Not Many Crops Available
There are a range of crops of which cannot be grown within aquaponics. Aquaponics, is a combination of both conventional aquaculture and hydroponics, meaning water is used as a substitute for soil. This method can becomes an issue when considering that specific plant species such as tuberous plants and root vegetables perform most of their needed growth within soil. Many of the plants excluded from the aquaponics system are consumed widely throughout today’s society and play a large role in cultures and diet. in this sense aquaponics may serve as an inconvenience and would not be an appropriate primary source of producing food. some of the plants excluded from the aquaponics system include:
- sweet potato
- or any other root vegetable.
by furthering our research into aquaponics and the issues involved, alterations and improvements can be made in order to widen the range of plants that can be grown as well as overcoming other flaws within the system.
Costly To Set Up
One of the disadvantages of aquaponics is that it is costly to set up and maintain. to build and set up a backyard aquaponics system ranges from $2000 to $11000 depending on what kind of set up. Below is a table of the of the total cost of everything to set up and maintain a aquaponics system. Most of the cost is buying all the equipment. This is of course only the cost of set up. There is also the fish and plants to buy and there is your monthly electricity bill as well. The fish will cost around $200 to $1320 depending on what system. The seedlings are much cheaper and will range around from $60 to $360.
But by the time everything has been set up, vegetables will have grown and will be able to sell them and make a stable profit from the produce. Those who decide to set up small scale aquaponics systems from home will also save money because they no longer have to spend money vegetables in the supermarket, and are even able to sell their produce for a profit.
High Electricity Usage
One disadvantage of using an aquaponic system is that the electricity outputs are very high. This is because the fish tank needs to be kept a certain temperature 24 hours a day. This is an obvious problem for developing countries, as they don’t have any power sources in their villages.
A way to combat this issue could be to provide these villages with some sort of power source like a wind turbine, or some solar panels etc. Although this would just be an extra output. However, if the aquaponics system is to be set up in somewhere like Australia, where electricity isn’t a problem, it would be a very successful industry, because it could use infertile use, which wouldn’t usually be used for conventional farming practices. Aquaponics does not have to be the advanced process used within western countries, instead it can be through the traditional methods used throughout history, which despite being less advanced are still highly efficient.
Must Be Professionally Installed
An aquaponics system is a complex structure that must be constructed flawless in order to function. To construct and maintain a large scale aquaponics system, requires knowledge and experience that many do not have and thus mistakes are easily made. When aquaponic systems are being constructed or maintained incorrectly, losses of fish and crop occur, which equates to loss of time and money. Due to the great faults that could potentially occur, many are unwilling to try aquaponics as common agriculture and fisheries would seem far less risky. Some of the mistakes commonly made throughout aquaponic systems include
- overcrowding fish tanks - lead to lack of oxygen and high ammonia and nitrate levels, which can be fatal to fish
- inaccurate pH levels - prevents plants from absorbing nutrients and stunts fish growth, which can be fatal for both.
- unsuitable pumps and piping - by using cheap pumps and piping there is a far higher chance of system failure.
- not clearing waste regularly enough - when waste solids from both fish and food are not filtered or cleared, they begin to decompose and rid the water of oxygen.
In order to overcome issues such as these it is vital that aquaponic systems are installed professionally, and that those responsible seek information or assistance and are fully aware of the systems expectations and function.