Dealing with a Flooding Aquaponics System
Aquaponics systems vary from the simple to complex though they will each work according to a few basic principles. Dealing with aquaponics system flooding is a very important aspect and depending on whether the system uses continuous flow, flood and drain or pump in sump methods, different solutions can be tried out to handle the flooding. The continuous system works by pumping water from a fish tank up to the grow bed. The water then trickles into the surface and as it enters the media, it will then start trickling back into the fish tank. Another method that works well is having an outlet in the rear of the fish tank at an elevated position. This will help in keeping the grow bed flooded at all times. However, if the flooding is not controlled it can lead to water logging and some part of the grow bed may also start to stagnate and even become anaerobic. To control unnecessary flooding, a flood and drain method is used which keeps grow beds flooded to optimal levels and so enables better plant growth.
Using a Timer
With the help of a timer, it becomes easier to flood and also drain an aquaponics system. This timer will regulate a pump which sends water to fill the growing beds. By using stand pipes it becomes easier to set a maximum water level for the grow bed. Standpipes are freestanding pipes into which water will be pumped in order to achieve desired pressure at the bottom of the pipe. As soon as water reaches beyond a certain level, it will be sent over the stand pipe top and from there down into a drain. After the pump is switched off, water will ebb out from tiny holes that perforate the standpipe at its base.
Flood and Drain Cycle
A second option in so far as controlling flooding of the aquaponics system goes requires creating a cycle that alternately drains and floods the grow bed. In this system, use is made of an ‘Auto-siphon’ that depends on a constant and slow flowing of water into the growing bed. As soon as the water reaches a certain height, the auto-siphon will begin draining the grow bed. This draining begins as soon as the pressure in the auto-siphon changes.
The result is quicker draining of water, but at the same time, the auto-siphon is also not foolproof and is known to fail at odd times. So, it bears keeping this fact in mind before opting for this method.
Use a Pump
Using a pump can help draw water from a fish tank that can then be sent to flood the grow bed. In order to deal with potential flooding all that is required is to use top tubing to act as the overflow. As soon as water reaches the top tubing it will start draining out of the growing bed and will return back to the fish tank. Also, switching off the pump, the water begins to flow through the tubing and back into the fish tank.
Dealing with aquaponics system flooding can be quite simple and it is up to the owner to decide which method is best suited for their aquaponics system. The above methods can prove to be very effective in dealing with whatever flooding takes place in the aquaponics system.