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PostPosted: Jan 23rd, '18, 18:05 
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Hey guys, I'm new to aquaponics
But I've got a decent grasp of the nitrogen cycle, and understand the importance of balancing the right amount of fish (producing ammonia) and the right amount of plants (consuming nitrates)

My question is: is there a way to calculate the fish to plant ratio before even purchasing anything? Or is it more a kind of tweak as you go? (e.g. if the plant looks weak, it probably needs more nitrates, so feed the fish more often so that more ammonia is produced)

I just want to make sure everything is okay before I get it going and have a fish die from something, because I don't have the correct fish/plant balance. I understand that's probably inevitable getting started, but I'd still like to take all precautions.

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PostPosted: Jan 25th, '18, 02:33 
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Someone else may give a better answer, but typically there are suggested ratios for fish to media growbeds to water. So for example if you have a fishtank to growbed ratio of 1:1, then you can expect to support up to 1lb of fish per 5 gallons of water at maturity.

So, 250 gallon FT with 250 gallons of wet media GBs; grow fish to 1 lb each, then stock with max. 50 fish to start. As they grow and feedrates increase, biofiltration and nutrients will increase and you can support more and more plants over time. After a year you will have a mature system with lots of different plants growing.

If you have less GB then you can support fewer fish. you can have more GBs but I do not recommend more than 1lb per 5 gal of water. You can also add other features like towers or floating raft beds for different types of plants.

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PostPosted: Jan 26th, '18, 03:55 
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>> My question is: is there a way to calculate the fish to plant ratio before even purchasing anything?

have a look at the FAO publication "Small-scale aquaponic food production"
The links break these days so you will need to google around for the PDF.
It is discussed in there.

There are also some threads on this forum that get pretty specific.
TCLynx has one discussion from memory, and maybe Steve - try the search.

The issue is there are big differences simply due to system design, species of fish, age/stage/size of fish and what they get fed.
So there is not one number that can be computed that works for any setup.
At commercial scales you need to pay attention to aquaculture type issues and rely more and more on filtering for example.
Hence in a BYAP setup the tendency is for rules of thumb get thrown around
(and sadly not all of them are logical - eg the ratio of bed to fish tank is not really that relevant since it is all about fish and what the system can manage - as you note in your question at top)

simplest answer is stock conservatively and learn from your first year what your system can cope with.
too many calculations and claimed stocking rates are simply ludicrous - and people wonder why it goes bang and all the fish die.

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