Archive for the ‘Aquaponics Systems’ Category

There have been very interesting mini aquaponics system designs in recent years, some are good and some, not so. But these few systems that I’m going to run you by, have caught my interest recently, and for good reasons. They’re ready made systems that are easy to set up, practical designs and reasonably priced plug and play package. Best thing is, they make great hobbies for your kids and even better festive gifts.

I have been toying around with a few of the systems recently and here are my comments on some of the systems that got my interest;

Back To The Roots Water Garden System

Water Garden Mini Aquaponics SystemThe genius of this very system is that it requires zero experience to set up. The growbed and fish tank comes built-in with the package. All you need to do is fill the fish tank with water, hook up the pump, set-up the planter with growstones and sprinkle the seeds. Within a couple of days you will begin to see sprouts pushing their way out to greet you.

This award-winning system also comes with a “100% Guaranteed To Grow” promise. There’s also a no questions asked, money back guarantee is the aquafarm does not grow.  I mean it’s a sure win system, you’ve got nothing to lose here.The package comes with custom made Grow Pods (now with 2x the grow space) that are designed for easy planting and harvesting. This to me makes a perfect gift or even better, a classroom project. Follow this link to find out more…


This week I would like to touch on a popular aquaponics system, called the CHOP system. CHOP stands for Constant Height One Pump and it’s popularly used by aquaponics enthusiasts the world over. It’s a variation of a CHIFT PIST system really, or an improved version you may. CHIFT PIST stand for Constant Height In Fish Tank, Pump In Sump Tank”.

CHOP System

A typical CHOP or CHIFT PIST system consists of a growbed, fish tank and a sump tank as shown in the image above. The water pump in the sump tank continuously pushes water to the fish tank. And water is gravity fed to the growbed. The system water is then drained back to the sump tank via an auto-siphon.

This Is A Very Effective…

System to use and eliminates stress on the fish due to fluctuating water levels. This is even more evident if you are operating a system with multiple growbeds. With CHOP, the fish tank water level is constantly maintained as you may probably work out from the image above.

Hydroponics Vs Aquaponics

There have been debates and inquiries on the benefits and just how Aquaponics is better compared to Hydroponics and vice-verse. Today I attempt to clear the clouds, so to speak by writing this article on Hydroponics vs Aquaponics.


To begin with, Hydroponics is a very recent technology comparatively. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without the use of soil. The system uses mineral nutrient solutions as fertilizers for the plants to feed on and is really a subset of hydroculture.

Plants grow with roots exposed to mineral solution in this environment. Perlite, gravel, biochar, mineral wool, expanded clay pebbles (hydroton) and even coconut husk form as media in this system.

Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponic systems is the birth of traditional aquaculture and hydroponics put into one. Both systems complement each other in terms of their advantages and disadvantages creating a symbiotic relationship.

Well, to put it simply it is the growing of plants and fish together in an environment where the fish waste is used for fertilizers
for the plants and the plants in return filter the nitrate rich water, making it safe for the fish. And the cycle goes on maintaining a synergistic effect for an aquaponics system with the help of course from the nitriting and nitrating bacteria as part of the bio-filter.

Types Of Aquaponic Systems

Media Filled Beds

Aquaponic System

Media filled beds use containers or growbeds filled with media to grow plants. The media is normally made out of expanded clay or more commonly known as hydroton, river stones, lava rocks or similar materials. Media Filled bed is the most popular aquaponics system at home.

A water pump or an aquarium pump is used to push water to the growbed. The media-filled growbed is where the plants grow. Media-filled aquaponics systems come with continuous water flow systems or flood and drain systems.

Maintaining Your Aquaponics System

One of the main reasons why people get hooked on to aquaponics is the fact that it needs minimal maintenance compared to conventional ways of agriculture. Nevertheless, there are some routine chores that one should do in order to ensure a continuously flourishing aquaponics system.Today I have outlined some of these chores to maintaining your aquaponics system and of course as aquaponics goes, they are simple to do and require minimal time to perform.

Your Aquaponics Fish Condition

Aquapponics Fish Disease

I would do this every day when I’m feeding the fish. Observe your fish’s behavior when you sprinkle feeds into the fish tank. Now, the reaction is subjective to the species you have for aquaponics fish. But if you have been observing them regularly you would know if some thing is not right. I guess the right thing to say here is to be aware of any abnormalities from the norm.

The way they or any particular fish swim to the food, or do not swim to feed. Fish’s swimming behavior tells a lot and you will know that if you have been observing them enough. Also, look for physical signs of sickness as well, white spots on the body and fins for example. You can “google” on this to find out more. But again, the tell-tale sign is always in the way your fish swims. So, do pay attention to that.

Maintaining Your Fish Tank

Check your fish tank general condition on a regular basis. If your fish tank level drops more regularly than usual, that could be a sign of leak somewhere. Trace it and have it repaired where possible. Another thing to look out for here is algae in your fish tank. It’s advisable to remove algae immediately from your fish tank as soon as you see trace of it. One of the biggest damages they have is on lowering the oxygen level in your system with the potential of starving your plants and fish.

Your System Water Chemistry

It is always a good practice to check your aquaponics system’s water chemistry once a week, though I must admit I am guilty of not doing that regularly enough myself. Anyway, I say this because nitrite, ammonia, nitrate and ph levels are the four water main chemistry parameters that will determine the health of your fish and plants. Too high in anyone of them could kill your fish and too low on nitrate would render your plants weak and stunted.

An ideal water chemistry balance would be something like so;

  • Nitrite – zero
  • Ammonia – zero
  • Nitrate – 20 to 40 ppm is fine (but then again this is subjective to the fish species you have chosen).
  • pH – 6 to 8 (again, this is subject to the fish of your choice but I would always recommend to match the fish to your natural water pH than the other way around)

Aquaponics Plants Condition

Aquaponics Bak Choy

Observation comes to play here again. Observe your plants regularly, really this goes a long way in understanding how well your system is doing. If your plants are growing and flourishing endlessly with healthy greens, that means your aquaponics system is well balanced and healthy.

If on the other hand your plants takes a long time grow and are skinny and yellowish, well you know unhealthy looking, that means it’s time to check your water chemistry. Probably your nitrate level is too low and you need to feed your fish more or more regularly.

Or your system may be running low on iron, potassium or magnesium or a combination of them which is quite common in aquaponics systems.

Also check regularly for insects and parasites. Caterpillars and “whiteflies” are common enemies to aquaponics plants as well. Early detection would save you loads of trouble and losses here.

Pump And Plumbing

Your main source of water circulation from the fish tank to the growbed is your water pump and the plumbing connections. If any of these give away, you will have a damaged system if not attended to promptly.

All the above points are easy to do daily in fact. I do it when I feed my fish. That’s when I observe the fish. How they swim, eat and how they move around. I would at the same time take a look at the rest of the points above for any abnormalities and take corrective actions accordingly. It has become a habit for me and if you can do this daily during feeding time, is all you need to do in maintaining your aquaponics system.

DIY Aquaponics Made Easy

step by step guide to diy aquaponics

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