Aquarium or Tank – Aquaculture production systems

What are the five main inputs for an aquaponic system to work?

Having a proper aquarium or tank is absolutely essential for an aquaponic system to work properly. The tank should be large enough for the fish and plants to be able to thrive in the environment, as well as being able to sustain the bacterial population that is necessary for the system to work. It is important to choose a tank that is of the appropriate size, shape and material for your aquaponic system. Checkout aquaponics basics.

Size and shape

The size and shape of an aquarium or tank contribute to how easy it is to keep the water clean and healthy for your fish. The larger, the better, and all aquariums should be at least 10 gallons in size. Tanks come in a variety of shapes – round, rectangular, octagonal and square. Each shape has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Round tanks are esthetically pleasing but may give fish limited swimming space when compared to a rectangular one.
  • Rectangular tanks allow more swimming area while using limited floor space but may be visually awkward depending on the room’s layout.
  • Octagonal tanks provide flexibility since they can fit into corners while still providing adequate area for fish to swim around in.
  • Square tanks offer a high stability due to their four walls, creating more directional waves that can help prevent debris from falling into corners where it can remain until it decays and contaminates the water.

There are other factors beyond size and shape that you should consider when selecting an aquarium or tank: Canopy covers or open tops? Will there be live plants? How much equipment will you need? These questions should help you narrow down your choices before purchasing a tank for your fish – and give your fishy friends the perfect home!

Water quality- water pump

Maintaining good water quality is one of the most important aspects of aquarium keeping. Poor water quality can lead to illness, poor growth, and even death in fish. It’s important to know what you are looking for when assessing the water quality in your tank.

Key tests that need to be performed regularly include pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. The pH level should be tested daily or weekly depending on how often you do water changes. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels should be tested once per week or as often as necessary if there is a problem with the tank environment.

It is also important to keep an eye on other parameters such as temperature and hardness levels; these should be monitored regularly to ensure healthy living conditions for the fish and other creatures living in the tank. Periodic testing for heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic should also be done to make sure toxic substances are not present in the aquarium or tank environment.

Finally it’s a good idea to have regular bacterial counts taken; this will detect any abnormal growth of bacteria that could cause illness in your fish or other organisms living in the aquarium/tank environment.

Grow Bed – inside the fish tank

The grow bed is an integral part of an aquaponic system. This is where fish waste is converted into nutrients for the plants. The grow bed provides beneficial bacteria with a surface to colonise on and is the location where the plants are grown. The grow bed also acts as a natural filter to remove solids and help keep the water clean.

Let’s dive into the other four inputs needed for a successful aquaponic system.


Choosing the right type of substrate for your grow bed is essential for successful aquaponic gardening. Substrates provide a place for beneficial bacteria to colonize and improve the overall health of the system.

The ideal substrate should allow water to readily flow through it while still providing enough support to hold plants in place as well as providing an adequate surface area for bacteria growth. Generally speaking, most grow bed substrates should be between 10 and 30mm in diameter, with everyone having their own preferences based on their aquatic environment and the plants they are growing.

There are many types of substrates to choose from such as sand, gravel, geotextile fabric filled with biorock media or volcanic rocks (like pumice). Other substrates include expanded clay pebbles, river rock or an array of other soil-based materials like worm castings or loam soil. Keep in mind that some substrates like shells can increase the pH of your system over time so avoid these if possible.

It is also important to regularly monitor your grow beds and perform regular maintenance to ensure they remain healthy and free from any blockages. Regular harvesting also helps keep nutrients cycling within your aquaponic system as well as keeping it free from any built up fertilizer residue or sediment deposits that may accumulate over time if not taken care of properly.

Grow medium

Grow medium is one of the most important aspects of any grow bed system. The quality and type of medium used will depend largely on what type of plants are being grown, as well as the intended purpose and environment of the grow bed. In general, a wide variety of organic, inorganic and synthetic media can be used in a build bed system. most aquaponics systems have a stable system of maximum production capacity, the air temperature inside the tank can also remain at certain level due to the dish population and water quality monitoring.

Organic media options such as soil, compost, sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir can be a great choice for planting edible garden crops such as vegetables or herbs. Synthetic media including perlite, vermiculite and industrial polystyrene foam cubes may also be appropriate for certain plant types. When selecting an inorganic material like clay pebbles or hydroton rocks it’s important to make sure they are pH balanced and free from any harmful contaminants.

For best results with all grow mediums, it’s recommended to properly prepare your medium before starting the growing process. This may include flushing out the salts that accumulate during shipping by running fresh water through it several times prior to use – make sure that any excess water removed is properly disposed of on completion! Other preparation techniques such as sterilization may be necessary depending on what types of plants you’re planning to grow in your system – this should be researched beforehand!

Fish – Fish tank water and how water flows

What are the five main inputs for an aquaponic system to work?

Fish are a crucial element of an aquaponic system; they provide the waste products that are broken down by the bacteria in the system and eventually converted into nutrients for the plants. Additionally, fish can provide a source of sustenance for the grower and even a modest income from the sale of excess fish.

When constructing a aquaponic system, it is important to consider the type of fish that is suitable for the environment and that fits the system’s expectations for growth.


The immense variety of fish species is one of the many wonders of the aquatic world. Fish are found in rivers, lakes, ponds, oceans and even in large underground systems called aquifers, and they range in size from tiny carp to enormous whale sharks. With more than 30,000 species catalogued to date, fish come in a variety of shapes and sizes and occupy an array of habitats.

The most common species hailed for their recreational value include members of the freshwater game fish family (such as bass or trout) and those that inhabit brackish or salt water ecosystems with a wealth of larger predator varieties for anglers (including tuna, marlin and red snapper). Other popular types are food-fish often caught by subsistence fishermen – many saltwater species fall into this category. Additionally there are scores of fishes that inhabit aquariums around the world.

