Pests And Deficiencies
There are a few different methods of dealing with any pests and/or diseases in your system, of course most of these require no petrochemical based sprays as these are generally very toxic to fish and also possibly the beneficial bacteria within the system. Caterpillars are easily controlled by applications of Bacillus thuringiensis, this is a natural soil borne bacteria which is available around the world under a number of different brand names. Often organically certified the spray is safe for aquaponic systems. For sap sucking insects you can use chilli and garlic sprays, these are often available commercially now a days, however they should always be used in moderation, as excess and overspray is never good. For moulds and fungus on plants you can use potassium bicarbonate sprayed onto the effected plants. Potassium bicarbonate is available under a number of different brand names around the world. It also can help a system by adding potassium, something often lacking in a system and the bicarbonate helps to keep the pH up, as most of the time pH goes down in mature systems.
If slugs are a problem, a small saucer filled with beer will attract them and they easily drown, making disposal simple and effective. Coloured sticky traps work well for thrips, aphids and whiteflies and are a good way to monitor visitors to your aquaponic system.
Dealing with deficiencies
Dealing with deficiencies
We have found that generally supplementing for plant deficiencies is not necessary when using good quality aquaculture feed, the systems here at our display centre rarely receive any supplements, perhaps once or twice a year we might dose our systems with seaweed extract if we see some deficiencies. Deficiencies can be difficult to diagnose, thankfully there are a number of sites online which can help you diagnose particular deficiencies with images. One of the simplest ways to deal with any deficiencies is by the addition of seaweed extract. Seaweed extract is available under a number of different brand names around the world, it can also come in a powdered form or as a liquid, sometimes extracted by boiling, but often considered better if you can get liquid extracted by crushing rather than boiling as you have the advantage of getting added elements like humic acid.
Seaweed has very high levels of most micronutrients and minerals. Some other things you may want to add if the relevant deficiencies are showing in your plant growth. Chelated Iron, readily available in powdered and liquid form. Potassium bicarbonate for potassium deficiencies, so long as your pH is not high already. Be sure your pH is not high before you try and add elements to fix a micronutrient problem.