Aquaponics or Aquarium: Which is right for me?

Aquaponic Fish

Having fish as pets demands a certain level of responsibility from the owner.  Daily feeding is necessary. In addition,you need to regularly clean the tank, change the water, and change the filters.All to keep your pet happy which will in turn keep you happy.  Running an aquaponics system is a little different. Your fish are part of your workforce within the system as well as being fun pets. They also require daily attention.

However, in aquaponics tending to fish is easier and more beneficial than the usual aquarium setup. The symbiosis of aquaponics makes life simpler for the owner. As you enter your aquarium room every morning, you listen closely and look around to get a sense that everything is still running smoothly. Most days you are simply scanning for potential problems and do not find any (thank gosh!). There are several tell-tale signs that something is amiss; all you need to do is learn the language of the sounds and sights of aquaponics.

An unusually quiet stillness where there should be a pump humming, the lack of the usual gurgle of running water from a filter. There might be water on the floor, or even worse, fish on the floor. Overnight, a power outage could have disabled some of your equipment, causing harm to your set up. If the problem is simple, like resetting a power strip, you could solve it immediately. Something more serious, like a leak, might need to be set aside until you have an opportunity to fix it properly.

Another trick to ensure a healthy tank is simple: keep an eye on your fish. If they are swimming around contentedly and eager to be fed every morning, then all is well. If they look sluggish or discolored, a problem is at hand. While doing this quick visual check up, testing temperature, pH level, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are also important to make sure that the elements you cannot see are working properly as well.

The bacteria and microorganisms that live alongside all living creatures can’t be seen by the naked eye. But, you can make sure that they are still thriving with these routine tests. If you find a shockingly different result when testing any of those levels, then something is clearly not working correctly. For both a regular aquarium and an aquaponics set up, the above information is applicable. Every day you should check on your fish just to make sure something bad did not happen behind your back.

Most fish are resilient and can actually stand a few days without your attention, but we like to give them attention anyway, right? With an aquaponics system, rather than your regular aquarium, you have another aspect to attend to. Of course, I am talking about the plants! In an aquaponics system, the plants act as a natural filter, sucking nutrients from the water before it goes back to the fish tank. In the same way you would look to see if a conventional aquarium filter is running, you would also check out the plants in your garden; examine their growth, pluck dying limbs, check for unusual spots or maybe harvest some fresh vegetables or herbs.

Sounds like more work, no? Here’s why it’s not: with your regular aquarium, the filter needs to be changed or cleaned every few weeks, depending on tank and filter size. This task is not too fun. One must clean the separate filter parts, piece by piece, with hot water to remove built up bacteria. You might have to change out the carbon in the filter as well. It all leads to a mess in your sink for the sake of a clean filter being restarted. The difference in aquaponics is that the plants themselves are acting as the filter, no need to fuss. With aquaponics, you gain the benefit of harvesting fresh plants that act as a natural filter.

No more tedious, routine cleanings! Plus you can harvest the fish if you choose to. So for those of you who know the pain of taking care of your aquarium filter, why not consider switching to aquaponics? Just let the plants do that work for you.

No matter how you choose to keep your pet fish, some level of maintenance is necessary to keep a healthy system. It is up you, the owner, to decide whether you want just a pretty tank to look at, or a functional growing machine that also has a scientific beauty to it. With a little extra effort, your pets can help you be a home gardener extraordinaire.

Keep gardening with a smile

The Trifecta Team

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