Aquaponics in Balance
The key to an efficient Aquaponics system is balance. By in balance, we mean pH, temperature, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, iron, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, and oxygen readings all in balance. While Aquaponics is somewhat forgiving, if an aquaponics operator wants consistent high yields, they will put systems in place to maintain their system's proper balance and they will have backup systems in place in case of equipment failure.
Balance in an aquaponics system is often greatly misunderstood.
Many assume that because the fish and plants are alive that their system is in balance. In a properly balanced aquaponics system the fish, plants and friendly bacteria all have the proper healthy conditions to thrive. As they thrive, they each support their part of the eco system that is needed by the others. And, the quantity of each is proportionate to the quantity of the other parts of your system, including fish, plants, tank size, pipe size, filters and filter size, etc.
God has designed living organisms with an incredible ability to adapt, to tolerate, and to cope with less than ideal conditions. It is often hard to detect with casual observation. Parts of your system could be just adapting, tolerating or coping. Any of those three will add stress and that stress will affect their growth and their health. If the aquaponics system is in the toleration or coping conditions, or possibly worse, the door is open to your fish and or plants becoming sick and even dying. If they do, because the same conditions are spread through out your entire system, the potential is there to loose your entire crop of fish or plants or both. Additionally, now all your equipment is contaminated and needs to be sanitized before being used again. The last thing you need as a commercial aquaponics farmer is to take on the liability of contaminated product that is purchased by consumers.
It is not wise to just guess at proper balance. The loss from a backyard system failure may only be from almost nothing to a few hundred dollars. In contrast, a large commercial system can be out of production for one to three months from such a failure.
Aquaponics is a mostly closed system and that allows both fish and plants to be considered organic. It just makes sense that organic plants and fish are more disease resistant if growing conditions are kept healthy.
What do you need to check? We check just about everything and we do it regularly and keep records of our stats. If just trying to get by is your way of doing business, then aquaponics is not for you.
The focus of our website is commercial aquaponics with more emphesis on DWC (deep water culture or what is more commonly called raft aquaponics).