Aquaponics represents an environmental solution to grow crops. The system is self-sustainable and requires very little maintenance. However, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the plants and fish get all the nutrients they require, not to mention the actual environmental conditions. The water must circulate and provide good aeration, food levels need to keep under control, while the temperature must be optimal.
The temperature is one of the most overlooked factors in the process, and it is easy to tell why. Failing to maintain it within the recommended limits will stress the fish, cause certain diseases or even kill them. At this point, finding the right aquaponics water heater is mandatory. There are lots of options in commerce, and each of them is suitable for certain setups, hence the necessity of further research.
But before digging into smaller details, what makes the water heater so important?
The necessity of using an aquaponics water heater
Fish are different from people. Most of them have cold blood – they are known to be poikilothermic. Their bodies do not have the capability to produce body heat. Therefore, the water temperature is what they count on in order to survive. From this point of view, maintaining the water temperature out of their required limits will kill them.
Now, different fish come with different requirements. Most aquaponics systems will easily do with anything between 71 and 84 degrees F, with a few exceptions. Some of the most common fish in such systems – carp, tilapia or catfish – require warm waters. Indeed, they can tolerate a lower temperature every now and then – during a storm or perhaps overnight. But generally, using a heater to keep the temperature warm is highly recommended to prevent stress.
On the same note, if your fish are healthy, your plants will also thrive. If one part of the system fails, the whole system will eventually fail. As a direct consequence, investing in a reliable aquaponics water heater is one of your main priorities.
As you check the market, you will see different types of water heaters. Not only do they work differently, but they are also suitable for different environments. Here are some of the most popular choices out there.
How submersible heaters work
Submersible heaters are among the top choices because of their efficiency. As their name clearly mentions it, they are meant to go underwater. They are consistent and can maintain the temperature at the right limits – they are mostly suitable for large tanks, where consistency is key. A large tank may experience different temperature standards throughout the water, hence the necessity of something more professional.
Generally speaking, a submersible water heater is placed horizontally. This type of arrangement allows the thermostat to read the temperature in a more accurate manner. Keep in mind that the thermostat dictates when the water heater turns on and off – thus, it should be placed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Understanding immersible heaters
Immersible heaters are often referred to as hanging heaters. They are usually shaped like tubes and made of glass. Of course, they have heating elements as well. They cannot go underwater, so keep them away from it. Instead, they are located above the water. There are more ways to install such heaters, but most of them feature hooks or suction cups – suction cups could fail though. If the whole thing ends up in water, it will fail.
In terms of efficiency, immersible heaters are not as efficient as the submersible ones. They are not so consistent, so they do not make a good choice for large water tanks. Instead, they are more suitable for small tanks and can provide enough heat, even if they are located above. In terms of pricing, they are not too expensive either.
Becoming familiar with in line heaters
While not as popular as other types, the in line aquaponics water heater is not to be overlooked either. Such a system is basically external. While different from others, it does ensure some sort of consistency. Practically, the water is heated as it gets back into the tank. How come? These heaters tend to go on the filtration system. They will not heat the water inside the tank, but they will do it as it returns to the tank.
Just like other heaters, the in-line ones come with built-in switches. They will turn on and off every now and then, based on your settings. Once the water reaches the desired temperature, the unit will turn off. If it goes under that limit, it turns on by itself. There is a built in thermostat to trigger such actions as well.
As a short final conclusion, while sometimes overlooked by newbies, the aquaponics water heater is an integral part of every such system. It will help you maintain a stable temperature for your fish – a vital requirement for their survival. Maintaining the water temperature will not help your fish only, but as a direct consequence, it will also ensure a prolific crop growth.
Choosing the best water heater depends on more factors, and what works for some systems will not work for all of them. Most importantly, you need to consider the size, which is directly proportional with the size of your system. A small heater may lack efficiency if you have a large tank. On the other hand, a large heater for a small tank could be a waste of money – a good investment too, if you plan to expand your system in the future.
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