We all know that the bane of every grower’s existence are pests or if not pests then perhaps diseases within the system. The good news is that despite these problems, there are various methods you can do to deal with pesky pests and diseases. There are several different ways to deal with pests and diseases in your system but of course, the majority of these do not require petrochemical based sprays, since these are very harmful to fish and it’s also toxic to the beneficial bacteria in your system.
You can easily control caterpillars by applying Bacillus thuringiensis. Bacillus thuringiensis is a natural soil-born bacterium that is readily available all over the world under a variety of brand names. Most of the time these sprays are organically certified and are safe to use in Aquaponic systems. If you want to deal with sap sucking insects you can try garlic sprays or chili sprays. It’s easy to find these sprays since they are commercially available these days. But a word of caution, these sprays have to be used in moderation because spraying in excess is never good for your plants. If you want to target fungus and molds you can try spraying potassium bicarbonate to the affected plants. You can find potassium bicarbonate under a variety of brand names all over the world. Interestingly, if you add potassium to your system you are actually helping it because there are systems that lack potassium so the bicarbonate helps elevate the system’s pH level. More often than not, pH levels decrease when the system has already matured.
If your problem concerns slugs then all you need is a small saucer, which you will fill with beer. The beer will draw the slugs in and once they are attracted to it they drown in it making disposing fairly simple and very effective. You can also try colored traps that are sticky. You can use these for whiteflies, aphids, and thrips and it’s also a great way to monitor your Aquaponics system’s visitors.
When Dealing with Deficiencies
We’ve recently discovered that supplementing for plant deficiencies is not really imperative most especially if you are using excellent quality aquaculture feed. The systems that are on display at our center do not receive any supplements and if ever supplements are given it only happens very rarely around once or twice in a year. The supplements we dose our systems with are seaweed extract that is if we suspect any deficiencies. But detecting deficiencies can be tricky and a lot of growers say that it would be quite hard to diagnose them. Luckily, there are a number of online websites that can aid in diagnosing specific deficiencies through the help of pictures or images. One of the easiest ways to deal with plant deficiencies is by adding seaweed extract and that is what we do with our plants at the center. Seaweed extract is available all over the world under different brand names. Some seaweed extract come in liquid form while others come in powdered form. Sometimes seaweed extract is extracted through boiling but it is better if you extract the liquid by crushing instead of boiling since you can also get added elements such as humic acid.
The reason why we chose seaweed is because these have very high levels of minerals and micronutrients. You can then add other things if you find the deficiencies significant and if these are manifesting in your plant growth. Chelated iron is one example, this is readily available in both liquid and powder form. Potassium bicarbonate is given for plants that show signs of potassium deficiencies, but this is given as long as your pH level is not so high. Just make sure that your pH level is not high before you add any elements to rectify a micronutrient deficiency. (Click here to learn about A List Of Cycling Methods You Can Use In Your System)