Of the many ways to set up a garden the growing of plants in a water-based systems are gaining popularity. Aquaponics is a sustainable method of raising both fish and plants and combines raising fish in tanks (aquaculture) with soilless plant cultivation (hydroponics).
How much space do you need for aquaponics?
The amount of space you need for aquaponics depends on how big a system you want to build and what you make the system out of. Consider how many and the type of fish and plants you want to grow so that you can determine how small or big your aquaponic system needs to be. You can read out article on how large should the tank be in aquaponics to estimate the size of the tank you need.
Does the size of aquaponics matter?
Yes, the size of the fish tank and grow beds that make up the aquaponics system matters. The system works on the principle of the fish waste becoming food for the plants. If the fish tank and grow beds are not proportionate to each other, there will be no adequate filtration for the fish or the plants may wither.
The size of the fish tank defines the ultimate size and flexibility of the aquaponics system. If you are building a small, desktop system using an aquarium, you will be limited to aquarium fish that will live comfortably in the tank that you own. If you want to grow larger, edible fish, choose a tank that is at least 18” (457mm) deep and holds at least 50 gallons (189 liters) of water. Tanks need to hold approximately 50 gallons or more in order to grow plate-sized fish.
Aside from that, there are two situations that you can also consider in determining the size of fish tank for aquaponics:
- Keeping fish as ornamentation. If you want to give your fish space, you can store 1 fish (about a pound in weight) to every 5 gallons of water. For smaller fish, you can fit in more according to this ratio.
- Rearing fish. If you want to rear more fish, then the ratio can be increased. A ratio of one pound of fish to every 3 gallons of water can be used. You will be able to fit in more fish with this but it needs to be maintained and monitored. This works well for tilapia farming.
The size of the grow bed is determined by the fish tank volume. This is because the plants need the fish waste to thrive. The recommended grow bed to fish tank ratio is approximately 1:1. This ratio can also be thought of in gallons per cubic foot, striving for 6 gallons (22 liters) of fish tank to every cubic foot of grow bed. You can extend this rule of thumb all the way to 2:1 (twice the fish tank volume to grow bed volume) but be sure to reduce the stocking density of your fish tank accordingly as this approach reduces your ability to filter the fish tank water with the grow bed plants.