Many different designs have been created and experimented with in aquaponics design. However, at the end of it all, it still comes down to two basic elements, Hydroponics and Aquaculture. There is no doubt that hydroponics is well established and produces copious amounts of greens and fruiting vegetables. Ergo, the hydroponics designs being used today are beyond question. The same goes for freshwater aquaculture design on a global scale. The combination of the two has been attempted and to a certain degree been successful. However, companies that combine these although do so under one roof, are not strictly speaking aquaponics designs.
A pure aquaponic design is one that successfully combines both aspects into one that shares the water and its nutrients provided by the fish element. Large companies of this kind are not seen on the market to date. They tend to prefer keeping the water systems separate. The reasons for this are various but not altogether disclosed.
Aquaponics design – system
In its most basic form, aquaponics is the combination of Hydroponics and Aquaculture sharing the same nutrient-rich water provided by the fish and “purified” by the plants. This means that there are two separate systems that need to be successfully linked and above all balanced.
This term, “balanced”, applies to everything in the system since the design must be one that imitates a balanced natural cycle as in nature. The volume of water must be equal to the volume of plants it is to water. The fish must be balanced to the amount of water to be used. The fish feed must be balanced in nutrients. The water needs to be balanced in terms of pH a.s.o.
All this needs some calculation and aquaponics designs that are ready to go have already done these necessary calculations. Outlets that supply these systems usually have a lot of experience and know-how on these matters.
For people that are not in a position to layout the kind of cash that a ready-made Aquaponics design system can cost, piecing one together from salvaged parts is the answer. This produces a whole new different design but follows exactly the same principles.
Aquaponics design – details
A simple Aquaponics design is a large fish tank and a relatively shallow trough or two for plants connected by plastic plumbing tubes. The whole thing runs on a single water pump and a backup energy system should the grid go down.
A step up from that may be some automation such as a fish feeder a water pH monitor and a temperature monitor. Things can get quite sophisticated by adding a computer to run the show and keep in touch with online. The place the system is housed in, a greenhouse can also be linked to this system, and be controlled automatically.
The materials used for all this can be a store-bought ready aquaponics kit, a separately sourced item by item system, or a salvaged system. Ultimately it comes down to money and desire.
There are aquaponics designs that remind one of a shoestring budget, to the best and sleekest setups money can buy. All when assembled and well run produce really well.