How Often Do You Have To Change Water In Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a revolutionary way of growing plants using fish waste as fertilizer. It’s an environmentally sustainable method for producing food, but it can be difficult to maintain. 

In this blog post we’ll walk you through the basics of aquaponic systems and show you how frequently you should change the water in your system based on your setup type and personal preferences.

How To Take Care of Water in Your Aquaponics System
Key Takeaways
Proper water quality is essential for the health of both plants and aquatic creatures.
Regular water testing is crucial to monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, pH, and temperature.
Fish waste and uneaten feed produce ammonia, which can be toxic to fish if left unfiltered.
The frequency of changing water depends on the size of your system, the type of fish, and the overall system design.
You can use different techniques such as siphoning and backwashing to maintain the water quality without changing it entirely.

Cleaning And Maintaining Overall System

In addition to keeping an eye on the water level, you will also need to clean and maintain your system.

Cleaning the fish tank. This is probably the most common task for aquaponic gardeners, as this is where they’ll spend most of their time tending to their plants. You should be cleaning out your fish tank at least once per week. 

Simply remove any solids that have built up in there by siphoning them out with a large tube attached to an aquarium vacuum cleaner (if you don’t have one, try asking around at local pet stores). 

If it’s been awhile since you cleaned it and there is too much debris for siphoning, use cheesecloth or fine mesh netting over another bucket so that nothing gets through except water from inside the tank

Then dump this into another container until all solid matter has been removed from inside your filter area before pouring back into its original spot again now with fresh water!

Maintaining other parts of your system may require different approaches depending on what type of setup you’re using:

Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of your fish is essential in Aquaponics. Our article on what is aquaponics and is it safe for fish provides valuable insights on how to maintain a healthy and safe environment for your aquatic creatures.

Fish Tank Maintenance

Clean the fish tank once a week. This should be done with regular tap water, but if the water you’re using to clean your fish tank smells bad, then change it. 

Make sure that when you clean the tank and filter, none of the waste ends up in the pump or on any other parts of your system.

Change water if it smells bad or looks dirty; this will help prevent an ammonia spike from occurring in your system, which can be deadly for both plants and fish alike!

Clean filter cartridges every couple weeks; they should be rinsed thoroughly with fresh tap water before being replaced back into their respective slots within their housing unit (if applicable).

Bacteria In The System

The bacteria in your system are the foundation of the entire system. This is because they convert fish waste into plant food, remove excess nutrients like ammonia and nitrites, and convert them into nitrates for plants to use. 

They’re also responsible for removing ammonia from your water so that it doesn’t kill your fish or harm your plants.

Adding crayfish to your aquaponic system can have a range of benefits, but it’s essential to understand the requirements and considerations. Our article on are crayfish good for aquaponics and why provides a comprehensive guide on how to introduce and maintain crayfish in your system.

Nutrient Film Technique (Nft)

The nutrient film technique (NFT) is a hydroponic system that uses a thin layer of water to grow plants. The plants are grown in a shallow stream of water that is recirculated. 

Plants are placed on racks above this shallow stream, and their roots hang down into the water. 

By constantly moving the water and controlling its temperature and pH, you can create an environment where your plant will thrive. 

There will always be air at all times because of the way your system is set up, so it’s easy to control pests in this environment as well!

Deep Water Culture (Dwc)

DWC is a hydroponic system that uses a raft of growing media, such as clay pellets or perlite, to support the plants. The plants are placed in holes in the raft and water is pumped up through the holes to them.

DWC has been around for quite some time but only recently has it gained popularity. That’s because it’s small, easy to assemble and maintain; there’s no soil required, so you don’t have to worry about pests or contamination from dirt or debris. 

You can also get creative with your DWC setup by adding CO2 equipment (if desired), LED lights and/or fans for supplemental lighting and ventilation. 

But perhaps most attractive about DWC is its low cost — all you really need are some plastic tubs (like storage bins) and some basic hardware like PVC piping!

