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Balcony Kit - F/ling Tank & 2 Growbeds - ColinW Melbourne

Discussion in 'New Aquaponics systems - off-the-shelf ready to go' started by ColinW, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. ColinW

    ColinW Member

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    Balcony Kit initiated on 16th April 2009 with 6 Yabbies in Fingerling Tank and Pak Choi in Grow Beds. 11 Yabbies added to Fingerling Tank on 11th May 2009. 50 Silver Perch and 2 Cat Fish introduced to Fish Tank on 20th May 2009. Water from home aquarium added to assist "cycling". System "Cycled" on May 26th 2009 (0 Ammo; 0 Nitrite; 20 Nitrate - pH 7.8)
    Current plantings includes: Pak Choi; Beetroot; Celery; Garlic; Chives; Broccoli; Tomato; Watercress; Parsley; Coriander; Snow Peas; Lettuce
    Harvests: 3 feeds of Pak Choi (for 2 people)
    (Failed plantings - seeds: Oregano; Basil; Sweet Corn - probably due to being too cold!!!)
    (Fish Losses: 4 Yabbies - 2 unexplained and 2 cannibalism)
    Water Temp has ranged between 14 C and 8 C since pool thermometer added to system on 20th May.
    Fish and Yabbies hardly feeding at all (as at 12 June) - adding Seasol to system for plant nutrition
     

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  2. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Welcome Colin,
    As I said before, a really neat install.
    Really cold snap we have had here in SE Qld. It must be vicious in Victoria making it very hard to grow new seedlings etc.
    Seasol is the good old standby. Keeps everythig ticking along.
    There is a cluster of systems in Melbourne now so some sharing of local info will be helpful for sure.
     
  3. Castaway

    Castaway Senior Member

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    Hi Colin - Is there a reason why you grow your plants in the plastic tubes? So you can replant them elsewhere?
     
    nauticaldisasta likes this.
  4. ColinW

    ColinW Member

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    Hi Castaway - the plastic tubes are slotted Ag pipe cut to 60mm lengths. We push them into the expanded clay when planting seeds or transplanting seedlings to GB's - place the seeds or seedlings at appropriate depth - then gently drop expanded clay in to fill up. Also helps with less disturbance to other plants when harvesting.
     
  5. Shane

    Shane New Member

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    Hi Colin,
    How large are the 2 catfish you put in the tank?
     
  6. ColinW

    ColinW Member

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    Hi Shane - the catfish fingerlings are the smallest fish in our system - they are only about 30mm long. With the cold weather we are having in Melbourne - they are feeding better than the Silver Perch.
     
  7. Aussie AP

    Aussie AP New Member

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    G'Day Col, very neat job mate.
    I wish I had known you were setting up.
    I have bought silvers from John several times, so know his operation well.
    I would have advised you to get trout, your silvers simply won't feed over winter and that will affect plant growth.
    If you don't mind running some power, get yourself 2x 300 watt aquarium heaters and set them to 18C.
    Your silvers will feed and grow steadily over winter and provide required nutrients for your plants.
    My system water in previous setups got down to 8C with no loss of late season fingerlings but I had a 7000lt water body, ie pretty stable.

    Really look fwd to seeing your progress, a fab setup.
     
  8. dufflight

    dufflight Member

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    Goldfish feed okay over winter. A lot use them to cycle a system then if you get trout they become food. Or end up bigger than the rest of the fish. I have goldies around the 40cm mark. Good to keep the system going between batches of eating fish.
     
