The need for proper water conditions should always be foremost in your mind. Whether you are considering moving from a home aquarium into a retrofit solution to add an aquaponics garden or starting to design a system from scratch, the issue of adding biofiltration defines whether the ammonia is efficiently reduced to nitrate for the plants. Any biofilter requires a few things, mainly access to ammonia, either as ammonia in higher pH or the much safer ammonium when the pH is below 7. Then a clean solid surface for the bacteria to colonize and multiply. Finally they need adequate oxygen to perform the reduction properly. Without oxygen they wil often reverse the process anaerobically.
Adding biofiltration offers a way to efficiently produce the most valuable component in the aquaponic system, nitrate. In a recent article by Paul Van der Werf titled 10 of the Many Benefits to using Biofiltration in Aquaponics, he provides a list of the reasons they will help:
1) Convert the fish wastes into perfect plant food. Most plants don’t like ammonia, the biofilter does the heavy lifting for you and provides the plants with what they need – Nitrate!
2) Take the guess work out of systems biological needs provided you know how much feed you put in.
3) Helps reduce the oxygen demand on the system (particularly aerated moving bed bio filters and if solids are removed).
4) A moving bed filter helps keep the Carbon Dioxide under control. Even though most aquaponics run at low pH and low alkalinity, this is still very important should you raise either one.
5) Very inexpensive and easy to build. Can be as little as $100 which will save you $$$ in dead fish…
6) With the right bio media they can be 8 times smaller than a grow bed required for the same job
7) They don’t require cleaning to keep them working at their peak
8) Require next to no maintenance. They just keep ticking alone regardless of what you do with your plants in the media bed. You can remove plants all you like without disturbing the “balance” in the system.
9) Gives you the means to isolate the plants from the fish should you need to. This is often required if you need to clean your growbeds out or heavily treat the fish with salt, something your plants don’t like.
10) Very little loss of precious Nitrogen to the atmosphere. When your media bed gets too much nasty in it, it continues to complete the nitrogen cycle and converts the Nitrogen in your system to Gas and it is gone!
– See more at: http://www.earthangroup.com.au/10-of-the-many-benefits-to-using-biofiltration-in-aquaponics/#sthash.7n7dHeQw.dpuf
Adding Biofiltration is often simple
When considering an aquaponics garden on a home aquarium, in most cases it is easy when adding biofiltration to the system, there are many proven aquarium filters that are quite biological in nature. On of the best when adding biofiltration is the Undergravel filter. It requires minimal space and uses no replaceable media, just the gravel substrate. The article is recommending fluidized beds and wet/dry systems. These would be useful for adding biofiltration in much larger systems