Monthly Cleaning for Aquaponics

The Aquaponics system is not maintenance free. (boo) You can click HERE to find where my aquaponics journey started. My monthly cleaning takes about an hour from start to finish.
The first thing I do is drain the tank to less than half full. I unplug the pump for this, but everything will be fine for the little time it is off. I also try to time unplugging the pump when the grow bed is finished draining. It may not be a big deal, but I just don’t like the idea of the plants sitting in the water for that time. In the photo you can see how I’m draining the tank. I use an old piece of short hose to siphon the water out.
It usually takes me a few tries to get the suction started. I start by submerging the hose in water to allow all of the air to escape. Then I cover one end of the hose while it is still under water and raise the hose as high as I can without letting the other end out of the water. I suck the water out with my mouth and quickly point the hose to the ground. This all has to be done quickly or it just doesn’t work. 
Random fact: The water doesn’t taste bad at all. It tastes clean, actually. I don’t drink it, though. TMI?
As the water drains, I use the nutrient dense water to feed other plants in the yard. While it’s draining I move the hose in the tank around to remove any waste laying on the bottom of the tank. When the water level is low and the pump is off, I really get in there scrubbing the walls to remove algae. 

This photo just shows the tilapia and goldfish swimming in the clean water after I filled the tank back up. I can’t reach the back wall as you can tell. Clearly, I need a nice pair of rubber boats to step in the tank.

I add four items to the tank after it’s refilled. First, the Chelate Iron is not in the plant food, so it needs to be supplemented.  If plants lack iron, they turn yellow. You can read about my yellow leaf problem HERE. Since it’s a powder, I add one scoop in the siphon.

The second item I add monthly is the liquid seaweed. It’s easily found wherever organic products are sold. I pour about a cup right in the grow bed.

The third thing I add is for the fish. I add a chlorine conditioner that can be purchase at the pet store. The forth thing is an algae fixer. I don’t add the full recommend amount of algae fixer, but maybe half.

And that’s the low down of my monthly cleaning. I make the monthly cleaning apart of my morning chores, so it’s done before breakfast.  If you still have no idea what aquaponics is, click HERE for my Q&A on the system.

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