Aquaponics requires specific environmental conditions and equipment to function seamlessly. Our article on what are the requirements for aquaponics lists down everything you need to know to set up and run an efficient Aquaponics system.

Media-Based Systems

There are two main types of aquaponics systems: media-based and raft. Media-based systems are the most common form of aquaponics system. 

They use a filter material like biofilm or rockwool to remove solids, and grow beds to grow plants. The advantage of this type is that it’s easy to clean out the fish waste, which means you don’t have to change your water as often. 

But they’re also more expensive than other types of aquaponics systems because they require more materials (like media and grow beds) than rafts do.

Rafts are another popular option for home gardeners who want an easier setup process at a lower price point than their media-based counterparts but without sacrificing on aesthetics! 

With less equipment required for these setups, you can save time and money when setting up your first aquaponics system at home (or expand one).

Comparison of Media-Based and Raft Systems

Media TypeExpanded clay pellets, gravel, lava rockNone
Plant SupportDirectly in mediaRaft floats on top
MaintenanceMore maintenance required for the mediaLess maintenance required
Fish DensityLower fish densityHigher fish density

Aesthetics Of Aquaponics System

You’re looking at the nicest-looking aquaponics system on the market. It’s got a modern, sleek design that can fit into any room in your home or business.

Aquaponics is a great way to grow food and recycle water, but it doesn’t have to look like a science project. 

The eye-catching design of our aquaponics systems makes them an attractive addition to any room in your home or business.

The cost of setting up an aquaponics system can vary based on your requirements and budget. Our article on how much does an aquaponics system cost explained breaks down the expenses involved in setting up and running an aquaponics system to help you make an informed decision.

Vermicomposting In Your Aquaponics System

You can also use composting worms to help break down your fish waste. Vermicomposting is a process where you add food scraps to a bin or tub and it attracts worms, which then eat the food scraps as well as any other organic matter in the system. 

This reduces the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of by adding nutrients back into your aquaponics system.

The best part about vermicomposting is that once you have set up your worm farm, you will never have to purchase fertilizers again! 

The worms will produce soil-like compost that can be used on plants in your greenhouse or garden bed without being mixed with gravel or sand first. 

Once you start using this natural fertilizer on your plants, they will thrive even more than before since all their nutritional needs are met naturally thanks in part due to vermicomposting!

Benefits of Vermicomposting in Aquaponics

Nutrient RecyclingVermicomposting converts waste into nutrient-rich compost, which can be used to nourish plants.
Reduced Water ChangesVermicomposting contributes to water quality by recycling nutrients, reducing the need for frequent water changes.
Increased EfficiencyVermicomposting adds an additional layer of nutrient cycling, which enhances the efficiency of an aquaponic system.

Hydroponics For Nutrient Removal

Hydroponics is a system of growing plants in water, without soil. Instead of using dirt and nutrients from the earth, hydroponic growers use mineral nutrients and oxygen in their water. In aquaponics, this means that your fish waste becomes your plant food source!

Aquaponic systems are usually set up like this:

  • A tank houses your fish.
  • The tank connects to an aquarium pump that sends water into a grow bed filled with plants.
  • The grow bed contains gravel or other material for filtration (this improves the quality of the water).

Water Temperature Regulation

As you know, the water temperature in your system affects both your fish and plants. When it’s too hot, they can suffer from heat stress; when it’s too cold, they can get sick or die. The same goes for bacteria and nutrient removal.

You can control the temperature of your water by controlling how much energy (heat) is added to it through the lights that power your plants’ photosynthesis process. 

If you keep adding more light as summer progresses, your garden will get warmer until midsummer when days are longest and then cooling down again as nights begin to grow longer again toward wintertime.

Growing vegetables in aquaponics can provide a range of benefits, including faster growth and healthier produce. Our article on how do you grow vegetables in aquaponics offers tips and insights on how to grow vegetables successfully in your aquaponics system


In conclusion, the frequency of water change will depend on many factors. It all depends on your system and how you care for it. 

