If you have started researching your own backyard aquaponics system you will have these top 5 aquaponics FAQ’s.
1) How many fish can I grow in my fish tank?
There are a number of factors that influence how many fish you can keep in your fish tank. Tank size, filter capacity, water quality, fish species, and feeding rates are factors that contribute to the amount of fish you can keep in your aquaponics system.
Most people assume that the larger the fish tank the more fish you can grow. This is not entirely true. Whilst the size of the fish tank does have a bearing on the amount of fish you can grow (mainly for small tank sizes), the capacity of the filtration system (growbed) ultimately determines how many fish you can grow in you fish tank.
2) What do I feed them?
You need to source high quality commercial aquaculture grade feed. These feeds have optimised nutrition that provides a well-balanced diet for the optimum health and growth performance of both your fish and plants.
3) Does the fish farm need to be under shelter?
No, in fact the fish farm should be out in the open as the vegetables in the filter require full sun. Ideally you will have the fish tank shaded while the growbed is in full sun. This can be easily achieved by erecting shade directly above the fish tank. This can be achieved with shade cloth or a lid that fits over the top of the fish tank. The fish won’t mind shade however they do need to know the difference between night and day. The fish will also benefit from an overhead cover as they will be less stressed by not feeling exposed to potential predators.
Remember that the plants will need as much sun as possible. If the vegetables are shaded for much of the day they will not be successful and your system will not be successful.
4) What do I need to do to maintain my aquaponics system?
Aquaponics systems are by nature self-maintaining and very little needs to be done to keep them working at an optimum level. In fact as there are natural balances that keep the systems healthy the less you do the better!
On a daily basis:
1) Check to make sure pump is on and there is water flow.
2) Observe and feed fish.
3) Remove any uneaten food fish
On a monthly basis:
1) Check any drainage points for signs of blockage (especially by invasive plant root systems)
2) Replace and plant vegetables
5) How do the fish taste?
Great! There is no question that fish caught from the sea are better tasting than freshwater fish. The salt infused into the flesh makes sea water fish hard to beat.
Fish from aquaponics systems arguably taste better than those caught/farmed in freshwater dams and lakes. Some (including myself) can detect a slight ‘earthy’ taste in fish sourced from freshwater dams and as an aquaponics system has no soil or dirt I find the flesh to be more delicate with no hint of the ‘earthy’ flavour.
Need more information? Download my Aquaponics System Operation manual