Troubleshooting an Aquaponics System

There are a number of things that can go wrong with an aquaponics system for which it is necessary to first identify the problem and find a suitable solution. Depending on the type of problem encountered, there are sure to be different solutions available. Some problems are quite simple to fix while others can be more complex.


  • Fish food
  • Ladybugs
  • Garlic spray

Step 1- Dealing with Dying Plants

There may be different reasons why plants in the Aquaponics System are dying which includes not getting sufficient oxygen, water or even enough minerals. In addition, the problem may arise on account of temperature issues, pH balance or harmful bugs.

Solving this problem can best be done by consulting an expert to whom the appearance and activity in plants must be described in detail. In the case that the ammonia ratio between plants and fish is unbalanced then the simplest solution is to feed the fish and reduce the plant population.

Step 2 – Plant Leaves Are Unhealthy

The most probable reason for this problem is a deficiency in minerals and a presence of toxins. The solution in this case would be to check the food contains sufficient nutrients.

Step 3 – Plants Are Being Eaten by Aphids

This is a common problem and one that happens naturally. The best solution is to plant more dandelions and carrots, which attract ladybugs. It makes sense to purchase a bagful of ladybugs which should be put into the tank to see whether ants happen to be farming aphids, which if true, will lead to the ladybugs being killed off. Make sure that the ladybugs are introduced during the night and not during the daytime.

Step 4 – Caterpillars Are Eating up the Plants

This is a natural occurrence that can best be solved by applying garlic spray on the plants.

Step 5 – Plants Are Losing Their Color?

In case the plants start to show discoloration, it means that there is high deficiency of minerals. To solve this problem it is necessary to get help from sources such as Maxicrop (US) or from Seasol.

Step 6 – Water pH Levels above 7.5 or below 6.5

In case acidity in the tank water is either below acceptable levels or above, it is then necessary to consult an expert on how to restore the pH levels back to desired levels. It pays to keep in mind that abrupt changes to pH level are dangerous to the welfare of the fish and so this must be handled under guidance from experts. The system will normally adjust the balance and as a result, outside interference can cause further problems unless done correctly.

Step 7 – Foaming Water

Water may start to foam due to the introduction of detergents or other chemicals. The solution in such an instance is to perform a 50 percent dechlorinated water change on a daily basis until all signs of foam or eliminated.

It is important to eliminate contaminants in a manner that ensures minimal shock to fish. Therefore, keep as many good bacteria alive as possible and use cleaning substances that are not harmful.

Ste 8 - Fish Problems

There are many things that can go wrong with your Aquaponics system including noticing dead fish in the tank. For such a problem the solution is to immediately remove the dead fish so as to prevent a buildup of decayed ammonia.

It may also be necessary to troubleshoot the Aquaponics system itself as well as its components including the Bell Siphon.