If you keep it clean and healthy, then there’s no need to worry about changing the water every week!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources related to aquaponics and backyard gardening:

What Vegetables Can Be Grown in Aquaponics?: This article discusses the types of vegetables that can be grown in an aquaponic system.

Aquaponics: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide: This guide provides a comprehensive overview of aquaponics and how to set up your own system.

How Much Does an Aquaponics System Cost?: This article discusses the costs associated with setting up an aquaponic system.

How Do You Grow Vegetables in Aquaponics?: This article provides tips on growing vegetables in an aquaponic system.

Aquaponics: How Many Plants per Fish?: This article discusses the ideal ratio of plants to fish in an aquaponic system.

How Often Do I Need to Change My Water in an Aquaponics System?: This article provides information on the frequency of water changes in an aquaponic system.

Do You Need to Change Water in Aquaponics?: This article discusses whether or not water needs to be changed in an aquaponic system.


How often should you change the water in an aquaponic system?

According to the article “How Often Do You Have to Change Water in Aquaponics?” on UnifiedGarden, the frequency of water changes in an aquaponic system depends on a number of factors, including the size of the system and the number of fish.

As a general rule, it’s recommended that you change between 10-20% of the water in the system every week. Another helpful resource on this topic is the article “How Often Do I Need to Change My Water in an Aquaponics System?” by Ecolife Conservation.

What types of vegetables can be grown in an aquaponic system?

Many types of vegetables can be grown in an aquaponic system, including lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. However, some vegetables may be better suited to aquaponic gardening than others, so it’s important to do your research before getting started.

How much does it cost to set up an aquaponic system?

The cost of setting up an aquaponic system can vary widely depending on the size and complexity of the system. According to UnifiedGarden’s article “How Much Does an Aquaponics System Cost?”, a basic system can cost as little as $500, while more advanced systems can cost upwards of $10,000.

Are there any fish that are not suitable for aquaponics?

While many types of fish can be used in an aquaponic system, some may not be suitable due to their size, behavior, or other factors. For example, fish that are aggressive or prone to jumping out of the water may not be a good fit. It’s important to choose fish that are well-suited to the specific conditions of your system.

Can you use tap water in an aquaponic system?

Tap water can be used in an aquaponic system, but it’s important to be aware of any chemicals or additives that may be present in the water. Chlorine and chloramine, for example, can be harmful to fish and may need to be removed before adding water to the system.

Testing the water regularly is also important to ensure that the pH and nutrient levels are appropriate for the fish and plants.

What is the ideal pH level for an aquaponic system?

The ideal pH level for an aquaponic system typically ranges from 6.8 to 7.2, although this can vary somewhat depending on the specific needs of the fish and plants.

Maintaining a stable pH level is important for the health of the system, as fluctuations can cause stress and even death in some species of fish.

What are some common types of fish used in aquaponics?

Some of the most common types of fish used in aquaponic systems include tilapia, trout, catfish, and perch. These fish are generally hardy and well-suited to the conditions of an aquaponic system.

However, it’s important to choose fish that are appropriate for the size and type of your system, and to avoid overstocking, which can lead to water quality issues.

How do you control pests in an aquaponic system?

Pests can be a problem in any garden, including aquaponic systems. Some common methods for controlling pests in aquaponics include introducing natural predators, such as ladybugs and predatory mites, and using insecticidal soaps or neem oil sprays.

It’s important to avoid using pesticides or other chemicals that can harm the fish or plants in the system.

Can aquaponic systems be used to grow plants indoors?

Yes, aquaponic systems can be used to grow plants indoors, although some modifications may be necessary to ensure adequate lighting, ventilation, and temperature control.

There are a variety of indoor aquaponic systems available on the market, or you can build your own using materials such as PVC pipes, buckets, and grow lights.