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Aquaponicals system help

Discussion in 'New Aquaponics systems - off-the-shelf ready to go' started by mar6874, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. mar6874

    mar6874 New Member

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    Hi all,

    Hopefully someone can give me some help here as Ive pretty much exhausted my own theories and research and cant tell what's going on...

    I bought the aquaponicals system in December and followed the instructions for set up and filled the system with spring water to avoid the chemical issue. Inside the tank I have gravel, a limestone rock to neutralise the PH levels 3 very small guppies and a small sucker fish.
    I have tried planting numerous seeds which I found most of them ended up with the fish due to the water levels raising in the grow bed and flushing them out. Of those seeds, coriander, parsley, kale, basil and carrots it was only really the basil that sprouted. Unfortunately though the basil died one by one, I'm thinking because the grow bed fills up so often that they actually drown.
    Ive checked the levels on a regular basis and topped up with spring water as required but Ive also noticed that the basil did best when there seemed to be a continuous flow into the fish tank, that also kept the grow media low and not looking flooded.
    I am considering putting the pump on a timer or limiting the time its on and cycles during the day, has anybody tried this or should the pump be run continuous?

    I'm obviously not doing something right here so if anyone out there has an aquaponical system and has a success with it please let me know your tips and tricks and how to grow something because at the moment I have the feeling that I've been tricked into buying a very expensive fish tank!

    Any help gratefully received!

    Thanks

    Marty
     
  2. pacarner

    pacarner New Member

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    I am in no way an expert on this so someone will give you some better info soon.
    You need the water to stay about 50mm below the top of your gravel. the top 50mm is dry.
    I tried a few different methods of growing from seed and the most successful was just to drop the seed in give the stones a little tap ( to shake the seed down)and wait.
    Stick with it, don't know what system you have but I am sure it's more than a big fish tank.
    You will probably be asked to put some pictures on it will help people work out what exactly is going wrong.
    Anyway hang in there.
    Enjoy your fish and salad.....one day soon.
     
  3. mar6874

    mar6874 New Member

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    Thanks for the tip, its an aquaponical system, a little in house thing. seems like the stones always end up wet at the top level.
    Hoping for salad but wont be eating the guppies!

    Thanks again
     
  4. Derekjordaan

    Derekjordaan New Member

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    Hi for how long did you cycle the system.

    Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk
     
  5. Derekjordaan

    Derekjordaan New Member

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    And did they say how many fish you should have. Just few guppies and sucker don't seem anough.

    Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk
     
  6. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    I had a look at the videos etc on the Aquaponicals website, and it looks like a tiny bell siphon setup. (Hey, Murray did their setup video!) If you stay with that siphon then you really need to keep the pump running constantly, but there's a few things you can do.

    First of all, does the siphon really work properly? Does the water in the growbed fill up, then the siphon starts running and drains it all down, then the siphon stops (completely, not just running slower) and the bed fills up again? If it never stops properly, there's too much water flow. (If it does stop properly, there still might be too much water flow. A system that tiny is going to be really easy to overwhelm.) Is the pump adjustable? Can you turn it down?

    You say the gravel always ends up wet on top. A little damp to the touch is fine, but if it's really wet or if water is actually showing between the gravel bits that's a problem. Is there room to add more gravel on top? If you can, see if that helps.

    How big did your basil seedlings get? I had a lot of problems with growing basil from seed, I'm still not sure what went wrong there, but they started putting out their second set of leaves and then just stopped growing. The basil plant I grew from a cutting, on the other hand, is doing awesome. Maybe get some seedlings, or stick a cutting into your growbed and see if it gets established.

    If all else fails you might be able to convert the system to timed flood and drain, but personally I wouldn't try - it's really tiny, the website says it holds 15 liters of water and some of that's going to be in the sump, so without the water moving constantly the fish probably wouldn't have sufficient circulation/aeration, especially on warm days. Plus, you'd have to replace their little all-in-one siphon thingy with a different standpipe, and I can't get a good enough look from the videos to see if that would actually be possible. If you do try it, definitely get a little air pump and put an airstone in!
     
    thewebweazel likes this.
  7. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    It would be impossible to change the height of the upstand in the syphon. Best to raise seedlings outside and plant into it. Using spring water won't help. There is no biology in that water. The number of fish is not enough.
    Getting right down to it....the system is just too small to be easy to manage and develop biological stability.
     
