Your aquaponics project relies on many factors for it to become a successful endeavor. One of which is how your setup receives light, such as sunlight. Since plants are an integral part of any aquaponics system, it is quite understandable that sunlight is a necessity. However, how the other components relate to sunlight is another factor to consider.
This post will give you the correct information on the relationship between sunlight and your aquaponics garden.
Do aquaponics fish need sunlight?
While your fish do not demand sunshine or any other light source to grow, most fish require both light and dark intervals. Insufficient lighting may cause your fish to stop feeding, grow lethargic, or become ill.
Some claim that having no sunlight on your fish tank is preferable. This is because sunshine causes algae to bloom in your fish tank. While this is true, you should provide your fish with light daily, which can be artificial light rather than direct sunlight.
As a general rule, most fish would benefit from roughly 12 hours of light every day. This varies based on the fish type and the aquaponics system's general environmental conditions. Natural and artificial light are both exceptional to aquaponic fish, and choosing one over the other does not have to be a binary choice in every circumstance.
You can take advantage of the abundance of natural light if you reside in a tropical place. However, too much of it might be harmful to your fish. Place your fish tanks in a shaded area or use additional coverings such as tents to balance it out. You are safeguarding your fish from severe temperatures and algae growth by doing so.
Do aquaponics bacteria need sunlight?
Sunlight has a negative effect on many types of bacteria, including those present in your aquaponics system. UV radiation has been utilized as a natural disinfectant for decades. It's used to purify drinking water in some places, including hospitals and medical facilities, to eliminate potentially hazardous organisms naturally.
Due to this fact, it is advisable that you deny the nitrifying bacteria of your aquaponics access to sunlight because this could inhibit their growth.
Do aquaponics plants need sunlight?
Plants, unlike animals, are autotrophs, and the ability they are known for is to make their own food with the help of light. Plants cannot grow, reproduce, or survive without the assistance of light. To make glucose, these organisms require light or solar energy, water, and gases from the air. Photosynthesis is a process that is used by all plants, algae, and even some microbes.
Chlorophyll is required for photosynthesis, which is the process through which plants make their food. However, sunlight is necessary for photosynthesis to occur, as follows:
6CO2 + 6 H2O -> C6H12O6 + 6O2
The arrow in the above chemical equation denotes sunlight which means the reaction between carbon dioxide and water molecules will happen if it is present.
How many hours of light do you need for aquaponics?
The plant growth cycle requires both light and darkness. During the day, sunlight assists plants in producing energy through "photosynthesis," whereas at night, plants use this energy for growth and flowering through "respiration."
It's critical to provide your plants with both light and darkness. Vegetables and flowering plants, on average, require 12 to 16 hours of sunlight every day. Plants need darkness as well, so provide at least 8 hours of this per day. Varying plants, however, require different quantities of light.
When plants receive too much light, they show many indications. Leaf burning is the most obvious of all. When leaf burnt occurs, the leaves at the top of the plant usually are yellow, but the veins remain green, and the leaves take on a yellow or brown, burnt appearance. This result can be confused for nitrogen deficit; however, nitrogen-deficient leaves fall off quickly, but light-burned leaves do not.
In order to identify if your plants are experiencing insufficient lighting, here are some telltale signs:
- Plant leaning towards light sources: When your plants lean towards windows, doorways, or areas with better light, it's a sign that they require more light. This can sometimes result in all of their leaves turning towards the place where light is abundant.
- Sparse growth: This next indicator is a solid sign that your plants suffer from a lack of light. New leaves are growing far apart, the stem between leaves is growing longer, and the plants are scant, rambling, and 'thin.' Indoor plants will stretch their stems and branches to reach for sunshine if they aren't getting enough. This condition causes the leaves to grow farther apart or your plant to appear less lush and healthy.
- No new growth: Your aquaponics plants might be surviving, but are they flourishing? If you haven't seen any new development in your aquaponics garden in months, it's conceivable that your plants require more light to provide the energy needed for growth.
- Small leaves production: Small leaves indicate that your plants lack the energy to grow larger or full-sized leaves. Light deficiency is a particular cause of short leaves and foliage since light allows a plant to manufacture energy.
What lighting system works well for indoor aquaponics?
Grow lights come in a variety of strengths and qualities. On the other hand, most aquaponics gardeners seek a whole daylight spectrum light that is energy-efficient, affordable, and suited for a wide range of plants. Below is a list I have prepared of daylight-spectrum lighting alternatives for aquaponic farmers based on these considerations.
- T5 fluorescent: This type of indoor lighting is ideal for seed beginning and lighting rectangle beds. T5 lamps are suitable for low ceiling growing environments since they can be positioned closer to your plants. The T5 fluorescent light was available in two versions: High Efficiency (HE - lower power version) and High Output (HO - higher power version) (HO - high power but lower efficiency). Choose the high-output option to save electricity and get more light. T5 fluorescent lights produce very little heat.
- Compact fluorescent (CFL): The next class of grow lights is a more affordable solution for small aquaponics crops. They produce a good light spectrum for growing plants and emit little heat. CFLs should only be used as additional lighting for your indoor aquaponics plants when you can obtain at least some sun each day. When purchasing CFLs, search for bulbs labeled "grow light."
- High-intensity discharge (HID): The HID lighting is brighter and more intense indoor lighting than other types of lighting. This lighting system comprises a socket, lamp or light bulb, ballast, and reflector. The HID lamp has an unusual form and frequently uses a reflector to direct the plant's light.
- Light-emitting diode (LED): The bestselling grow lights on the market now are light-emitting diodes. Because all of the electronics are contained within the device, there is no need for ballasts, reflectors, or running cables when utilizing LED. These grow lights may be used in small places and work at a lower temperature, allowing you to easily manage your grow room's temperature. LED lights have one disadvantage: they are pricey. However, if you want to invest in a long-lasting, efficient grow light, LED lights are an excellent alternative.