Fixing Aquaponics

Stuff that can go wrong

Here I give a overview of troubleshooting a broken aquaponics system wether it is dying fish or a faulty siphon.

Storm Damage


If there is damage to the greenhouse you can call Bart broers from Broers Hobbykassen.



The flow sensor Alarm is measuring low waterflow

Pomp2 Group6.4 1.11e
IN1: alarm was released
IN1: low


If you get this message on you phone, be alarmed!!!
If the waterflow is lower than 250 l/hr for one minute the GSM module will send a message to all the programmed numbers in the list giving a 'IN1: low' message. Water might be leaking out of the system or pipes where not maintained properly and water is holding in the grow beds because of it.

  1. Look for contact with the team in the Aquaponics WhatsApp group
  2. Observe here on the xively dataserver how the flow is progressing, login info can be found here. Realtime flow can quickly be checked here.
  3. Login on the D-Link webcam app and check if you see/hear the water flowing in the last tank in the back (fishtank nr. 1), login info can be found here.
  4. If the waterflow is not recovering and it still a long time before you expect someone to be there it is important to set your mind on taking immediate action.
    - Look on stager who is working and contact the people on location.
    - If this does not work out, decide who of the team saves the day.

Power-failure Alarm

Pomp2 Group6.4 1.11e
Power Low !!!
Accu: 100%
Voltage: 0.4V


If you get this message on you phone, be alarmed!!! Procedure is as a flow alarm message (IN1: low)
This happens when one of the two GSM power alarm does not get power. Reasons can be:

  1. A short circuit or earth leakage is made, faulty heater or water in one of the socket boxes. In this case typically only one of the Power alarms is triggered. You can verify water flow looking here or you Login on the D-Link webcam app and check if you see/hear the water flowing in the last tank in the back (fishtank nr. 1), login info can be found here.
  2. You get messages from two GSM Power Alarms, mains is off because of a short circuit somewhere else in the building or the mains in the whole street is off. The cause being in the Aquaponics container has showed nihil.
    - Check the power cut procedure 

The fish are not eating

  1. Check water temperature
  2. Check for dead fish
  3. Check quality
  4. Check waterflow throughout the system

Heater not working

  1. Check what the temperature is set on
  2. If the sensor is broken replace the sensor (NTC sensor 10k ohm), make sure power is off before replacing
  3. If the heater is broken replace the heater (1000W dompelaar), make sure the power is off before replacing

Growbed is overflowing

This can happen if you for example just refilled the sump tank, replug the pumps that where off for a while or you unclogged a nozzle of one of the water pipes filling the grow-bed in the top. The Bottom grow-bed can just not keep up with the drainage of the top two grow-bed since probably they are all filled up with water at the moment of restoring syphoning.

  1. Inspect the inside of the syphon, there could be roots growing inside
  2. Within a grow-bed see if the water can flow freely from the water-inlet to the spot of the syphon, typically across.
  3. Fill the sump tank to make up for the waterlos
  4. A more permanent fix might be to make the 20mm pipes of the syphons all as short at the shortest pipe. An other option might be increasing the diameter of the syphon of the bottom grow-beds.

Water in the fishtanks seems higher than normal

  1. Clean the drainage pipes, especially the pipe that penetrates the fishtanks is problematic.
  2. Make sure you don't overfeed (the fish don't eet everything) this will put a lot of fatty waste in the water and tends to stick on the inside of the pipes

Pump is not pumping

  1. Check the power group connected to that pump, the sockets are numbered and this corresponds with the electrical board in the back of the container.
  2. The 'dry pumping failsafe shutdown' is activated. In this case unplug the pump from the mains and replug is after 30 seconds
  3. The pump is not fully under the water and is sucking air. Submerge the pump and make sure is stays there, cleaning the filter can help with this. Also top up the sump tank with water.
  4. Open the pump and inspect for errors.
  5. Pump is broken beyond repair. Order a new pump.

Waterflow to the grow-beds is failing

  1. Clean the pipes
  2. See Pump is not pumping. (above this point)