One of the best things about aquaponics systems is that they require less maintenance than other growing methods because there is no weeding, fertilizing, and watering involved. But now that your system is up and running, you realize your setup needs regular checks up and maintenance to continue running smoothly and effectively and harvest the expected benefits.
Regardless of your reasons, keeping a maintenance checklist is vital in maintaining a healthy and high-yielding aquaponics system. There are some essential maintenance checklists that every aquaponics grower must do to ensure the longevity and success of the system. This article will discuss the specific daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance activities you can follow to ensure your system is producing high-quality yields for a long time.
How Do You Maintain an Aquaponics System?
Below are several important areas you need to consider when it comes to maintaining your aquaponics system.
- Ensure good dissolved oxygen levels for the fish and plants by maintaining consistent and adequate aeration and water circulation.
- Maintain good water quality by regularly checking the pH levels, water temperature, water source, and ammonia levels. The water is the link between the fish and plants and the carrier of the nutrients for the plants.
- Avoid overcrowding of fish in the water. Overcrowding your fish can cause fish stress and overproduction of ammonia, which is dangerous to fish health. Keep in mind the fish to plants ratio.
- Avoid overcrowding of plants in your grow bed, floating raft, or nft pipes. Plants need space to get enough nutrients and sunlight.
- Avoid over-feeding your fish. Feed your fish with the right fish food on what they can consume in five minutes. Always remove uneaten fish food after feeding, as leftover fish food can cause the rise of ammonia levels and might clog the system.
What is the Maintenance Checklist for Aquaponics?
Keeping a record of your aquaponics maintenance checklist can help provide a guide for maintaining and managing your system. The checklist will also help make everything organized and can be a future reference for potential future problems. Below are the recommended daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance activities checklist to guide you in maintaining your aquaponics system.
Daily Maintenance Checklist
Here are some of the regular daily maintenance routines you can follow:
1. Fish feeding
Fish are an essential component of your aquaponics system, so fish must be nourished every day with healthy fish food. Fish should be fed for 15 minutes once or twice a day, once in the morning and afternoon before sundown. Keep in mind to remove the uneaten fish food after feeding to maintain clean water quality.
You can also use an automatic fish feeder if you're not always available to feed your fish. However, being present while feeding is also necessary because it can be a great time to observe your fish's behavior and appearance.
2. Checking the Temperature
Daily checking your water tank's temperature is essential to ensure that water temperature is always at the ideal temperature for the fish species you are raising.
3. Checking the System's Water Circulation
Proper water circulation is essential in aquaponics systems because the water ensures adequate aeration. Water also delivers nutrients to the plants, so it is important to check daily that there are no clogging in the system.
Here are some of the daily maintenance activities for aquaponics:
- Check if the water and air pumps are working well and clean the inlets for possible clogging.
- Checking the water level.
- Checking for leaks.
- Checking plants for pests and managing pests as necessary.
- Removing dead fish and sick plants if there are any.
- Remove excess solids from the filters.
Weekly Maintenance Checklist
Here are some of the regular weekly maintenance routines you can follow:
1. Checking the Water Quality
Check the water quality of your system weekly by doing weekly tests on the levels of your pH, nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia. Water quality problems can cause fish stress and diseases, so it is essential to immediately adjust the pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates level to their ideal range to prevent problems.
- The ideal pH range for plants, fish, and bacteria is 6.8 to 7.0.
- The general compromise temperature range for aquaponics is 68-86 °F (20–30 °C).
- The ammonia levels should be equal to or less than 0.5ppm. A sudden rise in this means you may have a dead fish somewhere within your tank.
2. Harvesting Fish and Removing or Adding Plants if Necessary
Balance is crucial in aquaponics systems. So always keep in mind the fish to plant ratio to maintain a balanced system. You can remove or add some fish and plants to maintain your system if necessary.
3. Inspect for Nutrient Deficiencies in Plants
Regularly check your plants to see if there are signs of nutrient deficiencies. Some signs of plant deficiencies are plants not growing and changes in the color of the leaves. If you see signs of plant nutrient deficiencies, you can add nutrients or feed quality fish food to ensure the right amount of nutrients goes to the plants.
4. Inspect for Insect Infestation
Check every week for insects to prevent or correct any insect problems before they get out of hand. It is also good to remember that most insects tend to stay in stem sections and under the leaves of plants. With this tip in mind, it will be easier to find insects in your system.
Here are more of the weekly activities for aquaponics maintenance:
- Performing weekly water quality tests for pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.
- Adjust the pH and ammonia levels if needed.
- Clean the bottom of the fish tank and biofilter.
- Remove or add fish or plants if necessary.
- Check plant roots to ensure they are not clogging the pipes or water flow.
Monthly Maintenance Checklist
Here are some of the regular monthly maintenance routines you can follow:
1, Restocking the Fish Supply
Refilling or restocking your fish is essential in maintaining a balanced system. Again, keep in mind the fish to plants ratio. Your fish should complement the number of plants being grown in your system.
2. Cleaning the System
On top of good maintenance comes a clean aquaponics system. A clean system means a successful aquaponics system and a healthy harvest of fish and vegetables. The following are vital to having a well maintained and clean aquaponics system:
Why Do You Need to Maintain and Clean Your Aquaponics System?
Maintaining and cleaning your aquaponics systems is very important and should always be in mind. Maintenance should be done regularly to ensure that your system is functioning and running efficiently. There are several reasons why it is essential to maintain and clean your aquaponics system and keep it in good condition.
- Health -A dirty system can harbor bacteria, fungus, parasites, and viruses that could harm your fish and crops. Furthermore, a dirty fish tank may have an unbalanced pH, and the gasses and nutrients in the water will not be at the optimum levels for the health of the fish.
- Function - When your system is filled with floating debris and other waste, the pump, filter, pipes, and other essential mechanisms can be clogged and sluggish. When some of your equipment is defective or stops working, it will be dangerous for the fish, plants, and bacteria.
- Viewing - Your aquaponics system will not be enjoyable if it has murky water coatedwith algae or slime. It won't be easy to see the color of your fish and plants, and a dirty aquaponics system may even put off a foul, unpleasant odor.
An aquaponics system with a solid filtration system should be able to look after itself. However, that does not mean you will not have to maintain and clean your system. Maintaining an aquaponics system can be challenging at times. But that is a part of aquaponics that every aquaponics gardener must experience to succeed. With proper aquaponics maintenance, you can be sure that your system is running smoothly and be able to harvest fresh vegetables and fish for your family. Thank you for reading our article. Feel free to leave your comment below.