One important consideration you need to make before finally fitting all your components is finding the best location. Which leads to the question, where should you put your aquaponics system at home?
Site location selection is an important aspect that must be considered in setting up an aquaponics system because some components, such as water and the grow bed, are heavy, hard to move, and need a level surface.
So the chosen location should be final, have easy access to water and electricity, and be exposed to substantial sunlight but safe from severe weather conditions and predators. This article discusses the factors you must consider when choosing the best location for your aquaponics system.
Factors to Consider in Aquaponics Site Selection
Below are the factors you need to consider when it comes to choosing the best location for your aquaponics system.
The first thing you should consider when choosing your aquaponics location is that the area should have a stable and level surface. This is because some components, such as the fish tank and grow bed, are heavy, leading to a potential risk of the grow bed stand’s legs sinking into the ground. A not-level aquaponics system can also lead to disrupted water flow, flooding, or collapse of the grow bed stand.
So be sure to find the most level and solid ground. You can use concrete or cement blocks under the legs of your grow bed to improve stability. At the same time, stone chips or cement are often used to level and stabilize the soil. Placing the fish tank on a base is also essential as this will help provide more stability, protect the fish tank and allow for plumbings and draining at the bottom of the tanks.
2. Exposure to Sunlight and Shade
Plants need at least six hours of sunlight exposure per day to grow, so you’ll want to place your system where it can get enough sunlight. If the location where you want to put your system has little or no sunlight exposure, such as indoor aquaponics systems, you need to install artificial grow lights to supplement the sunlight.
However, if the sunlight in your chosen location is too intense, you need to install a simple shade structure over your grow beds to protect your plants from too much sunlight. This is because some light-sensitive plants like lettuce and salad greens will bolt in too much sun.
Your aquaponics system should be designed to take advantage of the sun moving east to west through the sky. The grow beds should be structurally arranged so that the longest side is on a north-to-south axis. This will take full advantage of the sun during the daytime. However, if you prefer less light exposure, you can orient the beds, pipes, and canals following the east-to-west axis.
Unlike plants, fish don’t need direct sunlight. But it is necessary to provide cover or shade to your fish tank to protect it from too much sun exposure. You can use a removable cover and shading material on top of the fish tank. Protecting your fish from too much sunlight exposure will also prevent algae growth and help maintain a stable water temperature.
3. Wind, Rain, and Snow Protection
Extreme environmental conditions such as wind, rain, and snow can stress plants and fish and destroy your aquaponics structures. Strong winds can leave a negative impact and damage plants. In addition, heavy rain can harm the plants, dilute the nutrient-rich water, and flood the system, while snow can also damage the plants and fish in the system. So it is recommended to build your system in a protected area or to protect it during severe weather conditions.
4. Available Space
The space available is another essential factor that you need to consider. Aquaponics systems can take up space, so make sure your chosen location will have enough space for growing plants and moving around.
5. Ease of Access
Another critical factor to consider in selecting a location for your aquaponics system is the availability of utilities. You need to have easy access to electricity and water source. Electric outlets are necessary for your water and air pumps. The electrical outlets should be shielded from rain or snow and equipped with a residual-current device to reduce the risk of electrical shock.
Although aquaponics systems are water-efficient, it requires occasional water changes and cleaning of the filters and clarifiers. Therefore, your system should be located where it can be easily accessible for daily monitoring, daily fish feeding, and occasional system cleaning.
Make sure to provide a healthy habitat for your fish and plants to thrive. You need to keep an eye on your temperature to ensure it meets the growing requirements of your fish. If you live in a hot climate, you need to keep your fish away from direct sunlight, but if you live in colder weather, you need to ensure the water is warm enough at all times to provide a healthy habitat for your fish and protect them from frost during winter.
7. Other Factors to Consider
We provide the factors you need to consider in choosing a location for your aquaponics system. But we will provide two more special considerations you might want to make before making the final decision about your system’s location.
- Rooftop Aquaponics: Flat rooftops are suitable for aquaponics systems because they are stable, level, and can have excellent sunlight exposure. But, one thing you need to keep in mind in building a rooftop aquaponics system is the weight of your system and if your rooftop is capable of supporting it. So before building a system on your rooftop, consider consulting with a civil engineer or architect to ensure your building structure is suited for building an aquaponics system.
- Greenhouses: A greenhouse structure can be very beneficial for aquaponics systems. Greenhouses allow the sunlight inside and capture the heat so that even when the sun sets, the walls and roofs of the greenhouse retain the war energy inside, optimizing plant growth.
With greenhouses, you can grow plants all year round, and your plants are safe from predators. You can use small-sized greenhouses for small-scale or backyard aquaponics systems and large greenhouses for commercial aquaponics systems.
Ideal Locations for Aquaponics Systems
Once you have considered the factors mentioned above, the following are some ideal locations for setting up your aquaponics system.
1. Against a South-Facing Wall
If you have plenty of sunlight exposure, this is the ideal location. Usually, the house’s south or southeast side gets the most sun from fall through winter (November to February in most places). Place the grow beds in the sunlight and fish tanks in shadier areas. Avoid placing your fish tanks in direct sunlight as they can quickly get too hot and lower the dissolved oxygen in the water, which may cause fish stress or death.
2. In a Corner
If you don’t have lots of space, you can put your aquaponics system in a corner. This way, your system will not take up much space but still be accessible, and you will still get enough sunlight exposure.
3. Near a Window
If you’re planning to build an indoor aquaponics system. Placing it near a window is an excellent option for your system to receive plenty of sunlight exposure. This will allow the plants to get as much sunlight as possible and limit your use of artificial grow lights, which can add to your cost of electricity.
4. In an Outdoor Space
Putting your mini aquaponics garden in an outdoor space is another great option if you have a backyard, patio, or balcony. This will allow your plants to receive enough sunlight exposure, protect your plants from predators and give you plenty of room to work. Just be sure that your outdoor space is strong enough to carry the weight of your mini garden and safe from extreme weather conditions.
Taking the time to consider the above mentioned factors will ensure a healthy and fresh harvest and its success. So if you’re an aquaponics beginner interested in setting up your own system, take time to learn the ins and outs of aquaponics and consider the factors mentioned above to have a thriving and healthy system.
Thank you for reading our article. To learn more about setting up an aquaponics system, read our article, "The Ultimate Aquaponics Beginner’s Guide.”