubborn bug populations involves making homemade remedies or buying commercial pesticide sprays made out of organic plant materials or animal byproducts. Examples include garlic/pepper/onion sprays, worm casting tea, fungi spore sprays, and my personal favorite “Mite Munchers Magic Mist”, this is our specially formulated powerful organic insecticide and fungicide, this had worked wonders for me for years and I recently started bottling it up and reselling it, only to find I cant make enough of it to cover the strong demand!! I make it out of a list of organic oils and two other organic ingredients making it safe for all consumables!! Magic Mist has the power to keep plants at peak health purely with the ingredients used not to mention keeping all bugs and fungus at bay!! It can also be diluted and fed to the very young plants and will provide a great start in life making them stronger and a little more prepared for the world!! The two methods of pest control (aka “biocontrols“) are all that most backyard gardeners usually need to combat pests and prevent infestations of many pesky bugs. 

3.   Soap Sprays Used in moderation, (worst case scenario) diluted glycerin based soaps applied to plant foliage are the least toxic “synthetic chemical” substance you can use to control pests in your aquaponic garden. NOTE: be extra careful not to let large quantities of soap getting into your fish tank. Soap is dangerous to fish in significant quantities. Fill a spray bottle with a few drops of glycerin-based soap and spray onto infested area of the plant foliage (careful not to spray or let a ton drip into the media bed itself). Or purchase a pre-made soap spray that comes perfectly diluted for your organic gardening needs like: Indoor Pharm Organic Insecticide and Fungicide, With Pure Rosemary and Almond Oil. Made with certified organic glycerin-based soap, almond oil, and rosemary oils Controls insects and prevents fungal spores from traveling and maturing to disease Will prevent powdery mildew Indoor Pharm is safe for use on herbs and edibles Controls fungus gnats, aphids, spider mites, whiteflies and scale.

Again, take note that excessive soap scum can clog fish gills and potentially kill your fish. So like everything else on this document moderation is key!
4.   Neem Oil Spray Neem Oil Sprays are handy for use as an “on-the-spot” treatment for when you see a few pests or to combat small infestations.Neem oil organic pesticide spray, also something that you can grab directly from Mite Munchers.Neem Oil Spray is an all purpose insecticide, miticide, and fungicide for organic gardening. Neem oil can be used on virtually any plant, including roses, flowers, vegetables, herbs, spices, houseplants, trees, turf, and shrubs. Kills all stages of insects, eggs, larvae, and adults. Makes a great dormant spray. Imparts healthy shine to leaf surfaces.   

5.AzaMax AzaMax Antifeedant and Insect Growth Regulator is a natural product with a broad spectrum of pest control. AzaMax contains Azadirachtin A and B as active ingredients and uses only food grade formulation ingredients — no hard chemical solvents. Works by starving and disrupting the growth of insects (making them weaker and easier to kill). Effective on spider mites, thrips, fungus gnats, aphids, whiteflies, leaf miners, worms, beetles, leafhoppers, scales, mealy bugs, nematodes and other soil borne pests.

AQUAPONICS NITROGEN CYCLE

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE! Report On Aquaculture & Horticulture Integration (Aquaponics).

Aquponics is easy, don't be put of by this complex infographic.

MISTAKES MADE BY AQUAPONICS GROWERS

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

IDENTIFYING PLANT NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES

Not all plant problems are caused by insects or diseases. Sometimes an unhealthy plant is suffering from a nutrient deficiency or even too much of any one nutrient. Plant nutrient deficiencies often manifest as foliage discoloration or distortion. The following chart outlines some possible problems. Unfortunately many problems have similar symptoms and sometimes it is a combination of problems.

Be sure you eliminate the obvious before you kill your plants with kindness.

Plants require a mix of nutrients to remain healthy. Nutrients that are needed in relatively large amounts are called the macronutrients. Plant macronutrients include: nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulfur and magnesium.

There are a handful of additional nutrients that are required for plant growth, but in much smaller quantities. These micronutrients include: boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc.