No matter what realm you choose to explore – from deep sea fishing to casual aquarium keeping – there is surely a range of colorful fish waiting for you to discover them. Common freshwater varieties found in North America include sunfish, sturgeon and catfish while popular saltwater specimen include cod, pollock, flounder, mackerel and sardines. Aquatic adventurers should check their locale regulations before they embark on any fishing expedition!

Feeding – nutrient rich water

Feeding your fish correctly is a key element to keeping them healthy and happy. Fish have different dietary needs, depending on their species, size, age and environment. Some fish require multiple feedings throughout the day and others can be fed only once per day.

When selecting a food for your aquarium fish, it’s important to choose a diet that is nutritionally balanced and that provides all of the essential vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates necessary for their growth and development.

Fish food typically comes in a variety of forms such as flakes, pellets or granules. Generally speaking, smaller fish prefer smaller-sized pellets while larger fish are better suited to larger-sized pellets or even large frozen pieces of food such as krill or brine shrimp.

Most of the time it is safe to feed your fish twice daily – morning and evening – with about two small pinches of food for every inch of fish you have in your aquarium tank. Never add more than what your fish will eat within a five-minute period; any excess should be removed from the tank with a net to avoid overcrowding with uneaten particles which can create an unhealthy environment for your aquatic friends.


The pump is one of the most important components of an aquaponic system. It is responsible for moving the water through the system and maintaining the flow of nutrients to the plants. It is important to choose the right size and type of pump for your system in order to ensure that the plants and fish receive the necessary flow of water and nutrients. Depending on the size of your system you may require a larger or smaller pump.

Let’s look at the other four main inputs of an aquaponic system:

Flow rate – in the fish tank directly subtracts fish waste

Flow rate is one of the five main inputs needed in an aquaponic system for it to function properly. The flow rate of water affects the timing and intensity of plant growth, as well as waste removal. Water in an aquaponic system should have a flow rate that is consistent, and neither too slow nor too fast.

Generally, the recommended flow rate is between 0.5 and 1 gallons per minute (GPM), with some systems operating at up to 4 GPM. This will vary depending on type, size and number of plant beds, fish stock density and system design.

Having proper water flow rates helps ensure:

  • Oxygenation for the fish
  • Healthy growth and development for plants
  • Bacteria functioning correctly to break down fish waste into forms usable by plants as nutrition
  • Adequate water pH levels
  • Avoidance of salt or nutrient buildup from stagnating water in pipes or pumps.

Filter – nitrifying bacteria

Filters are used to keep out dirt and debris from entering the pump, thereby increasing the life of the pump. They can come in various materials such as fiberglass, plastic, paper and cloth. The material used will depend on the application of the pump and whether it is for high pressure or chemical use. Some fish tank directly provide freshwater fish and replace solid wastes with new water.

  • Fiberglass filters are ideal for submersible pumps, as they are capable of tolerating high temperatures.
  • Plastic filters can handle pressures up to 150psi and can be used in most agricultural applications.
  • Paper filters are good for low flow applications because they do not require a lot of maintenance and cleaning.
  • Cloth filters come in a variety of thicknesses depending on their desired filtration level and maximum allowable debris size.

It is important to understand what kind of filter you need before purchasing one; this will ensure that your pump’s performance meets your expectations.


Lighting is one of the important components in an aquaponic system as it helps to boost the growth of the crops and the health of the fish. Different amounts of light can have an effect on the success of the system, so choosing the right type of lighting is essential. Depending on the type of system you are using, there are several different light requirements that you will need to keep in mind.

Let’s look at the different types of lighting that can be used in an aquaponic system:


Light intensity is a measure of quantity of light energy, usually expressed in Lux (lumens per square foot). A good quality white light source needs to be high enough in intensity to meet the application requirements. If the light source is too weak, it will not be able to properly illuminate task areas and will create uncomfortable glare and shadows.

To determine the appropriate intensity for any particular task lighting application, you must consider three factors: general luminance requirements, room size, and task distances.

For general illumination applications, the recommended illuminance (measured in lux) is around 200-300 lux at floor level and 200-500 lux at working levels. For certain tasks such as reading or writing or fine craftsmanship that involve close visual inspection and intricate detail work, 500-1000 lux should be used.

Task lighting gives off concentrated direct illumination which highlights a specific work area – this provides greater clarity and visibility than general lighting as it creates less glare or shadow. For larger rooms where a higher illuminance level is required it is recommended that radially symmetrical halo fixtures should be used because they have no shadows associated with them when objects are placed close to them. The correct amount of illuminance for a given task should always be balanced considering what other tasks are present in the environment and how many people are using the space at any given time.


Lighting is an important feature of any indoor or outdoor space. Although light fixtures come in many shapes, sizes, and models, there is one factor that will determine whether a lighting choice is suitable for the area—the duration of the light. Lighting needs will vary depending on the size and atmosphere of each environment.

In interior spaces, such as a living room or bedroom, lamps should have enough brightness to provide even illumination. In general, lighting in private spaces should not be too strong and harsh but should instead be adjustable to create mood variations. For safety reasons, areas like stairwells and corridors require higher levels of brightness that meet local building codes and offer an acceptable level of visibility even at night.

When it comes to selecting lighting sources with the right duration for outdoor settings, energy efficiency should always be a priority. Lights that are turned on late into the evening can quickly waste electricity resources if they’re not set up with motion sensors or timers to turn them off when no one is around. Additionally, based on the type of activity that takes place in the area after dark (i.e., sports games for stadium lighting or nighttime snacks for patio lights) you may want to adjust brightness levels accordingly so you not only save money but also enjoy all your outdoor experiences regardless of day or night.

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