    Ringer likes this.
  8. DavidCFK

    DavidCFK New Member

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    Wow... this post is recent, I'm glad. I bought this only a few days ago and I found a few things missing, the height of the growbed isn't really high enough, the water when it comes down doesn't do with enough force to aerate the water below...

    Probably needs another tube stuck into the feeding hole to generate that part of the equation. There's enough room to sprinkle food... :)

    The clay bed actually floats as the water is introduced from the pump (hmmmm), it's not the smartest. I wonder if laying the base with bigger gravel and then leaving the top part as expanded clay might help (need expert judgement here). Originally I thought having the clay might help harbour those good bacteria... again, not sure if that's actually true or not, they kind of crumble easily I'd be very gentle with handling them things IMO...

    The pump and the tube that comes with it is so-so. The tubing is very soft and is often "bent" so badly that water cannot get through even with the pump at max setting (yes, you can adjust it, I just found out from them today: there's a little slider switch), adjust that to get the kind of water flow you need, whilst making sure your tubing doesn't get crimped trying to reach the tank at a very sharp angle. They suggested taping up the crimped spots tightly so it is a little more stiff, but frankly I can't see how that helps coz it puts pressure on another place where it actually NEEDS to bend to get up there... strike.

    I did buy some quick-start liquid that's supposedly meant to help assist with the cycling. Shoved some plants in above and below -- but there aren't any lighting (so the plants underneath is probably going to die unless I shine something at it). Fish probably isn't going to like it. Algae's probably going to grow eventually so need to get a plec or snails or something...?

    Intending to buy about 10-12 tetras, not sure if that's enough. Goldfish would be nice but it's wayyy too smallll after a year or two... like trying to do a U-turn on a one lane street... :)

    By the way, where do I get ammonium to help with the cycling before I introduce the fish? Those quickstart liquid just as good microbes, no? So I have to feed it with small doses of ammonium and apparently the cloudy stuff you get in shops these days has soap: kind of counter-intuitive I would have thought...

    Any advice there :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
  9. DavidCFK

    DavidCFK New Member

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    It's not very expensive I thought, most aquariums (just the glass) costs about that.... albeit, it probably holds 40-50 litres lol :) Oh. I didn't notice you mention anything about growbed lighting, those herbs you mentioned sound like prolifically needy plants as far as lighting goes. It probably makes sense to hang a light above it, maybe florescents or something (I don't know enough to go into what kind of colours/warmth/intensity tho, I'll defer that to somebody else?).
     
  10. Becanne

    Becanne New Member

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    Hi David
    I've recently bought the same system and we introduced the first three fish yesterday, after cycling the tank for a week.
    No problems with my tubing - we put the pump in the front left hand corner and it feed straight up inside without an issue.
    We did find that the bell siphon kept blocking with small bits of grow media. We pulled out at least six pieces over a few hours, and every time this happened the bed flooded (probably the issue the original poster had).
    We solved it by adding a nylon mesh sock over the top and so far it has prevented blockages.
    The nylon mesh came with both my over locker and sewing machine and are used to prevent thread spools unravelling. Any fine nylon mesh should work.
    We pulled some mint out of the garden and put that in the grow bed to get started, and after a week it looks okay.
    Primary reason for purchase was as a mini aquarium. I'm looking at the grow bed more as a novelty due to the size. It is for my nine year old who has been wanting fish for years. So far we are having fun using test kits to check the water and learning the science of the aquarium. We we play with some plants in the grow bed but will be using seedlings not seeds.
    Maybe we should start another thread to track progress?
     
    DavidCFK likes this.
  11. DavidCFK

    DavidCFK New Member

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    The blockage solution is interesting, I'll place attention to that!
     

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