Do you need a filter for aquaponics?
If you’re new to building your aquaponics system, you my be wondering whether or not you need a water filter in your aquaponics system. Let’s take a look…
Do you need a water filter in an aquaponics system in 15 seconds…
On the basis that you use good quality fish food (as apposed to cheap low quality fish food). If you make sure you don’t have too many fish in your aquaponics system for its water capacity. Plus if you don’t over-feed your fish; Then no you don’t really need an aquaponics aquarium filter or biofilter. The fish waste will dissolve into the water and then the micro-bacteria will convert this into the nutrients (i.e. nitrates) needed by the aquaponics plants. Which means all the waste is automatically filtered out.
Do you need a water filter in an aquaponics system?
There are two schools of thought on whether or not you need a water filter in an aquaponics system. Some argue that larger systems should have a water filter. Whereas a smaller backyard aquaponics system should not require a filter. However, the other school of thought is that no matter what the size of the aquaponics system, even the commercial sized systems, a water filter isn’t required.
However, in order to run a clean aquaponics system regardless of size, there are a three important rules to follow. But these rules are good to follow, even if you choose to have a water filter or a biofilter. By following these three simple rules, you will avoid having to clean your filter out on a regular basis.
Ways in which to avoid needing a water filter in your aquaponics system
In order to run an clean and healthy aquaponics system, you should follow these three important rules:
- The use of cheap food vs good fish food.
- You’re over feeding your fish.
- You have too many fish in your aquaponics system.
Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.
1. The use of cheap food vs good fish food
If you’re using cheap fish food it’s more likely your fish will produce more waste. This is because the lower quality fish food is not as easy to digest, resulting in large undigested chunks. This in turn results in an excess of decaying organic matter floating around in your system. This will clog up your grow media, coat your plant roots with slime and will ultimately cause problems for your aquaponics system.
However, on the other hand, if you feed your aquaponics fish with good fish food, this is more likely to be properly digested and produce less waste in your system. However, be careful not to over feed your fish, which leads on to the next point.
2. You’re over feeding your fish
No matter what the quality of the fish food you use, if you are over feeding your fish, this will create excess waste matter that will rot and clog up your system. If you have tilapia fish in your aquaponics system, over feeding them is very easy to do. This is because tilapia have a pyloric valve, which essentially provides a bypass circumventing the sac‐like portion of the stomach.
This means tilapia are able to dispose of unwanted material very easily. This will result in you not realising that you’re over-feeding your tilapia fish. The tilapia will be eating this excess food, but because they are able to bypass their digestive system, the excess simply spills out as excess undigested food.
As a result there are large undigested chunks of this decaying organic material passing through your fish and going out into your troughs, then coating the roots of your plants out there.
In a similar way to using the wrong fish food, over feeding your fish will result in excess decaying organic matter. This in turn will result in having excess ammonia in your water, which is bad for your fish and can kill them if not treated immediately.
3. You have too many fish in your aquaponics system for its water capacity
If you have way too many fish in your aquaponics system for its water capacity, this will result in excess waste organic material being produced. As a result, the natural filtration system won’t be able to cope with the waste to break it down. It’s important to get the right balance of fish to plant ratio.
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