January 24, 2013 Aquaponics, Fish 1 Comment

I was reading a lady’s blog about some aquaponics mistakes she has made with her system and thought everyone should be cautious and avoid these slip-ups! Below is a list of five errors you want to steer clear of.

  1. Having too many fish in your system: don’t make your fish super uncomfortable by packing them in the tank like a can of sardines; give them space to swim and grow healthily! In your at-home aquaponics system, try to have about half an inch to 1 inch of fish for every 1 gallon (4.5 liters) of water (so in a 120 gallon tank, you may have 60 two-inch fish) and no more than 1 pound of fish per 3 gallons of water.
    The maximum amount of fish in a system depends on how much feed can be processed by the fish and how it is filtered as solid waste; the more sophisticated the system, the more fish you can have.
    Media-based systems use the grow media in the system to trap the solid waste. There is no need for external filtration; solid waste is mineralized by bacteria and composting worms. When using this system you should have around one pound of fish for every 5 to 10 gallons of water to ensure the fish stay healthy.
    Deep Water Culture or DWC systems use solids removal equipment to capture the solid wastes, which can then be removed by whomever is operating the system. These systems require much more maintenance than media based systems- the filters must be cleaned out on a regular basis, and the waste must be removed and disposed of properly. In a properly designed and well maintained DWC system, you should be safe having up to one pound of fish for every 2 to 3 gallons of water.
    If you are looking to produce the maximum amount of fish, use a DWC system; however if you are looking for a balance between the levels of fish and the plants you are growing, as well as low maintenance and cost, a media based system would be a good idea.
  2. Using cheap “feeder” goldfish: be careful if your wanting to use super cheap fish- they may have diseases! If your fish have a disease and don’t end up surviving, you will have to completely sterilize and recycle your entire system. This would be a huge pain and something you definitely want to avoid to save both time and money.
  3. Setting up grow beds so you can’t access your fish: don’t set up your grow beds on top of your tanks, it will be super difficult to get to your fish whether it’s to feed them, or catch ones that you are wanting to eat. Try putting your grow beds beside the tank, or if you have an issue with space, maybe try building a shelf on the wall above your tank so you can access both easily. You don’t want to be struggling and wasting your energy to lift up and move your grow beds every time you need to get to the tanks.
  4. Electrocuting your fish: not only is this a serious no no, it’s just plain mean! The lady who wrote the blog found a plug on the ground near the tank that got wet which caused shocks in her tank. Make sure your plugs don’t get wet!! Luckily her fish recovered fine, they were just in a bit of shock for a while, but no one likes to be electrocuted. Apparently tilapias are super resilient fish!
  5. Be careful with your pH levels: if there is something wrong with your levels- if you need to bring them either higher or lower- make sure you do it gradually over a couple of days. You don’t want to lose any fish because you changed the levels within minutes!
  6. Forgetting to turn off the hose: not only do you risk flooding your home and causing yourself some serious expenses, but you risk losing fish and bacteria. Do something that reminds you to turn off any running water going into your tank, such as setting an alarm, or you risk having to cycle your entire system again.

So there you have it: some mega do NOT’s when it comes to your aquaponics system. Making those aquaponics mistakes will cost you precious time, effort and money, not to mention the fuming mad fish you’ll have to deal with.

What are some mistakes you’ve made with your aquaponics systems?

Written by Aquaponics Team