Your Top Questions About Aquaponics – Answered

These days most people (and companies) are learning more about sustainable agriculture. The benefits are undeniable, and these sustainable systems can be scaled from the minimal household layout to the ulta-maximized industrial urban farms. Aquaculture is just one of the major forms of agriculture coming to the forefront. Aquaculture intersects aquaponics in many areas, although it isn’t necessarily the same thing. Here are your top questions about aquaculture, answered.

What’s the difference between aquaculture and mariculture?

Often, aquaculture refers to growing aquatic species for agriculture in self contained areas, such as tanks or ponds. Mariculture commonly refers to agriculture that involves raising aquatic species in their native environments, albeit in closed containers. However, some people also refer to aquaculture when speaking about primarily freshwater species, and mariculture for primarily saltwater species. Learn more about the differences. 

Is Aquaculture the Same as Aquaponics?

Aquaculture and aquaponics operate in much the same ways, and have many shared end goals. So what’s the difference between them? Aquaponics also involves growing plants. An aquaponic system combines the best parts of aquaculture and the best parts of hydroponics to create a balanced, symbiotic environment to grow both plants and livestock. On the other hand, aquaculture focuses solely on growing fish and other aquatic species like mollusks, shrimp, tilapia, and even seaweed. 

Why is the Water Turning Green?

Green water isn’t a good sign, whether you have an aquaponic or hydroponic system. The green color in the water often signifies a heavy algae presence. While a little algae is okay, the more that builds up in your system, the less oxygen and nutrients are available to your fish. Algae grows more in systems when there’s exposure to light, so covering open areas can reduce the amount of algae build up. 

What Kinds of Fish Can I Grow?

Depending on how you set up your system, you can grow most types of fish. However, the real point of an aquaponic system is to grow crops as well as marine livestock for food. You can raise any type of fish from carp to shrimp to tilapia and beyond. For ideas, check out our guide on the best fish for aquaponics, and the best plants for aquaponics. 

How Often Should I Feed Fish for Aquaponics?

Fish eat different amounts of food based on not only their species, but also their age. Typically you should feed your fish at least once a day, and up to three times a day. Don’t feed your fish more than they can eat within five minutes or less. Overfeeding can be just as harmful as underfeeding. If your fish consume all the food you give them in only a couple minutes, feel free to add a little more or feed them more frequently. Remember, overfeeding can create an imbalance in your system as the uneaten food breaks down. 

How Can I Keep an Eye on My Aquaponic System?

Aquaculture requires a lot of monitoring. Many hobbyists use separate devices to monitor the different parameters of their water quality. Often this includes a strip thermometer or pH meter, a self-regulating underwater heater, and a testing kit. However, each of those steps requires extra time and money. We recommend a more comprehensive sensor, like the Neo for aquaponics and aquaculture.