In today’s world of advanced technology and multi-national industrial expansion, there is constant and growing concern about ecology and how to grow natural foods in a clean, healthy environment.
One solution is to initiate and oversee the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants grown together in a completely health-promoting structured interior, called aquaponics.
What is an Aquaponics System and How Does It Work?
Aquaponics is symbiotic cultivation of aquatic species and plant life within an environment that continuously recirculates.
An aquaponics system combines the two types of aqua-farming—aquaculture (growing fish) and hydroponics (cultivating plants in water).
Fish effluent (waste) accumulates in the system tank’s water supply, making the water rich in plant nutrients but toxic to the tank’s aquatic animals. Within this nutrient enriched water, plants are cultivated and absorb these nutrients.
During the process, the plants lower and sometimes eliminate toxicity levels in the tank water, rendering the water healthy for the fish. This cycle continues, benefiting growth of both plants and aquatic animals.
No water is drained or exchanged, and fresh water is added only when significant amounts of this tank water have evaporated or been absorbed by the plants.
When the fish produce ammonia, a bacteria named Nitrosomonas sp transforms this substance into nitrite.
Subsequently, a second form of bacteria, Nitrobacter, causes conversion of the nitrite into nitrate. Absorbing the nitrate, the plants cleanse the water, creating a purified tank environment once again for the fish.
Aquaponics systems can contain fresh or saltwater, and system sizes can range from compact indoor units to large commercial systems.
Plant and fish types cultivated vary according to water type and system capacity.
While fresh water aquaponics systems depend on plants, aquatic species and nitrifying bacteria for operation, saltwater systems need just the two life forms of saltwater fish and seaweed or algae.
Going Off-Grid with Solar Panels to Power Your Aquaponics System
A major reason for using an aquaponics system in your home or as a business venture is to increase your self-sustainability or promote this idea and system to other people.
For this reason, it is sensible to power your aqua-garden with solar energy.
It also makes good sense to operate your ecologically sound, purifying aqua-farm with the natural power of the sun’s energy.
You will save a tremendous amount of money by eliminating your need for costly electrical power supplied by your local utility company.
Once you have installed solar panels for operating your aquaponics system, you will most likely want to convert your entire home energy source from electrical to solar energy power.
Important benefits to be gained from solar power for your aquaponics system include:
1. Major Energy Supply Problems Solved with Solar Panel Use
There are strong advantages to utilizing solar panels to power the operation of your aquaponics system.
If you have been practicing aquaponics cultivation for a while, you most likely have encountered problems with an electrical power interruption. You may have even had a power outage lasting a day or two, especially during harsh weather conditions.
If so, you probably had to rely on temporary power from a noisy gas-powered generator. By installing solar panels, you can start operating your aquaponics system with the sun’s pure, natural and reliable energy source.
2. Safe, Pure, Cost-Efficient Power Directly Harnessed from the Sun
Solar energy is a totally eco-friendly, inexpensive power source.
It is also completely safe.
You will never need to worry about fires or harmful gas fumes in your home when you use solar power.
In addition, generation of solar power produces no annoying sound like the noise from many gas generators. With batteries as a backup for power, you can benefit from energy from your solar panels for many hours at a time.
Although the presence of bright sunlight throughout the year in states like Florida and Arizona is a great benefit for consistent use of solar power, it is not a necessity.
Solar panels can store energy from the direct light on sunny days for use on cloudy or overcast days and, of course, during night hours.
3. Easy Installation of Your Solar-Powered Aquaponics Cultivation Environment
The first major item you will need for installing your solar-powered home aquaponics system is a pump with low amperage.
With an efficient, dependable pump, you can have steady power for your aqua-farm with fewer solar panels.
A pump drawing just 24 watts of power can support water elevation up to nine feet. It is best to install your solar panel or panels in close proximity to your aquaponics setup.
You may want to mount solar panels on the roof of your home or on a high pole support.
Your panels should face south if you live in the northern hemisphere and north if you are located in the southern hemisphere.
Taking into consideration the voltage of your solar panels and voltage needed for your pump, it may be necessary to wire a pair of panels placed together to achieve correct potential difference.
You should obtain a pump controller that will regulate the power flow from the solar panels to the pump.
This controller should also include a battery for storage of extra energy from the panels to be used during night hours or on cloudy and overcast days.
The solar panels and the pump should be properly wired to form a complete and secure control circuit for operation of your aquaponics system.
4. Simple Power Generation and Maintenance for Your Modern Aqua-Garden
You can charge your solar-powered aquaponics system using just a few essential elements for generating power.
A typical solar energy charging kit for a home aquaponics system includes four 15-watt solar panels with sturdy mounting frames and a 200-watt modified sine wave inverter device along with a 7-amp charge controller for solar power.
An installation wiring kit and accessories will also be provided. Nighttime battery discharge will be prevented by the diode blocking technology that is built-in.
This convenient kit has other handy capabilities as well.
It can be used to sustain a 12-volt battery charge. It can also be used as a charging source for electric-powered vehicles, equipment, boats, computers and other items.
With a 250-watt charging kit, you can gain more power, and with use of an expansion kit, you will have power increases of 310, 375 or more wattage.
Once your new aquaponics system is in place and powered with solar energy, you are ready to start populating this ecologically sound environment with aquatic animals and plant life.
You will soon be reaping the benefits of this pure, simultaneous cultivation of fish and plants.
This biologically balanced system will operate in continuous harmony. Now that your cultivation system is up and running, your role in the growing process is to maintain water levels, feeding and harvesting the fish appropriately so the tank is never overcrowded.
You, your family and friends can now enjoy the benefits of a completely safe, ecologically balanced source of sustainable food supply.
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