All of these nutrients are taken in through the roots. Water transfers the nutrients from the soil to the plant roots. So one requirement of sufficient plant nutrition is water. A second requirement is the appropriate soil pH for the plant being grown. Each plant prefers a specific pH range to be able to access the nutrients in the soil. Some plants are fussier than others, but if the soil pH is too acidic or alkaline, the plant will not be able to take in nutrients no matter how rich your soil may be.

Plant Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms Macronutrients

Calcium (Ca)

Nitrogen (N)

Magnesium (Mg)

Phosphorus (P)

Potassium (K)

Sulfur (S)

Micronutrients

Boron (B)

Copper (Cu)

Manganese (Mn)

Molybdenum (Mo)

Zinc (Zn)

Originally posted on growrealfood.com

THE BEST FISH FOR AQUAPONICS

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE! Report On Aquaculture & Horticulture Integration (Aquaponics).

1. Environmental Conditions

2. Feed Sources

3. Purpose

4. Size How big will your fish tank be and how many fish will you stock? Is it a small desktop system, that is great for a siamese fighting fish(betta) or a big system, that would be great for delecious murray cod.

5. Is it legal? The fish you want, could be classified as an invasive species. So remember to check with the local fishery department.Use the infographic below to help you choose the best fish for your aquaponic system.

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

Edible Aquaponics Fish

Tilapia

Cichlid fall under the Tilapia species of fish and are a hardy fish found in freshwater shallow streams, ponds and rivers. Cichlids are a nutritious fish that is high in protein, but also can be kept for purposes of aiding your aquaponics plant system or even as pets. Tilapia species of fish can survive in a temperature of around 21-29 °C (70 to 85 °F) In the wild, Cichlid’s are mostly omnivores, however you can feed your tank Cichlid’s live or frozen animal food such as shrimp and bloodworms. An easy source of food would be sinking pellets or flake fish food, which are rich in protein and fiber. You can, occasionally, feed your Tilapia type fish green foods like spinach.

Catfish

Catfish are great as pets as well as for your aquaponics set up. Their colors and shapes vary and can be very pretty as an ornamental fish.

They are particularly great at cleaning the tank walls and substrate. They will, in turn, keep the algae under control and will recycle food and waste from other fish.

Catfish are also hardy fish and are not prone to disease or illness, but can get stressed if threatened by larger fish, so just be aware of who you put in the tank with them.

As they are bottom feeders or benthic, catfish will need to be fed food that sinks, like sinking pellets or a heavier type of frozen fish food.

In addition, they like to feed at night once the aquarium lights are out, so remember that for your feeding schedule.

As for preferred water temperature, anywhere between 20 and 24°C (68 to 75 °F) is good.A few varieties to consider are Zebra Pleco, Cory, Bristle-nosed catfish and Clown catfish.

Silver Perch

As Silver Perch can grow to a relatively large size, around 8kg or 600mm in length, you will need to consider the size of your tank.

The preferred temperature for Silver Perch, outside of spawning season is between 18 to 23°C (73 to 82°F).

As far as eating goes, they love green plants so some spinach, duckweed or azolla will do nicely

Jade Perch

The Jade Perch, whilst similar looking to the Silver Perch in shape, has a greenish hue to its upper region, hence their name.

They prefer warmer water, although cooler than their cousins, the Silver Perch. Favorable temperatures would be about 20 to 28°C (68 to 82 °F).

They, too, like an omnivorous diet and can be seen eating any green variety of plant or a fish food low in animal protein

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Murray Cod

Murray Cod fish are reasonably new to the aquaponics lifestyle and in fact new to tank culture. They need space and are quick growing fish, so take that into account when setting up your aquarium.

They need to be fed often or they may just start eating each other. Not something you want to witness, so remember a high stocking density always.

They are a carnivorous fish, obviously, so be aware not to put them in a tank with smaller fish, even if the species is a Murray Cod. They will eat them!

