All Aquaponics System from backyard to Commercial have three common components that is why its Aquaponics and not Hydroponics and so on.
These three components are Fish tanks, Grow beds and Bio-Filter because all Aquaponics system grow three thing Fish, Vegetables/plants and Bacterium.
Now; if you have not read my post on the “King and Queens of Aquaponics” please do as it really is important to understand this post.
This post, I am hoping will change your mind if you already have a Commercial Aquaponics System or if you are thinking of building one.
As always do your own research on the commits that I have placed on this post.
The Aquaponics Bio-Filter
Let me start by saying; that I personally believe this is the single most important component of an Aquaponics System.
There are three components of all Aquaponics system that makes it Aquaponics, different from Hydroponics or Aeroponics.
The three components are Fish tanks, Grow beds, and Bio-Filters these are what make an Aquaponics system.
To note if you don’t know, Aquaponics systems grow three products; 1) Freshwater aquatic animals, 2) vegetables/plants, and 3) bacterium.
This post is about the third and most important product that Aquaponics systems grow and that is the Bacterium, which is grown in the Bio-Filter, and its importance in the design of your Commercial Aquaponics System.
A Bio-Filter purpose in an Aquaponics system is to grow bacterium which then converts the Ammonia that Fish product into nitrate that helps plants grow.
The Bio-Filter is simply a tank, drum, barrel or grows bed filled with a media that allows the bacterium to clinch to the surface area of the media.
There are so many types of media that are used in the Bio-Filter and the sole purpose of media is to present as much surface area as possible for the bacterium to cling to.
Here are just some media that are used;
We use a formula that we use as our starting point is; 10Kg of fish will produce 7.5 grams of Ammonia, 1 sq./m of surface area with bacterium on it will convert 0.57 grams of Ammonia (Calculation created by Dr Abdel Razzaq M Al Tawahafrom University Putra Malaysia).
I understand that there are variables that effect ammonia produced and there are more detailed formulations BUT this has held well for us because:
The more surface area in your Bio-Filter (should be named converter) the more effective it will be to deal with ammonia , over extending the Bio- surface area’s reduces the challenges of controlling your PH / Ammonia in the system.
Too Much is better than not enough?
NOTE; A 20mm sphere or media, has a surface area of around 1256 sq/mm = 0.001256 sq/m, so you need approximately 780 x 20mm of media to create 1 sq/m of surface area.
Now when deciding which Aquaponics system to use for your Commercial Farm, I want to explain one more thing to consider:
There are two main systems used in the Commercial Aquaponics systems and they are the Deep Water Culture or raft system (DWC) and Nutrient Film Techniques (NFT) and NFT system is the favoured system for Hydroponics.
Neither of these systems use a large Bio-Filter because both systems are vegetable/plant priority in what produce, which means the Bio-Filter only need to be able to handle the volume of fish in the tank they decided to use for their system.
NOW: Let me plant a seed of thought, that I hope changes the way you design and build Commercial Aquaponics Systems and that the bigger the Bio-Filter the more fish you can grow, and that in turn will increase the profit that can be regenerated from the system.
“Together We Can Grow” bases our whole Commercial Aquaponics design around the Capacity for the Bio-Filter to convert Fish waste (ammonia), the bigger the Bio-Filter the more Fish we can grow.
So we start with sizing the Bio-Filter to our requirements and then build the other components around it.
I am no expert or a scientist in the Aquaponics field, but I have been involved with Aquaponics projects for a longer time and I want to give you my opinion on all the Ba Ba Ba about Aquaponics, you can take or leave it?