How useful are EC measurements in an Aquaponics system? Treating sick fish?

Do I need to worry about EC measurements?

An EC meter (Electrical Conductivity) is a device that measures the electrical conductivity in the water and therefore is an indication, usually of salts in the system water.

EC Trunchen

Very useful EC measuring tool.

EC measures salts, or total dissolved solids (TDS)

Almost all Hydroponic solutions are salts and therefore accurate measurements in a HYDROPONIC system can be read by noting EC readings. Hydroponic nutrients can be added to a Hydroponic system very accurately by using an EC meter.
Not so in an Aquaponics system. Our nutrients are not salts, so EC readings are only a very, very broad measurement of nutrients in an Aquaponics system and should not be taken too seriously, except when they do get too high, you should ask yourself, "Is there salt in the system? And, "where is it coming from?" Common salt can build up over time from various sources such as the use of low quality fish feed, or if you live in an area where ocean winds can carry salt into your system.

Generally, we do not like too much salt in our freshwater Aquaponics systems because food plants do not do well in salty water. Most freshwater species of fish can tolerate salt very well so it is not a problem for the fish. It is the plants that one would be concerned about.

An EC reading is also very useful if you need to have sick fish treated with salt in a hospital tank or quarantine tank where you would add salt to the water to treat the fish. In that instance a very accurate measurement of the salt added can be made with an EC reading device. Using salt to treat sick fish is one of the few ways we can treat fish that we plan to eat someday. It is not too desirable to use veterinarian type medications on fish we plan to eat someday.

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6 thoughts on “How useful are EC measurements in an Aquaponics system? Treating sick fish?

    • If you EC gets above 1 in an Aquaponics system you would need to start looking to find out how salt is getting into your system. As per the short article EC is of no consequence in an Aquaponics system. If your EC gets above 1 start looking to find what may be the problem.

      • Hi Murray, do you mean 1 PPM on the EC meter? I don’t fully understand that as standard drinking water is around 160PPM. Anything that has 1PPM would be quite acidic water because had no minerals at all ending up around 6.0pH. That would be a bad thing wouldnt it?

        • EC is a measurement of Electrical Conductivity generally an indication salts in a water column. Perhaps you are thinking of TDS.Total Dissolved Solids.