The word 'aquaponics' is derived from the combination of cultivating water plants (hydroponics) and raising aquatic animals. A system that includes a beneficial relationship between hydroponics and aquaculture is referred as hydroponics system.
In a symbiotic system, the water from aquaculture is directed to the hydroponic system whereby filtration of the waste matter is done. The plants absorb the wastes. Clean and filtered water is then redirected to the aquaculture system. There are several designs of the aquaculture system.
Depending on the size of the aquaponics system that you want, the design is as simple as the floating water plants in aquaculture tanks, or complex designs if the aquaculture system is meant for holding high fish stocking densities. The basic designs are discussed below.
Sump tank design: In this system water from aquaculture tanks is pumped to the hydroponics system. The water drains eventually to the sump tank. Inside the tank, there is another pump with a float valve that switches the pump on and off. When the water level rises in the sump tank, the valve opens and it pumps the water to the aquaculture tanks. This is one of the best system as it can set the height of the sump tank in order to maintain a desired level of water. This will allow another fish species to be reared in the tank.
Flow design: This is the simplest and the best design. In this design, there will be a continuous flow of water. The hydroponic system is set at the higher level than the aquaculture system. The water is pumped up to the plants, and once the water is filtered in the medium, then it trickles back to the aquaculture system. This system has some of the disadvantageous. The common setback is that the plants do not get the enough nutrients since the water is flowing continuously. If you want to counter this, you can create an irrigation grid whereby the grow bed is kept wet and full of nutrients.
Fish tank design: In this design the water flows through the system without the help of the pump in aquaculture tanks. The fish tank consists of an overflow pipe through which the water flows from the tank to the hydroponic system. Gradually, the water drains from the hydroponics system to the sump. This system has a timer and instruments in order to allow adequate flooding to the plant system for the maximum nutrient absorption.
Popular and Attractive Aquaponics Designs