Aquaponics and filtration
When it comes to setting up a growing bed, the growing media represents a vital fact. It can improve or make difficult the filtration process. Filtration can be done biological or mechanical.
Mechanical filtration is the one in which the media placed in the growing container acts as a filter. This acts like a protective layer that stops extra waste from going back into the fish tank. Anyway, this has a limited utility due to the fact that if the flowing rate is increased, smaller debris can go through the growing media. So, you need to follow closely the design you have chosen for your entire system. If you select a growing media that does not fulfill the needs of your system, you will end up harming it. This will happen because the grow media can only take a certain amount of waste. But if it happens to experience accumulation of debris on the growing media, you will have to properly clean it and adjust the system. Keep in mind that this can interfere with the nitrogen cycle. In order to avoid those kinds of problems, it is recommended for you to stick with the initial numbers that concern feeding, fish stock and type of food. Furthermore, you can opt for installing an extra filter like a sponge, which will act as a magnet for big pieces of waste. Also, this filter needs to be cleaned regularly.
Biological filtration is strictly related to the nitrogen cycle. The way in which the nitrifying bacteria acts determines the way in which the entire system will function. This is a crucial aspect due to the fact that it is responsible for the nutrients your plant will receive. In an aquaponic system, the media bed is the one that acts mostly as a biological filter. This happens because it represents the biggest area where the bacteria can evolve and spread. Keep in mind that this biological filtration can be stopped or diminished because of some changes in the aquaponic system. One of them is the temperature shift. If the temperature goes lower than the system was used to, it will slow down the process of growing bacteria. The quality of the water is essential too because it can alter the well-functioning of the nitrogen cycle.
When time passes, the process of mineralization starts to take place. This means that the waste and debris are transformed into the benefic nutrients that plants can feed on. If you experience some sort of clogginess in the growing media, you may want to check up how the mineralization process works. This can be an alarm signal that this mineralization is not enough and your plants might need extra nutrients. Furthermore, experts say it is better to turn towards mechanical filtration in order to properly filter the waste.
Bottom line, for a healthy aquaponic system you will have to pay close attention to the growing container and the growing media. Those act like a barrier between your plants and nutrients. Your goal is to make that part of the system to function correctly.
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