Aquaponics Water Testing Manual

A free manual From the Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture.

Testing your Aquaponic System Water:
A Comparison of Commercial
Water Chemistry Methods

Introduction:

Aquaponics involves the dynamic interaction of fish, plants, bacteria, and their aqueous environment. The fish and plants are dependent on the balance of dissolved nutrients and quality of the water, as they generate and utilize metabolic products from each other. It is this unique balance that leads to healthy animals and a productive crop. Because of the symbiotic uptake and release of nutrients from fish to plants, periodic monitoring of your aquaponic system water is essential.

There are a multitude of commercially available water testing systems ranging from water test strips and kits to electronic meters. Both strips and kits can be obtained at local aquarium shops, while multiparameter aquaculture kits and electronic meters must be mail ordered. The choice(s) of which method to use can be particularly daunting, especially for those who are just starting in aquaponics. Are test strips any good for measuring pH or should I purchase a meter? Do I have to know how much nitrate is in my system and which is the best method to measure it? These are typical questions being asked of extension personnel and unfortunately there are no simple answers. Every person will be faced with a different situation (e.g., type and number of systems, beginner, advanced) This publication will help guide your decision to choose the best method(s) for your needs, and is based upon information regarding availability, ease of use, accuracy, precision, and cost.

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