November 01, 2021
Air Pumps for Aquaponics
Why aeration is essential to a healthy aquaponics ecosystem
“Quality air pumps are an irreplaceable component of aquaponic systems, and many systems have been saved from catastrophic collapse because of an abundance of DO.” ~Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
What is aquaponics?
Aquaponics combines aquaculture (raising fish in tanks) and hydroponics (growing vegetables/ plants in water with a soil-less media).
This balanced, self-contained, and natural process mimics the ecosystems of rivers, lakes, ponds, and waterways yielding 100% organic fish and vegetables.
How does it work?
The three living components that drive the closed loop system are fish, beneficial bacteria, and plants – the only outside input is fish food. Fish naturally excrete urine and feces into the tank, and their waste is high in ammonium and can become highly toxic.
Therefore, the water in the tank is pumped to a biofilter, which is loaded with beneficial bacteria. The beneficial bacteria – which are fed by oxygen from an air pump – breaks down the ammonia into nitrates. The water is then pumped to a soil-less media bed (hydroponics) where the nitrates act as fertilizer to the plants. The plants remove the nitrates from the water (purifying it), and the clean water then returns to the fish tank to complete the loop.
What are the benefits of aquaponics?
– Since aquaponic systems can be installed indoors, food can be produced anywhere and throughout the entire year
– The biological cycle is 100% chemical-free and does not require pesticides or herbicides
– Since aquaponics is a closed loop system, it uses ~90-95% less water than traditional farming methods
– The food produced has more nutrients and is generally thought to taste better
– Vegetables tend to grow 3x faster because of their exposure to 100% natural nutrients, 24 hours a day
– Aquaponics help support food independence
Without proper dissolved oxygen levels, aquaponics would fail. Fish require oxygen to survive, grow, and multiply. Beneficial (Aerobic) bacteria need oxygen to live and multiply in the biofilter. Without the bacteria, the plants wouldn’t absorb the fertilizer needed to grow. Therefore, a reliable air pump is essential and a quality diffuser is important. Professionals recommend a “fine bubble” diffuser which creates more bubbles and thus more surface area for oxygen to transfer into the water. It’s imperative to check the diffusers regularly, so they don’t clog.
HIBLOW Linear Diaphragm Air Pump Advantage
Many professionals believe that a linear diaphragm air pump is the best technology for aquaponics because the design is built for 24/7, 365-day use. The pumps are energy efficient, running on less electricity than an incandescent light bulb. They’re also quiet – producing a noise level far lower than a normal conversation. A HIBLOW linear diaphragm air pump handles higher pressures so users can set up 2+ airlines to aerate the tank and biofilter. Finally, the pumps can be easily rebuilt 2 times for an overall life of 12+ years in many cases.
Author: Mike Miner
November 01, 2021