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Aquaponics System - 5 Common Mistakes

Here are 5 common mistakes people make setting up their aquaponic system and an additional 5 tips to help ensure the success of your aquaponic garden.

There are five of the tip mistakes setting up an aquaponics system.

The toughest part about aquaponics is the setting up. Most enthusiasts face the most difficulty in the beginning when they are first constructing their system. Once a system is built and completed, it pretty much runs itself and you can take a well-deserved rest and wait till your plants and vegetables to grow.

However, if you make mistakes initially in the construction, the problems will rear their ugly head later on. In some cases, rectifying the problem may be a huge hassle and may even jeopardize the whole system. So, it is best to do everything correctly in the beginning.

This article will highlight the 5 most common mistakes people make with their aquaponics systems. However, this list is just a primer. You will need to do as much research as you can on setting up an aquaponics system first. You can always grab an aquaponics book from or even view the online video course at

The List of Aquaponic System Mistakes…

1. Water not at correct pH value

This one mistake causes so many problems from plants not being able to absorb nutrients properly to even fish dying. You want to ideally be in the 6.8 to 7.0 pH range. This will ensure that the plants, fish and the whole ecosystem functions properly.

2. Poor quality or too many pumps

The whole aquaponics system can function without any human interference as long as the pump functions properly. Many people skimp and buy low quality pumps or too many weak pumps. You only need 1 strong pump to pump the water. You will save money and your system will be better.

3. Not keeping an eye out for disease

Parasites and diseases can affect both the plants and fish. Neglecting to check your fish and plants on a daily basis can lead to a spread of the disease. If detected in time, the problem can be nipped in the bud. You will be able to use biological control to remedy the situation immediately and save the system from collapse.

4. Using pipes for you aquaponics system that are too small

Pipes that are small are neater but they get clogged more easily. Use pipes that are large enough for smooth water flow. When bacteria grows and clogs the pipes, this is known as bio-fouling.

5. Failure to clear leftover food and solid waste

Always clear leftover food and solid waste. A portion of the fish’s feces will usually be dry waste. When accumulated, this waste will become much heavier and a potential problem. Use filtration methods to clear these solid wastes before they cling on to the plant’s roots and decrease oxygen levels in the water as they start to decompose.

There are several other factors that people may make mistakes with. These could be feeding rate ratios, not supplying nutrients in the first 6 months of setting up a system, failure to ensure good aeration, being careless with the aggregates, etc.

The only way to avoid all these issues will be to have a very thorough understanding of the whole setup and system. You will need to decide on the scale of your aquaponics systems and its goals. It could be a hobby or a commercial operation.

Whatever the case, the fundamentals will apply and you can only learn those with proper research or guidance from someone experienced. Do what you can to learn whatever you can.

5 Simple Tips for a Thriving Aquaponics Garden

  1. In order for you to have an aquaponics garden that flourishes, you will need a good, workable plan to begin with. The first tip would be to plan well. You will need to work on the location of the garden, the budget, the costs, fish, plants and anything else that you may need.
  2. The second tip is the location. This is the most crucial decision you will have to make. The location will have to be beneficial to both the aquaculture and hydroponics system. The three main points to consider regarding location are temperature, sunlight and space. The aquaponics system requires lots of sunlight. The plants will get nutrients from the “fish water” but they’ll also need sunlight for photosynthesis. The temperature should be fairly constant too without any drastic fluctuations. The system should not be subject to harsh weather conditions, strong winds or heavy rain.
  3. The third tip for a thriving garden would be the correct selection of fish. The beauty of an aquaponics system is that it gives you the freedom to use the most types of fresh water fish. Goldfish, tilapia, koi, guppies, etc… The only thing you will have to consider is the rules and regulations of the country or state you live in. Certain states have regulations that prevent you from keeping a certain species of fish. So, it would be best to do a quick check and see if what you’re doing is legal. Also, the number of fish you choose to keep depends on the size of your aquaculture system. It goes without saying that the smaller your tank, the less fish you can keep. Overcrowding will just lead to the fish dying. In aquaponics, balance is key!
  4. The fourth tip will be aerating the water. It’s also known as oxygenation. Oxygenating the water serves two purposes. Firstly, it provides much needed oxygen to the fish. Fish in closed environments such as tanks or man-made ponds require aerated water to provide them with enough air on a regular basis. If you see your fish constantly coming up to the surface to gasp for air, that means the water lacks oxygen. Another purpose of oxygenating the water is to break down the ammonia from the fish waste into nutrients that will feed your plants. This is an important process for your aquaponics system.
  5. The fifth tip is the additives. The aquaponics system is about using the nutrients from the fish waste to grow healthy, organic plants. In most cases, the nutrients in the waste water will be sufficient for the plants. However, in the event that the water is lacking certain nutrients like calcium, iron, etc., you may choose to add these additional nutrients to your plants to make them healthy and vibrant.

It may take a while to achieve just the right balance for your aquaponics system. Not to worry. It’s a trial and error process for most of us. Once you do achieve the balance, your system will be smooth sailing all the way and it’s definitely worth the work of getting there. Visit for more valuable information about setting up your aquaponics system.

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