  9. nocky

    nocky Guest

    Hi Col, your unexplained yabbie deaths will surely be from fighting, the are aggressive little buggers, I found 1 causing a lot of trouble in my tank, even grabbed mussels and dragged them around, he was delicious :twisted: and problem has stopped with cannibalism, but no doubt another will start, they do like a bit of room though and will fight for territory, make sure you have enough + hides for them, fish not feeding? well check your ammonia and nitrite levels may have to cut feeding for a couple of days, but SP as aussie said probably wont feed much in winter, is freezing here and yabbies are eating fine, they like Ph about 7.6 and hate high ammonia and nitrite, as aussie again said, trout are the go, have a mate here that has had SP for 3 months and have grown from 60mm to about 80mm, a long wait for a feed :lol:
     
  10. ColinW

    ColinW Member

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    Thanks to ALL Forum contributors for advice and guidance... this forum (and APHQ and BYAP Forums) contain such a wealth of information - and everyone is so encouraging and helpful.
    Update of AP System: Plant Growth slow: 50 Silver Perch and 2 Catfish still alive; 14 Yabbies still alive; Water Quality consistent at: pH 7.8; Ammonia 0.25; Nitrite 0.0; Nitrate between 10 & 20 (same for last 4 tests - every 2 days). Water Temp varies between lows of 8C and highs of 12C. Ambient Temp as low as 6C overnight and 18C during day. Vegies definitely growing slowly.
     

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  11. ColinW

    ColinW Member

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    14 July 2009 Update
    Pump and siphons working well
    Back-up 12 volt system tested fortnightly (Hope it all works on 23 July - notified of power disruption of 7 hours!!!)
    Vegies growing slowly - but still growing!!!
    All still alive!!! - 50 Silver Perch, 2 Eel Tailed Catfish (20/05/2009) + 14 Yabbies (06/05/2009)
    Water quality readings have been consistent since 26/05/2009 - pH 7.8; Ammo 0; Nitrite 0; Nitrate 5 - 10
    Water Temps average: 10o
    (Tested a 300 watt Aquarium heater in Yabbies/fingerling tank on a night of 4o - heater set at 18o (lowest setting)
    Heater on 4 hrs (8pm - 12 midnight) - Yabbies feeding and active - not one hiding!!!
    Harvested a few feeds of Pak Choi & Watercress
    Best plant growth results in order (based on my observations after planting in grow beds):
    Pak Choi, Watercress, Snow Peas, Lettuce, Celery, Beetroot, Coriander, Parsley, Broccoli, Garlic, Chives, Tomato, Tang O, ("Bare rooted" Raspberry Tree planted recently - no sign of life - YET!!!)
     

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  12. Castaway

    Castaway Senior Member

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    7 hours power disruption is a bit of a worry. I think the backup battery system only lasts about 6 hours? You may have to paddle the water the last hour Colin or get a generator to ease the worry. Good Luck.
     
  13. ColinW

    ColinW Member

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    My first fish casualty!!! Water quality very good. Body appears "whitish" from behind gills to just before end of tail - no obvious damage. All other fish appear to be ok. Is there something wrong in my system???... or was this just a weak fish??? :?:
     

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  14. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    The clarity of the eyes indicate it hadn't been dead for a long time... although the whitish colouring of the slime coat (catfish have a heavy slime coat) indicates it is breaking down... bacterially or fungally...

    Good to remove dead fish as soon as found... might be a concern of a fungal problem with temps down... perhaps some preventative salting might be considered..
     
  15. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    Check out its sumken belly i would say starving for what reason i dont know
     
  16. ColinW

    ColinW Member

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    Rupe... already salted 1.5ppt. Should I go higher?
    F&F... perhaps dirt on belly area makes it look shrunken. When I feed the fish there is always "leftovers" available.... sometimes I am afraid that I am overfeeding??? Water tests always constant - as shown in previous post. Here's another pic to assess...
     

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  17. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    Still say starving if its still available cut it open and have a look
     
  18. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    With the tank temps... could be that it wasn't eating enough.... and with temps that low, pathogens shouldn't gain too much of a foothold, especially with 1.5ppt of salt... just keep an eye on the other fish..
     
  19. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    If you are going to salt go to 3 ppt straight away the shock is what helps
    i reckon yours is not fungas, stress, ect related
     
  20. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    Very probably F&F... the fungal fur is probably just the slime coat breaking down... but it may have added some pathogens to the tank...

    Yep... if your veges will tolerate... and most winter crops should then going to 3ppt isn't a bad idea...

    I run 1-2ppt of salt pretty much constanly anyway... regularly dose my tanks with about 5-10% pure seawater each week...
     

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