A diet rich in protein and phosphorus is good, so be sure to check your fish food labels.

Ideal temperature, as they are originally a river fish, would be around 8 to 24°C (46 to 75 °F), so they can handle quite a cold tank.

On a side note, they’re a really popular fish to catch from the rivers in my home town and are absolutely delicious.

Barramundi

These fish are very popular in aquaponic systems and are often grown in the warmer months and with slightly mature stock. If you intend to eat your Barramundi, you will find they have a lovely clean, crisp taste.

As a tank fish, they will still love to eat fish and crustaceans, so a diet rich in frozen fish, shrimp or prawns will go down very nicely.

They do well in warmer temperatures so make sure the water is around 26 to 30°C (78 to 86 °F).

Traut

Besides being a great tasting fish, trout have a very quick growth rate as well as food conversion ratio, meaning they convert their digested food to “fertilizer” very fast.

They prefer a cooler temperature between 10 to 20°C (52 to 62 °F) and originally a river fish, they like to eat aquatic and terrestrial insects as well as other fish, leeches, crustaceans and worms.

For commercial food, you could try frozen bloodworm and dried shrimp.

Bluegill

Bluegills are probably one of the most unfussy fish. They will eat pretty much anything, but that doesn’t mean you must feed them just anything. Stick to a diet of insects, zooplankton, small fish and worms. Frozen bloodworms are good as well as any flake or pellet type of fish food.

In terms of a preferable temperature for the tanks water can range anywhere between 16 to 27°C (60 to 80 °F).

Ornamental Aquaponics Fish

Goldfish

Your hardiest and by far most popular pet fishes but also a great option for aquaponics. They have longevity, although you may not think so if you ever owned a goldfish as a child. Difference is that you are now an adult and know how to look after that passive, orange friend.

Goldfish will survive just nicely on flake fish food and prefer a temperature of around 10 to 23°C (50 to 74 °F).

If you intend to breed them, you will need to consider some plant cover – they are shy like that!

koi

Our beautiful bevy of fish species and are in fact from the Carp family of fish. Predominantly found in Asian communities, these picturesque fish are best grown in larger, ornamental type tanks or aquariums.

Due to their lovely variety of colors, you want to ensure the food you feed them is high in Beta Carotene, which will enhance and help keep their natural colors.

Huge omnivores, you can feed your fish lettuce, watermelon and peas, but it is best to rather do this using specific Koi fish food, as this has been accurately measured out for the best nutritional balance.

Happy in a slightly warmer environment, you can ensure water temperature is between 15 to 25°C (59 to 77 °F).

Koi work very well in an aquaponic system. Especially if you have system where you get to show of your fish.

Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta)

These fish are just stunning, with their goldfish style bodies but flowing fins and tails, they are just beauties to watch.

They have a very particular diet as well, in that they like live brine shrimp and bloodworm, although frozen will do too. In addition, you can make their main source of food, for sake of ease, Siamese Fighting Fish granules or pellets.

They should be fed 1-2 times daily and in small quantities, as they have a tendency to overeat.

Being a tropical fish you need to keep the water temperature at a warm 25 to 26°C (78 to 80 °F).

Warning! As they are fighting fish, you cannot put more than one Betta or Fighting Fish in the tank at a time. They will fight each other to the death!

Suggestion is to either go with a soriety of female bettas, but no less than 4, ensure your tank size is ideal.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow(Betta)

Another member of the Carp family, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow fish is as hardy as you will find, so perfect for an aquaponics system.

They are hardy and grow very easily and quickly.A standard small pellet or flake type fish food is perfect for these guys and they do very well in temperatures of around 18 to 26°C (64 to 79 °F).

Get the, "Aqua Garden"

The Aqua Garden is a desktop aquaponics system. Grow your own healthy organic produce at home. Aquaponics is a natural system where the fish waste feeds the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish. This is a great system for getting started, it's not as small as some other products on the market so it will be easier to maintain.