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Over the years, Aquaponics gained widespread recognition following its potential as a sustainable means of food production. You will come across folks practicing Aquaponics as a hobby, while others rely on the system as their regular income generator. Whatever group you may belong to, if you are in the midst of designing your own setup, consider this guide to Aquaponics system site selection.
In this article, you will learn the essential components to examine before selecting your Aquaponics site. Here are the 5 fundamental factors to consider in Aquaponics system site selection:
- Protection from Rain, Snow, and Wind
- Presence of Sunlight and Shade
- Utilities, Fences, and Accessibility
- Additional Factors to Consider
Importance of Aquaponics System Site Selection
Deciding where to position your Aquaponics system is an essential component you should consider before deploying your unit. Regardless of scale, keep in mind that several of the system’s necessary materials like tanks, growing media, and water are massive and tough to move. It is integral then to assemble your Aquaponics system in its permanent place. Spend considerable time thinking about these important elements before starting your build:
The first thing to remember when selecting your Aquaponics site is that the area should have an even and stable surface. As previously mentioned, most pieces of equipment for Aquaponics can be rather large and heavy. If you position your system in an unstable area, you face the risk of your unit sinking into the ground. This situation can result in system collapse, derailed water flow, and flooding.
When selecting an appropriate site, look for a flat, firm, and stable ground. While concrete slabs are acceptable, remember to avoid burying any components that could become tripping hazards. You can likewise set cement blocks or concrete under your grow beds to ensure stability. In case you will position your system on soil ground, consider utilizing stone chips to stabilize and even out the surface area. It is also crucial to arrange your fish tanks on a solid base to thermally set it apart from the ground, enable drains and plumbing beneath the tank, and provide adequate protection.
2) Protection from Rain, Snow, and Wind
Harsh weather conditions can bring about plant and fish stress, plus ruin your system structures. Heavy, persistent winds can harm crop production and destroy its reproductive sections. At the same time, torrential rains can damage your plants and break any exposed electrical sockets. Massive rain can likewise flood the system and saturate the nutrient-rich water.
Another element to consider is also the threat of snow. The winter climate brings about the danger of cold damage and other problems similar to heavy rains. If you are living in a region where heavy storms are typical, consider shielding your unit with a plastic-lined hoop shelter. Moreover, when selecting your Aquaponics site, choose a location that is protected from the rough wind.
3) Presence of Sunlight and Shade
One of the vital parameters in growing your crops is the amount of sunlight it receives each day. It is a fact that the best Aquaponics plants thrive excellently in the full sun. Nevertheless, bear in mind that intense heat can also damage your crops. It is essential then to provide shading materials to protect your grow beds. This is critical, especially for light-sensitive plants that quickly experience bolting such as cabbages, lettuce, and other salad greens.
Take note that a sunny area is vital for an Aquaponics site because positioning your system in a location with inadequate sunlight can lead to a delay in plant growth. If the only available space is in a shady spot, consider cultivating shade-tolerant crops. Similarly, you should position your fish tanks in a shaded place. The tanks likewise should have a different shading platform to discourage algae growth and retain consistent water temperature. Adding a net or other screening platform is also useful to protect your fish from wild predators.
4) Utilities, Fences, and Accessibility
Aquaponic units leverage air and water pumps that will require electric outlets. It is essential to protect these outlets from getting wet, and it should be built with a residual-current device to reduce the threat of electric shock.
Daily routine monitoring is necessary to make sure your system is within optimal parameters. Hence, the location you will choose should be regularly accessible to you. Lastly, examine the site if it will require a fence. Building a barrier can protect your system from wild animals, vandalism, and theft.
5) Additional Factors to Consider
We have outlined the factors you need to consider in choosing your Aquaponics site. However, we are providing below two more special considerations you might want to explore before making your final decision.
Installing a rooftop system is feasible for Aquaponics since flat rooftops are stable, level, and already exposed to sunlight. Take note, though, to check the weight of your unit when considering this location and see to it, the roof is adequate to support the system. Before installing rooftop Aquaponics, it is best to consult first with a Civil Engineer or an Architect. Additionally, assess if you can safely and efficiently transfer all your materials to the site.
Though greenhouses may not be fitting for small-scale Aquaponics system, the structure is highly beneficial. The role of this building is to permit sunlight inside and then capture that heat inside the greenhouse. Even when the sun sets, the walls and roof of the greenhouse retain the warm energy inside for 24 hours.
Greenhouses are ordinarily wood, plastic, or metal frame structure covered with clear plastic, nylon, or glass. This type of framework can offer your system protection from harsh weather conditions, animals, and theft. Still, before deciding on this type of structure, know that constructing greenhouses require considerable starting and operating costs.