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Table 1 Compartments of the aquaponic system, their functions, targeted water parameters and expected reactions in each compartment

From: Environmental parameters and microbial community profiles as indication towards microbial activities and diversity in aquaponic system compartments

Compartment Function Targeted parameters Expected reactions
Fish tank (aerobic loop) Fish holding Dissolved oxygen close to or at saturation, low total nitrogen, total organic carbon, NH4+ and NO2 Nitrification, aerobic respiration
Drum filter (aerobic loop) Removal of the solids via mechanical filtration Low suspended solids after the filtration None
Biofilter (aerobic loop) Oxidation of total ammonia nitrogen and nitrite to nitrate Dissolved oxygen close to or at saturation, low NH4+ and NO2 Nitrification, aerobic respiration
UV treatment (aerobic loop) Water disinfection None None
Oxygenation zone (aerobic loop) Saturation of the system water with oxygen Dissolved oxygen at saturation None
Sump (aerobic loop) The connection between aquaculture and hydroponic part of the system, serving as a hydraulic buffer High oxygen saturation, high NO3 and low NH4+ and NO2 Nitrification
Hydroponic table (aerobic loop) Plant holding on a thin layer of water with floating polystyrene foam rafts High oxygen concentration, high NO3, low NH4+ and NO2 Nitrification, plant nutrient uptake, carbon input by rhizodeposits, microbial respiration
Radial flow settler (aerobic and naerobic loop) Passive filtration by using gravity to remove settable solids Inflow: High concentration of suspended solids, total organic carbon and total nitrogen, higher NH4 compared to the outflow
Outflow: Reduced suspended solids and TN compared to the inflow
Nitrification, denitrification, ANAMMOX, microbial fermentation, mineralization
Anaerobic digester (anaerobic loop) Anaerobic sludge digestion to obtain supernatant rich with nutrients and recycle the water High nutrient concentration, no/low oxygen, low redox potential, high solids, accumulation of NH4 Denitrification, acidogenesis, hydrolysis, iron and sulfate reduction, sulfate oxidation, carbon mineralization, methanogenesis, dissimilatory nitrate reduction