Setting up your own aquaponics system is not an easy task. There are several factors that you need to take into consideration. It would be best to familiarize yourself with how aquaponics works and the different fish species and plants that can be grown for food and learn the specifics of the optimum water conditions needed by the fish and plants to thrive before embarking on this adventure.
However, one more important consideration you need to make before finally begin fitting all your components together is where to put your aquaponics garden in your home?
Choosing the right location and area to build your aquaponics system is an essential consideration because it can affect the success of your system. This article will discuss the factors you need to consider in selecting the right location for your aquaponics system.
Factors to Consider in Choosing A Location for Aquaponics Systems
Below are the essential things you need to consider when it comes to choosing a location for your aquaponics system.
Choose a stable and level location for your aquaponics system. Some components of aquaponics, such as the fish tank and grow bed, are heavy, which can lead to a potential risk of the grow bed stand’s legs sinking into the ground. Not level aquaponics system can also lead to disrupted water flow, flooding, or collapse of the grow bed stand.
Find the most level and solid ground if your system will be built on the soil as much as possible. You can use concrete or cement blocks under the legs of your grow bed to improve stability. Some growers use stone chips to stabilize soil locations. Furthermore, placing the fish tank on a base is also essential as this will help provide more stability, protect the fish tank and allow for plumbings and draining at the bottom of the tanks.
2. Exposure to Sunlight and Shade
Plants need at least six hours of sunlight exposure per day to grow, so you’ll want to place your system where it can get enough sunlight. If the location where you want to put your system has little or no sunlight exposure, such as indoor aquaponics systems, you need to install artificial grow lights to supplement the sunlight.
However, if the sunlight in your chosen location is too intense, you need to install a simple shade structure over your grow beds to protect your plants from too much sunlight. This is because some light-sensitive plants like lettuce and salad greens will bolt in too much sun.
Unlike plants, fish don’t need direct sunlight. It is necessary to provide cover or shade to your fish tank to protect it from too much sun exposure. You can use a removable cover and shading material placed on top of the fish tank. This will prevent algae growth and help maintain a stable water temperature.
3. Exposure to Wind, Rain, and Snow
Extreme environmental conditions such as wind, rain, and snow can stress plants and destroy your aquaponics structures. Strong winds can leave a negative impact and damage plants. In addition, heavy rain can harm the plants and dilute the nutrient-rich water, while snow can also damage the plants and fish in the system. So it is recommended to build your system in a protected area to avoid problems.
4. Ease of Access
Another critical factor to consider in selecting a location for your aquaponics system is the availability of the utilities. You need to have easy access to electricity and water source. Electric outlets are necessary for your water and air pumps. The electrical outlets should be shielded from water and equipped with a residual-current device to reduce the risk of electrical shock.
Although aquaponics systems are water-efficient, it requires occasional water changes and cleaning of the filters and clarifiers. Therefore, your system should be located where it can be easily accessible for daily monitoring, daily fish feeding, and occasional harvesting.
5. Space Available
The available space is another essential factor that you need to consider. Aquaponics systems can take up space, so make sure your chosen location will have enough room for the system you are planning to build.
Depending on the type of fish you choose, you need to keep an eye on your temperature to ensure it meets their growing requirements. If you live in a hot climate, you need to keep your fish away from the direct sunlight, but if you live in colder weather, you need to ensure the water is warm enough to provide a healthy habitat for your fish.
Your fish and plants should be kept away from chemicals as well. So as much as possible, use an area with enough air circulation for your plants to breathe freely and at a reasonable temperature where your fish can grow and develop appropriately.
7. Other Factors to Consider
We provide the factors you need to consider in choosing a location for your aquaponics system. But we will provide two more special considerations you might want to make before making the final decision about your system’s location.
- Rooftop Aquaponics: Flat rooftops are a suitable location for aquaponics systems because they are stable, level, and can have excellent sunlight exposure. But, one thing you need to keep in mind in building a rooftop aquaponics system is the weight of your system and if your rooftop is capable of supporting it. So before building your system on your rooftop, consulting with a civil engineer or architect is better.
- Greenhouses: A greenhouse structure can be very beneficial for aquaponics systems. Greenhouses permit sunlight inside and capture the heat so that even when the sun sets, the walls and roofs of the greenhouse retain the war energy inside, optimizing plant growth.
With greenhouses, you can grow plants all year round. You can use small-sized greenhouses that are available for small-scale or backyard aquaponics systems or large greenhouses for commercial aquaponics systems.
The Ideal Locations for Aquaponics Systems
Once you have considered the factors mentioned above, the following are some ideal locations for your aquaponics system.
1. Against a South-Facing Wall
If you have plenty of sunlight exposure, this is the ideal location. Usually, the house’s south or southeast side gets the most sun from fall through winter (November to February in most places). Place the grow beds in the sunlight and fish tanks in shadier areas. Avoid placing your fish tanks in the direct sunlight as they can quickly get too hot and lower the dissolved oxygen in the water, which is fatal to the fish.
2. In a Corner
If you don’t have lots of space, you can put your aquaponics system in a corner. This way, your system will not take up much space, be accessible, and will still get sunlight exposure.
3. Near a Window
If you’re planning to build an indoor aquaponics system. Placing it near a window is an excellent option for your system to receive plenty of sunlight exposure. This will allow the plants to get as much sunlight as possible and limit your use of artificial grow lights, which can add to your cost of electricity.
4. In an Outdoor Space
Putting your mini aquaponics garden in an outdoor space is another great option if you have a backyard, patio, or balcony. This will allow your plants to receive enough sunlight exposure, protect your plants from predators and give you plenty of room to work. Just be sure that your outdoor space is strong enough to carry the weight of your mini garden.
5. In a Greenhouse
If you live in a colder climate or want to grow crops all year round, a greenhouse is a perfect location for your aquaponics system. Using a greenhouse will keep the plants warm and allow aquaponics growers to grow plants that wouldn’t usually survive in colder climates.
You need to consider several factors in determining where your aquaponics garden should be located. The type of fish you choose to raise will determine the temperature, so ensure it is also considered before deciding on a location. However, the most essential factor you should consider is ensuring your plants are safe from predators such as raccoons and rats and receiving enough sunlight to thrive.
You might think that there are many factors you need to consider and be overwhelmed by them. Well, don’t worry, this is just the start. Once your aquaponics system is established, and you learn the ins and outs of running an aquaponics garden, it will be much easier. All you need to do by then is regular maintenance and enjoy harvesting fresh and healthy vegetables and fish.