Frequently Asked Questions About Aquaponics

1.  What plants can be grown in an aquaponics system?

Early research indicated that leafy plants and vegetables such as lettuce, chives, etc. did best in an aquaponics system.  However, more recent research shows that many more varieties such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, melons, herbs, etc. also do very well in an aquaponics system.

2.  What types of fish can be used in an aquaponics system?

Tilapia, a fresh water fish, is the most common because of its hardiness and its ability to tolerate a wide variety of water quality conditions.  Click Here to learn more about additional fish varieties that can be used successfully in an aquponics system. One word of caution though, you will need to check with your local fish and waterways department to find out if they have any restrictions on what types of fish you can use in your system.  Many states have very strict restrictions that must be followed.

3.  How many fish can I  put in my tank?

The number of fish you can use will depend on how big of a tank and filtration system you have.  A good rule of thumb is to use 1/2 pound of fish for each gallon of water.

4.  How many fish will it take to nourish my plants?

The number of fish you will need to nourish your plants will again depend on the size of your fish and how much you feed them each day.  Research shows that if you use 60-100 grams of fish food each day, you will be able to support a one square meter of plants in a raft aquaponics bed.

5.  What do I feed my fish?

If you will be raising your fish for food production, you will want to feed your fish a species specific commercial fish food.  If you won’t be using your fish for food production you can make your own fish food or use things such as Duck weed, water lettuce, worms or any other type of similar live feed.

6.  What types of containers should I use?

It’s important that you only use food grade plastic containers.  Anything else could leach chemicals into your water system and cause harm to you and your fish.

7.  Do I need a greenhouse?

Whether or not you need a greenhouse depends on where you live.  Of course, you can always use a greenhouse if that’s what you choose to do.  However, you don’t have to use a greenhouse unless you live in a climate where a greenhouse would be required for the yearround growth and protection of your system.  Additionally, even in a topical location, a greenhouse can be helpful in protecting your plants from hard driving rains, high winds and insects.

8.  Can I use my aquaponics system indoors?

Yes, many people build and maintain their system inside of their homes, basements, garages, etc. but you will need to make sure your system is set up to allow for the indoor conditions such as artificial lighting, etc.

9.  How much power does an aquaponics system use?

How much power an aquaponics system will use depends on how elaborate your system is; however, generally a water pump and the air pump together use about 25 watts.

10.  Can I feed animal droppings to my fish.

No.  Animal droppings could contain e-coli and could contaminate your system.

11.  How much time do I need to spend each day maintaining my system?

Once you have completed the setup, the daily maintenance is only about five minutes.  And that mainly consists of feeding the fish and quickly checking to make sure all your pumps are running correctly.

12.  Do I ever need to change out the gravel, the pebbles or the water?

No, you don’t; however, a small portion of the water will be lost due to evaporation therefore you will need to add water from time to time.

13.  Can I use shrimp or crawfish in my system?

We don’t recommend it because the shrimp will eat anything and everything including your plants.  Additionally, shrimp have a tendency to crawl from bed to bed making them hard to contain.

14.  Can I setup my aquaponics system using solar power?

Yes, you can easily hook up a solar panel and a battery.

15.  Can I use pesticides to kill the bugs?

No.  Pesticides will kill your fish.

16.  How do I control the bugs?

Some people successfully use lady bugs.  Or you could use mix together a quarter cup of molasses, one teaspoon of chili power and about four to five drops of dish soap in a gallon of water and spray it on your plants.  There are other natural options that can easily be found with a quick search on the internet.
Next Post »