Irrigation in aquaponics
Usually, you can opt for various irrigating methods depending on the area you live in. This is due to the fact that supplies in gardening stores can slightly differ. A simple option for those that do not want to emerge into a complicated operation is that of using pipes with holes in it.
The most popular method in this field is the one called ebb and flow. The water from a fish tank floods a media bed. From this point is filtered and redirected into the fish tank. In order to set up this flood and drain system, you will have to use autosiphones or a timer for the pumps to start the process. This is a method that will assure you that your plants are constantly getting the nutrients they thrive for. Furthermore, the roots are allowed to absorb oxygen which will increase your chances of growing a healthy plant.
Another quite popular method is that of installing an autosiphon, which is called Bell. It does not require a timer in order to flood and drain your beds. This is a sensitive method due to the fact that you need to constantly monitor it. The siphon relies on the proper circulation of the water. Its flow determines the siphon to automatically start the process, but if there are shifts in the water`s flow you may experience some problems.
A bell siphon has three main parts. The standpipe is basically a PVC tube that will go through the bottom of your grow bed. It represents the road your water will take when drained. The bell is also a PVC tube, but it is different due to the fact that it has an end-cap at one end. This allows proper oxygenation. The last component is called the media guard. It is the point where the gravel is stopped from going through pipes, which will avoid several system blockings.
The other method is based on a timer. This will allow the pump to manage the flooding and draining process. This requires less hard work, but it has a main disadvantage: if there is not enough oxygen in the fish tank, the filtration will be more than difficult. Furthermore, if your fish stocking is high, you will have to keep a close eye on the oxygen levels for this method to work. The timer method requires proper filtration combined with maintenance.
Bottom line, those two irrigating methods are the most important for aquaponics. One is simple, but needs intensive care, other is more mechanized and functions based on a timer. Choosing one in the detriment of another relies strictly on the particularities of your system. For small systems, an autosiphon is more than enough. But if you want to extend your initial investment, opting for a pump with a timer may turn out to be the safest method. Anyway, proper irrigation ensures you that your plants grow happy and healthy. This is the way in which you feed them the benefic nutrients.
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