Many people turn to fish for a healthy diet. Because of this, some fish enthusiasts would even go a step further and build their own aquaponics fish systems. This allows them to access fresh and healthy fish all year long.
If you are one of these health buffs and fish enthusiasts, chances are, you are looking for information on how to integrate a new fish in a newly established aquaponics system.
First, you need to know that there are three main factors that ensure the success of aquaponics system: fish, plants, and bacteria. If the fish is taken out of the equation, the vegetables are not going to survive at all. Now, if the plants are removed, the fish will not survive either. This is mainly because the water will be filled with nitrates, ammonia, and other wastes products, which can be toxic to fish.
Without the existence of bacteria, the plants will not be able to take up the nitrates from the water. So essentially, even if just one factor is taken out of the equation, the system will inevitably fall apart.
How to Focus on the Well-being of the Fish
Without a doubt and regardless of the setup size, the tilapia is your best bet for aquaponics system. This is a good fish to raise most especially if you reside in the relatively warm locations, in the United States. However, it is still best to consult with your local agriculture bureau to find out whether or not you can raise tilapia in your area.
In the event that tilapia is not conducive to raise in your location, don’t worry. There are many other types of freshwater fish that you can choose. For example, you can grow koi or crappies instead. Generally, the most common edible freshwater fish can survive well in aquaponics systems. Some enthusiasts even breed bass. But the main reason that the tilapia is highly recommended is because they can grow and reproduce very quickly when compared to other freshwater fish.
The Importance of Numbers
The number of fish to raise in your holding tank will depend mainly on the space you have available and the type of the installed filtration system. Small commercial aquaponics producers recommend adding half a pound of fish for every one gallon of water in your tank.
Another factor to consider when deciding on the number of fish is how much vegetation the aquaponics system can support. There are three main factors that you need to take in consideration when it comes to knowing how much vegetation your fish can support. First, you must consider the volume of fish you currently have in the tank. The size, weight, and the maturation of the fish are also very crucial. Lastly, you should exactly know how much food is being added to the holding tank daily.
Usually, one square meter of growing vegetation requires at least 60 grams of fish food on a day to day basis if you are using a simple raft set up.
One thing to remember is that the plants will be entirely dependent on the fish’s waste product and the excess fish feed in the water. So, for example, if you are growing a more demanding vegetable like squash, you will need at least 100 grams of fish food every single day.
If the fish waste is not enough, the vegetables will not grow. This is because the water will have very minimal amount of organic matter and usable nitrates. Inversely, if you add too much food to the tanks, there is a high risk of intoxicating the fish. Too much food means that there is excess waste in the water.
You can find many websites online that offer detailed instructions on how to calculate the exact amount of fish food your tanks need. An not only that, but they also offer recommendations on the best types of fish food to use. Click here for more information. However, the most important thing you need to know is that overfeeding your tanks can be extremely harmful.
So, all in all, you need to find the balance that will maintain both the fish and fruits/vegetables in your aquaponic systems. If you’re new to the world of aquaponics, then it’s important that you learn as much as possible. The more information you have about this innovative method of growing food and fish together, the better off you will be.