I haven’t been able to start my aquaponics kit yet, because I immediately broke the tank part. Thankfully, after emailing the company, they are going to send me a replacement part. In the meantime, I have plenty of time to figure out how I’m going to do this.
After reading reviews online, I found out that a common problem with the kit is that the grow stones (which hold the plants in place) get moldy. According to the company, this is because the radish and wheatgrass sprouts, which are included with the kit, grow so quickly. The plants are supposed to be harvested after 3-4 weeks, max. The instructions also recommend keeping 1-2 plant pods planted with the sprouts at all times. Their quick growth rate is supposed to help jump-start the system.
There are also people complaining that their fish immediately died, but I know why that is. According to what I’ve learned about aquaponics in my biology class, it takes about a month for a tank to get properly seasoned. This has to do with the growth of the two types of beneficial bacteria, which break down the fish waste from ammonia to nitrite, and then to nitrate. The nitrate is the form of waste that the plants can use. So if you have a new tank, it’s important to make sure that there’s adequate plant life to absorb the fish waste.
This poses a bit of a problem, I think, when starting a new aquaponics system. Granted, I have no idea what I’m doing yet, so this is simply my thought process, without any real idea. But what if I put a semi-aquatic plant into one of the pots, and just never took it out? Wouldn’t that help to make sure that my fish was okay?
Additionally, if the tank gets really dirty, I may add a houseplant to the aquaponics system on top of the tank, but it would have to be a water-loving type. I might experiment and see if a spider plant would do well!
I’ll keep you posted on my progress… Pictures will be coming soon!