Before starting to create your aquaponics system, you should give some thought as to where you are going to put it. In many cases, you may not have a choice of locations. If you do have a choice, it is important to consider that the chosen site will get 4-6 hours of sunlight on the grow beds and none at all on the fish tanks if possible.
Sun on the fish tanks helps algae to grow. Growing invasive plants on the top of the fish tank provides shade and shelter for the fish.
Some other factors to consider are:
Access to power. You need power to operate pumps and aerators, so they are best located near existing power sources. Running long extension leads is not the best because of voltage drops and the danger associated with them.
- Access for planting, harvesting and maintenance. When the growbeds are full of plants, it can be very hard to reach over to the back of them to harvest or replant. Many plants will hang over the growbeds, so it is a good idea to leave at least 750mm between the growbeds. Access to all sides of the fish tanks is also very important, as fish can be hard to catch. We’ve planned our system to allow wheelchair access, as well as skidsteer access for adding more components as we expand the system.
- Seasonal differences. There are large differences between the summer and winter sun tracks. Make sure your chosen site gets enough sun in winter.
- Existing vegetation. Don’t place your system under deciduous trees or plants that have a heavy blossom drop. Some of these plants are poisonous to fish and even affect plant growth.
- Children and pets (including chooks!). Make sure your system is child and pet friendly and safe. We’ve had issues with chooks eating all of our lettuce and salad greens – they weren’t happy with the leftovers!