Ammonia and pH level testing in aquaponics to check water chemistry
Whilst it’s true to say that aquaponics systems are an almost set and forget system, the do require frequent testing of the water chemistry. But how often do you check ammonia and pH levels in an aquaponic tank? Let’s take a look…
How often do you check ammonia and pH levels in an aquaponic tank in 15 seconds…
How often you check ammonia and pH levels in an aquaponic tank depends on whether it’s a new system or one that’s already cycled and has settled down. At the start when you’re just setting up your aquaponics system, you should perform daily tests on your water chemistry. This is to check ammonia, ammonium, nitrites, nitrates and pH levels. Once your aquaponics system is established, testing can be cut back to weekly, unless a problem arises like you have dead fish.
How often do you check ammonia and pH levels in an aquaponic tank?
Aquaponics water chemistry is one of the most important elements to keep healthy aquaponic fish and aquaponic plants in an aquaponics system. If the system gets out of balance, where for example ammonia levels spike, your fish will die. Ammonia levels must be kept to below 2 parts per million (2ppm). Your pH levels need to be kept to within a certain range, which is both fish and plant dependent.
Any good aquaponics system will include frequent testing. Which will be different at the start as it will be once it has cycled and is established.
You need to test the water chemistry for the following levels:
- Ammonia (NH3).
- Ammonium (NH4+)
- Dissolved oxygen.
When you’re first building and implementing your aquaponic system, it’s recommended you test on a daily basis. As you run your new aquaponics system, you’ll be making make daily adjustments until the desired levels of pH, ammonia, nitrites, ammonium and nitrates are achieved.
Once you’ve achieved a balanced water chemistry, you can cut back on your testing. But, aquaponics systems should still be tested at least once a week. However, more frequent testing is recommended where and if a problem arises, like you have a dead fish in your tank.
How to test aquaponics water chemistry
The biggest problem with aquaponics water chemistry is that it’s invisible to the eye. Unless of course your fish are dying or your plants are showing signs of nutrient deficiency. Whilst ammonia has a bad smell to it, unfortunately, you won’t necessarily be able to smell the ammonia at the levels that are toxic to your fish.
To test your aquaponics water chemistry you can buy testing kits from places like Amazon or at your local fish aquarium store.
You can buy individual testing kits or buy the API 800 Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Test Kit, which does up to 800 tests.
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