Aquaponics is trending and everyone wants to try it out. They are quite easy to set up and maintain, but if you are a beginner, you will probably make the mistakes listed below, which will affect your final results.
Making errors in your aquaponics system can lead to the loss of plants and fishes. You’ll be left disappointed but you’ll need to overcome these let-downs. Here are the five most common beginner mistakes in aquaponics.
1) Ignoring insect problems
Most aquaponics gardeners faced the problem of pests eating their plants and usually, it is not a big problem. However, sometimes the number of pests increases rapidly that can cause significant damage to the plants. When you spot bugs, it’s best to get rid of them before they spread and grow in numbers.
Ways to get rid of pests:
- Water Spray Cleaning: You can control a large infestation of bugs by spraying a stream of water on them. Also, adding an organic solution to the spray can help repel the bugs, which will be less attracted to the plants. You can add organic black soap or lemon juice to your water to maximize the effect. Watch out for the pH change.
Insect Predators: Beetles, flies, spiders and wasps feed on insects such as aphids. A common predator used for pest control in aquaponics is the ladybug which feeds on aphids.
- Organic pesticides: Apply organic pesticides, mix two tablespoons of neem oil extract per gallon of water.
2) Not regulating your water tank temperature.
Some species of fish can withstand tropical temperatures, while others are sensitive to them. It is important to know the ideal temperature for the type of fish in your system.
The most popular fish for aquaponics is tilapia, which can easily tolerate warm water. But if your system is exposed to the sun the water may get too warm, and your fish will have a lack of oxygen.
3) Having too many fish.
The number of fish you have in your aquaponics will affect the efficiency of your system. When you have a lot of fish, the bigger ones will feed on the small fishes which can lead to an excess of waste.
The general rule for an aquaponics system is to have about one fish per 20 L of water. Although commercial aquaponic systems may have a higher density, beginners should stick to this rule.
4) Skipping ammonia and nitrite testing.
Ammonia and especially nitrite are very toxic to fish and a build-up of these in the tank will eventually kill them. Dead fish also produce ammonia, so remove them from the tank in time, if you have losses.
In order to know the ammonia and nitrite levels in your tank, the water should be tested at least once a week using test kits.
5) Limit access to fish tanks
This is a mistake that even experienced aquaponics gardeners have made and it can cause many problems. Although placing a grow bed directly over the fish tank saves space, it will restrict access which can cause the following problems:
- Difficult to see what is going on in the far corners of the aquarium.
- Difficult to remove and change the water and when it is needed.
- Hard to catch fish, especially if they move around the tank quickly.
Many challenges will arise during your aquaponics journey. The best you can do is to learn from your mistakes and not repeat them. You are now aware of the basics mistakes that every beginner faces. Try to pay attention to the points mentioned above.
Let us know in the comments how your aquaponics journey is going…