How do you maintain an aquaponics system (Cleaning & maintenance tips)

How do I keep my aquaponic tank clean?

Once you’ve setup your aquaponics system, next comes cleaning and maintenance. But how do you maintain an aquaponics system and how do you keep it clean? Let’s take a look…

How do you maintain an aquaponics system - Cleaning maintenance tips

How do you maintain and clean an aquaponics system in 15 seconds…

To maintain an aquaponics system you need to make sure there’s consistent aeration and circulation of the water for the fish. Plus it’s vital to maintain good water chemistry by checking the water’s pH levels, the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, plus maintaining the right temperature for your plants and fish. Never overcrowd your fish and plants, whilst striking a good balance between the two. Never overfeed your fish and cleaning your filter (if you have one) on a regular basis will help to keep the water flowing.

How do you maintain an aquaponics system?

So first things first, how do you maintain an aquaponics system? In this section I will take you through the maintenance, as an aside to the cleaning. For how to clean your aquaponics system, see the next section.

There are six areas you need to consider when it comes to maintaining a healthy aquaponics system, which include:

  1. Ensure consistent and adequate aeration and circulation of the water. This will ensure good levels of dissolved oxygen for the fish.
  2. Maintain good water chemistry with regards to pH levels, your nitrogen cycle and water temperature. The water in your aquaponics system is the ecosystem’s link between the fish and the plants.
  3. Don’t overcrowd the fish in the water aquaculture section of your aquaponics. Overcrowding your fish can stress them, but this may also result in an over-production of ammonia in the nitrogen cycle, which the nitrifying bacteria may not be able to cope with. This may result in stressed fish or worse still; dead fish.
  4. Don’t overcrowd your plants in the media grow beds. Plants need space to grow and if you have too many plants for the system, they will draw too highly on the nitrates that are available.
  5. Make sure to always strike a good balance between the plants and aquatic creatures. An aquaponics ecosystem is a symbiotic balance which links your nitrogen producing fish to your nitrogen consuming plants. If it’s out of balance the water may become toxic for the fish or the plants may lack nutrients to grow.
  6. Avoid over feeding your fish and feed them little and often. Overfeeding of your fish will lead to excess organic matter. This matter will decay and produce excess ammonia and cause the water to become toxic for your fish.

More Reading: How often do you check ammonia, pH & nitrate levels in an aquaponic tank?

How do I keep my aquaponic tank clean?

On top of good maintenance comes a clean system. A clean aquaponics system means a healthy harvest of fish and vegetables or fruit to eat.

The following are key to having a clean and healthy aquaponics system:

  1. Keep your water free from algae. Algae blooms consume nutrients that your plants need. Plus algae coats everything in a green slime and can clog up the hoses, pumps and water filters (if you have one). This may result in the system’s circulation coming to a complete standstill.
  2. I will include over feeding again, as it’s important to avoid this. Overfeeding your fish will result in a build-up of excess organic matter at the bottom of your tank. This excess food will decay and produce excess ammonia and may lead to the stress or death of your fish. If you have overfed your fish by mistake, you will need to clean out your tank to remove the excess decaying matter.
  3. Regularly clean out your water filter which is there to catch all the solids and bits in the water to keep it clear. This will make sure your media bed does not clog up. But please bear in mind you don’t actually need a water filter.

More Reading: How to lower ammonia levels in fish tank naturally aquaponics

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Happy DIY aquaponics.

More Reading: How long do you need to wait before planting in aquaponics?

How do you maintain an aquaponics system (Cleaning & maintenance tips)

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