If you are going to get into hydroponics and aquaponics you will need tanks. These tanks will be used for growing plants and possibly raising fish.
For aquaponics and hydroponics tank sizes may very greatly. Some systems may utilize a tank as small as 10 gallons. Other commercial outfits may have several 1,500 gallon tanks. Manufacturers make tanks in several different sizes. Common sizes are:
Manufactured aquaculture tanks are usually made out of polyethylene, which is very durable. Other factors of polyethylene are:
- it is UV stabilized
- prevents algae from growing on it
- FDA approved
- won’t leach the chemicals
- light weight
- seamlessly made
Fiberglass is another material to consider. It can be formed to a custom shapes. Another option is to build your own tanks with materials like wood, fiberglass, pond liners, bricks, cinder blocks and other materials you find in a home improvement store. Aquariums (old or new) could also be used. If you are going to raise fish to eat you should probably use tanks made out of polyethylene.
Aquaculture tanks take the form of many shapes. Some popular choices are round flat bottom, round cone-shaped bottom, rectangle, square, raceway (long rectangle) oval.
Advantages and disadvantages of tank shapes
Cone shaped tanks have an advantage as they make it easy for solids to settle in the middle and then be drained out. Round tanks are self-cleaning in that the circular shape facilitates the flow of water, keeping the solids suspended for filtration. Round tanks are also less expensive. Flat bottom tanks can sit right on the ground while cone tanks have to have a stand.
Raceway style tanks are popular at fish hatcheries because they can be built in series (rows) and have a high circulation rate. However water quality sometimes suffers because they are hard to oxygenate.
If you have pet fish you can use their water for hydroponics/aquaponics. In the case of an old aquarium you could turn it into a hydroponic grow bed itself by using a net to hold the aggregate. In this set up the roots of the plants would make their way down to the water to gain their nutrients. Another way to utilize your pet fish to feed your plants would be to place a small garden above your tank. Water from the aquarium is pumped up to the garden and then by gravity and hoses it flows back down into the tank.
Already have a koi pond? Why not have a garden too! You could tie hydroponic grow beds into your filtration system to grow your garden. Not only will this benefit your fish, but also your plants will appreciate nutrients from the fish.
As you can see there are many types of tanks for aquaculture purposes. It all depends on what you may want to do as to which kind would suite you best.
For more information about hydroponic and aquaponics systems visit Aquaponics 4 You!