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The Basics of AquaGrove Maintenance

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The Basics of AquaGrove Maintenance

When first beginning an aquaponic garden, new growers often have questions about what will be involved with maintaining the system. In order to have success with any aquaponics system, you will need to establish a balance. For a balanced system, you will need to have a process in place for observation, testing and maintenance.

Here are a few areas to consider as you begin creating your own process and procedures for maintaining your AquaGrove:

Daily Observation and Monitoring
Every day you should monitor and inspect the fish and the system. How is the water flowing?  Is the aeration system working as it should? Growers should observe the patterns of the fish – Are they eating well?  Are they swimming normally?  You should also keep an eye out for potential issues such as fungus, open soars, torn fins, or discoloration.  The water levels should be checked regularly for both temperature and pH.  And don’t forget about vegetation!  It is important to take the same care and time for observation to check the plants for pests and insects and to remove any dead plant matter.

Water Quality Testing
When getting started with aquaponics, it is important to invest in a water test kit, which will enable you to measure and keep track of pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, and water hardness. Most kits sold are easy to use and are based on color changes in the sample being tested. Meters that measure dissolved oxygen, temperature and other factors are also available. For more detailed information on pH monitoring, check out our previous post - Lessons in Aquaponics: pH and Plants.

Feeding Fish & Fish Food

When choosing fish food, it is important to purchase a brand made specifically for aquaponics from a reputable supplier.  Fish food that is made for use in aquaponic systems will contain the extra nutrients that are essential for plant growth and are not typically found in a standard commercial fish food.  As far as maintenance is concerned, you should feed your fish twice daily and follow the 5-15 rule.  What is the 5-15 rule? It’s easy - If your fish eat all the food in less than 5 minutes, you are underfeeding them; if after 15 minutes there is food remaining, then you are overfeeding.  By keeping a daily record, you can adjust your feeding amounts for optimal balance.

Cleaning Filters and System
The key to a healthy system is keeping it clean, removing any dead or unhealthy plants or fish.  Additionally, users will want to make sure that solids are being properly captured by the filter.  While the ideal environment will have a certain level of bacteria to keep the system balanced, the filter will still need to be changed. As part of the AquaGrove assembly manual, there are easy step-by-step filter assembly maintenance instructions with a diagram included.

While the above listed maintenance areas cover some of the basics, more comprehensive steps and tips are included with AquaGrove in the form of a Start-up Guide. To learn more about starting and maintaining a successful aquaponic garden, contact AquaGrove.