A power outage can happen everywhere unexpectedly, which is often the worst result of bad weather. As long as it doesn't last, it is a minor inconvenience for us and will probably bring no damage. However, when it comes to your aquaponics system, a power outage can be a major problem.
In order to maintain the delicate balance in your aquaponics system, you must keep your aeration, filtration system, and heater working all the time. These devices used in maintaining balance for your aquaponics system are powered by electricity.
So whether the outage lasts a few hours to a few days, you must protect your system to minimize the damage. There are ways to reduce or prevent fish and plants loss and damage to your system when there is a power outage which we will discuss in this article.
The Importance of Power Source in Aquaponics
An aquaponics system depends heavily on the reliability of a power source because its main components, such as water and air pumps, keep the system balanced and running. To ensure the continuous circulation of the water for the plants and fish and to supply dissolved oxygen, the water pump and air pump should be kept on 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The water and air pump make it easier for the plants to get the nutrients and oxygen they need to thrive.
How Long Can Fish Survive Without Power?
Like all living things, fish need oxygen to breathe and maintain healthy cell activity. When there is a power outage, both the water pump and the air pump will stop working, preventing water circulation and dissolved oxygen from entering the water stream.
Fish can survive without power for four to six hours. However, this will depend on the number of fish in the fish tank. Once the dissolved oxygen levels drop, fish will grow anxious and start gasping at the water's surface.
How to Protect Your Fish During Power Outage?
The two most important considerations you need for your fish tank are dissolved oxygen and temperature. Your main goal is to prevent a significant shift in the temperature and sustain the fish by maintaining the ideal dissolved oxygen levels in the water.
Your best option is to have a generator powerful enough to run your water and air pump. However, this option is costly. If you want to save on cost, another alternative is a handy battery-operated air pump, extra air stones, airline tubing, and batteries available in aquarium stores. A test kit is needed to monitor the water quality during the power outage.
How you manage your system will significantly affect how well your fish survive a power outage. Managing a successful aquaponics system involves proper stocking density, regular filter maintenance, and water quality testing. By not overcrowding your fish tank, the decline in dissolved oxygen and the rise of toxic ammonia will slow when the filtration system is not working.
How Long Can Plant Survive without Power?
In a media bed and raft system, your aquaponics plants can survive for 24 hours without water. This is because the reservoir of water the plants and their roots must draw nutrients from allows them to survive for a time. The grow media in the grow bed and plant pots in the raft system are made to hold water (residual water). So there will always be water for the plants to get nutrients even if the pump breaks down or stops working for a while.
However, in an NFT aquaponics system, plants can only survive for a maximum of 8 hours. This is because the NFT system lacks water storage, for the plant roots continuously draw water and nutrients to survive. In NFT, the roots are left dry when the water drains back into the sump tank.
How to Protect Your Aquaponics Plants During Power Outage
Here is a list of what you can do right away to save your aquaponics plants during a power outage.
- If you have an indoor aquaponics system, the most important thing you can do when your grow lights stop working is to get some amount of light during its regular light period. Plants will start deteriorating quickly when left in the dark for more than 24 hours. However, you can slow the process by providing them with some amount of light, such as periodically flashing a flashlight over the plants for a few minutes every hour.
- Maintain the Temperature. Power outages often happen during extreme weather. When your grow lights go out during a power outage in the winter, maintain the temperature in your system by conserving the heat by avoiding opening and closing any doors to the outside so the cold air cannot enter the house.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Backup Power Supply for Aquaponics
An aquaponics system needs a dependable power source for the continuous distribution of nutrients. That is why electrical equipment is essential in aquaponics systems and serves various roles that promote the system's overall health.
If you're planning to install a backup power supply for your system, here are a few things you need to consider before deciding to install a backup system.
- Frequency of power outage
- Length of a power outage
Backup Power Supply Options for Aquaponics
1. Solar Panel
A stand-alone solar panel with a battery of sufficient capacity to run your aquaponics system round the clock or for several days until your power supply is back. Many off-the-grid aquaponics growers use solar power to run their systems completely.
2. Gas Powered Generator
You can also use gas-powered generators as your backup power source during power outages. You have to keep in mind though, that the cost of running gas generators will add to your maintenance expenses.
Inverters that are plugged into the cigarette lighter on your can also be a great power backup for your system. This is great for short-term power outages. This can be a great choice if your system is located in a garage or near the carport, but if your system is in other locations, you must ensure that your extension cord can reach your car.
How to Aerate Your Fish Tank Without Electricity
Your fish can be alive for a more extended period without electricity by having a backup air pump in the fish tank. You can look for battery-operated air pumps available in aquarium stores or pet shops. Take into account your fish tank's size and the number of fish living in it when selecting a backup air pump because the effectiveness of these backup air pumps during a power outage will be affected by the fish density. If you have a lot of fish, you may need to use two or more backup air pumps simultaneously.
Having a dependable backup power source is just as crucial as the nutrients in the water. A backup power backup will help ensure that your aquaponics system continues to operate even when there is a power outage. So invest in a reliable backup power source to ensure your system is up and running all the time. Thank you for reading our article. Subscribe to our mailing list to get weekly aquaponics updates.