3 Popular Aquaponics Design That You Can Start Off

Aquaponics is a word derived from the combination of raising aquatic animals (aquaculture), and cultivating water plants (hydroponics). A system that includes a mutually beneficial relationship between aquaculture and hydroponics is referred to as a hydroponics system.

In such a symbiotic system, water from aquaculture, full of effluents, is directed to a hydroponic system whereby filtration of the waste matter in the water is done. The plants absorb the wastes since it is loaded with nutrients. The clean, filtered water is then redirected into the aquaculture system. There are several ways through which one can design an aquaponics system.

Depending on the size of the aquaponics system you want, the design can be as simple as floating water plants in an aquaculture tank, or complex designs, especially if the aquaculture system is meant to hold high fish stocking densities. Regardless of the size, here are the basic designs.

1) The Continuous Flow Design

This is the best and simplest designs. In this design, there is a continuous flow of water. What happens is that the hydroponic system is set at a level higher than that of the aquaculture system. The water from the animal system is pumped up to the plants, and once the water is filtered through the medium, it trickles back to the aquaculture system.

This system has some disadvantages though. The most common setback is that the plants can hardly get enough nutrients since water is continuously flowing. To counter this, one can create an irrigation grid whereby the grow bed is kept adequately wet and full of nutrients.

2) The Two-Pump with Sump Tank Design

In this system, water from the aquaculture tank is pumped into the hydroponics system. The water drains from the hydroponics system into a sump tank. Inside this tank is another pump with a float valve, which switches the pump on and off. When the sump tank water level rises, the valve opens, pumping the water into the main aquaculture tank. This is the best system since one can easily set the height of the sump tank so as to maintain a desired level of water in it. This can allow another fish species, or fingerings to be reared in the tank.

This is a perfect system. However, one needs to constantly check the condition of the pumps to ensure functionality since a slight malfunction can lead to loss of water from the system through a flooded sump tank.

3) The Constant Height In Fist Tank Design

In this design, which is also known as the ‘Pump in Sump Tank’, water flows through the system without the help of a pump in aquaculture tank. In this style, the fish tank contains an overflow pipe, through which water flows from the tank into the hydroponic system. Consequently, the water drains from hydroponics system into a sump. This system has a restriction and a timer to allow adequate flooding in the plant system for maximum nutrient absorption.

There is no restriction as to the options you can have for an aquaponics system. However, if you are a beginner, it is best to start simple to understand how it works.

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