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Indoor Vs. Outdoor Aquaponics Which One Is Best For You?

indoor vs outdoor aquaponics 1

Indoor Vs. Outdoor Aquaponics… how to figure out which is best for your aquaponics setup…

There are a number of reasons why some prefer to set up outdoor aquaponics, whilst others prefer the go the indoor approach. Either way, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make will be the type of aquaponics system best for your situation. Depending on your needs you’ll likely be choosing between aesthetics vs. yield vs. a compromise of both. That is, do you prefer the visually pleasing aesthetics of a tranquil aquarium, or the benefits of harvesting plentiful yields, or perhaps a combination of an attractive aquarium and small herb garden.

An equally important factor that may help you make this initial choice is your location. Where you choose to set up will govern some of the important, subsequent choices you’ll need to make, and is therefore one of the firsts things you should consider when deciding what type of system you’d like to setup.

The placement of your aquaponics system can and will have an affect on the temperature and amount of light the system receives. This may rule out the possibility of raising certain species if they do not thrive well in the given conditions. For example, coldwater fish will not do well in warmer climates, and vice versa, warm water fish may not survive the lower water temperatures in cooler locations.

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Key Considerations for Indoor Vs. Outdoor Aquaponics

For those lucky enough to have the choice between setting up outdoor, or indoors, which approach would be considered the best? That really comes down to your specific situation and personal preference.

You can get a better idea of whether outdoor, or indoor, setups might be most suitable for your needs by considering a number of factors:

Temperature
As noted one of the major factors you’ll want to take in account is the climate of your location. Temperature is one of the most important parameters you’ll need to monitor on a regular basis in order to keep it consistent and stable. Location and placement can greatly affect the temperature of your aquaponics system.

It’s advisable to choose fish and plant species that are more suited to your local climate; leverage the power of Mother Nature instead of trying to fight against her.

Light
Light is another factor that will come along with location. Not only will the amount of daylight play a large part in how much light your system can naturally receive, careful placement utilizing shade and walls can be utilized to keep direct sunlight off any unwanted areas. Use grow lights and/or shading to control for lighting were natural conditions aren’t suitable.

Space
Another reason you may wish to build outside is more available space, and in turn more freedom to customize the perfect DIY outdoor aquaponics system that meets your specific needs.

Birds, Insects & Pests
One notable disadvantage of being outdoors is the ease which birds, insects and pests can attack your crops. Being exposed to the element is also likely to put the system at a higher risk of developing disease.

Easy DIY Options
Perhaps the biggest selling point for outdoor media based aquaponics is the ease with which a single IBC unit can be chopped in half and repurposed as a grow bed and fish tank. This approach creates a system that’s typically too big for the average size room, plus IBCs aren’t always the cleanest items, even brand new, so it’s only natural the technique became more popular for outdoor setups over indoor.

Pre-Built Solutions Indoor Aquaponics
Pre-built solutions can aid the decision making process, especially if you’re ruled out the DIY option. A good example of ready-made system suitable for indoor use is the Aquasprouts Aquaponics Garden. An eye catching unit, based on the DWC technique, this complete system looks good enough to be the centerpiece of any living room, or to serve a functional purpose as a fresh herb garden that’s accessible as your fridge/freezer.

AquaSprouts Garden 10 Gallon Review

Pre-Built Solutions Outdoor Aquaponics
Alternatively, if you’re looking for complete, all-in-one outdoor aquaponics system then you may want to consider utilizing a mineralization tank; a filtration unit such as the MDC1000.

This device leverages the modular concept of aquaponics to combine both filtration stages, the biofilter and solid separator, into a single tank that can be installed in any NFT or DWC aquaponics setup.

Whilst not a complete aquaponics system on its own, combining the purification process into a single device that can easily be installed and reinstalled, is in many ways better than a truly complete system. Leaving option open to choose the ideal grow bed, fish tank/reservoir, and parts & components can be highly beneficial, not only for size and dimensions but also for availability.

MDC 1000 Aquaponics Fish System

Pros and Cons of Indoor or Outdoor Aquaponics

No matter the technique you choose, setup up aquaponics outside has its own pros and cons, for example building an outdoor aquaponics system has the obvious advantage of fewer size and spacing restrictions, and therefore an easier design and build process, but the system is then full exposed to the elements, which may not be ideal depending on your location.

Overview of the pros and cons of setting up aquaponics systems in, or outdoor:

Advantages of Indoor Aquaponics

  • Shielded from the weather and the elements.
  • Easier climate control
  • Less risk of pests & diseases
  • Low space requirement
  • Functional indoor herb garden
  • Aesthetically pleasing aquarium

Disadvantages of Indoor Aquaponics

  • Expensive initial setup costs
  • Climate control can be a challenge for beginners
  • Extra attention required to humidity and moisture levels, to prevent mold
  • Scalability often limited by space
  • Total weight of system may become a factor

Advantages of Outdoor Aquaponics

  • Easily scalable, not limited by space
  • Leverage light and temp of local climate
  • Faster grow periods due to constant delivery of nutrients plus natural sunlight and fresh air

 Disadvantages of Outdoor Aquaponics

  • Prone to temperature fluctuations
  • Constant careful attention paid to the weather
  • More susceptible to pests and diseases
  • Climate may become too hot, or cold to operate optimally
indoor vs outdoor aquaponics

In Conclusion

For those at the start of their aquaponics journey, deciding where to setup, and what type of system is best suited for said location, will be two of the first major decisions you’ll need to make. So it goes without saying it’s important to get these initial selections right to give your system the best chances of survival.

If you’re new to this novel growing technique then it’s common for these choices to be somewhat daunting, however, with a little research you can make an informed decision that’ll put you in good stead, and make things as hassle-free as possible moving forward.

If you’re presented with the choice of setting up aquaponics indoor, or outdoor, then simply take time to consider your options, then you can be confident of the decisions you make on where exactly to setup.

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