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 Post subject: Basement Aquaponics
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:10 pm 
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Location: USA, Michigan
Hello,

Just a few updates since my last post here: viewtopic.php?f=73&t=437
Davidstcldfl suggested I start a new post in here.

This coming Saturday will be two weeks since our fish tank has cycled and we added a batch of 20 yellow perch. One died the following day and another one a couple of days after that. However, the remaining 18 are holding steady. Some of these fish are considerably larger than those I purchased two or three months ago from the same group at the fish farm. The first group I purchased were 4 to 6 inch but these are at least 6 to 8 inch or better. That leads me to believe/hope that they will grow out from here at an acceptable rate.

Ammonia and nitrite levels are at or near zero but the nitrate levels are 100 plus. Ph level has been pretty steady at around 6.8 to 7.2 or so. I have not really had to mess with it too much lately. I used some hydroponic ph down that I had left over to get it down to current levels. That was before I added the fish.

As of right now we have a 4’x4’ area seeded out with a variety of lettuce types and one spinach plant. We also rooted some geranium cuttings. They took about 3 weeks to root. Since our nitrate readings have been high I am going to seed the other half of the grow bed this weekend. I think I will start the other half with all lettuce to try to get the nitrates down sooner and then try some other veggies later. Once I get the grow bed in full production that will tell me how many more fish, if any, I can add.

I have been feeding the fish minnows, as I lost patience with trying to get them to eat the dry food. The first week they went through 50 minnows, but yesterday I added 50 more and today there are maybe half a dozen left. Ouch! That’s 6 bucks a pop for 50 minnows. I don’t mind buying them for now but I will definitely have to either raise my own feeder fish or try to get them to eat the dry food again. Should have stuck with the dry food. That’s what they feed them at the fish farm.

Anyway, here are some pics and a video I recorded a few days ago. I’ll post a more recent video soon.

Sorry about the image and video quality (iphone). I hope to get a better camera soon (maybe).

Thanks.

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[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpcn99OSFxA[/video]


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Aquaponics
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:42 pm
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Location: Northeastern Ohio USA
hi pniedzwiecki, looking good so far. yes try to get them to eat the dry foood again much cheaper in the long run. what size food pellets are you trying to feed them and what kind, my perch love silvercup i feed 2x a day they love the stuff. well good luck later Big Al


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Aquaponics
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:44 pm 
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Thanks for the comments Big Al.

I’m not sure what brand name the dry feed is. They gave me a large zip lock bag at the fish farm when I bought my first group of fish a few months ago. He told me the name but I don’t remember right now. I will have to give them a call tomorrow to find out. He said it’s what they are feeding. The pellets are about 1/8” diameter. Of course they swell up somewhat after they have been in the water for a while. Since these fish are a little more mature I don’t think the pellets are too big for them anymore.

Anyway, I noticed that we have a lot of lettuce seeds sprouting as of today. All the net pots that look vacant in the video below have at least one sprout but most have 2. So far that will be the most productive we have been. I have a request for more geranium cuttings. I am thinking maybe a dozen or so. This time they are all red flowers.

Here is a video I shot today:

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBkHtlWSA6s[/video]


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Aquaponics
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:41 pm 
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Location: Northeastern Ohio USA
hi pniedzwiecki, try putting some pellets into a food processor and make a powder mix it with some of the pellets to see if they will start to eat it perch can be pretty stubburn. so good luck hope it works for you. later Big Al


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Aquaponics
PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:25 am 
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hi pniedzwiecki, i was wondering if you got your perch to eat the pellet food or not. just wondering thanks Big Al


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Aquaponics
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:18 pm
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Location: USA, Michigan
Hello Everyone,

Just a little update.

Quote:
hi pniedzwiecki, i was wondering if you got your perch to eat the pellet food or not. just wondering thanks Big Al


Yes, they are finally eating the dry food. At this point I am not exactly sure how many of them are eating the dry food. I have witnessed, on a couple of occasions over the last few days, one or more fish coming to the top and grabbing some food. It is definitely not a feeding frenzy but it is progress.

Almost every time there are some leftover uneaten pellets floating in the tank after they have been feed.

Quote:
hi pniedzwiecki, looking good so far. yes try to get them to eat the dry foood again much cheaper in the long run. what size food pellets are you trying to feed them and what kind, my perch love silvercup i feed 2x a day they love the stuff. well good luck later Big Al


I am using the Silvercup (I called to verify) brand of fish food that they gave me at the fish farm to get me started. The pellet size is approx. 1/8 inch. He said that they do not sell the smaller 1/8 inch variety to the public but they sell the larger ¼ inch food. I had no idea it came in different sizes. Anyway, I think I will try some of the larger size pellets in a week or two. I will have to contact the fish farm again to see if they are feeding the larger pellets to the perch they still have. If they are then I should be able to do the same as my fish are from the same group and should be relatively close to the same size.

OOPS! A couple of weeks ago I suddenly realized that the water that I was using was being softened from our water softener. I thought I had tapped into a water pipe that bypassed the softener but it turns out that none of the pipes bypass the softener. Although it took awhile, the salt buildup around the edges of the tank and on the edges of the Styrofoam was the clue. Not sure why but at first I just could not figure out where the salt could be coming from. Then it dawned on me.

So far the fish seem fine and in fact I believe they may have even benefitted somewhat from the salt. A few days after I put the fish in the tank they started to get a fungus (I think) around their mouths and on their tail fins. I no longer see any sign if any of that on any of the fish. I wonder if the salt helped to clear that up.

While the fish do not seem to be affected by the salt, I think the plants do not like it. Several of our lettuce seedlings completely dried up before they could even get started. The salt buildup caused the tiny stalk to dry up. At the moment I am not sure if the salt is having any negative effects on the growth of the mature plants or not.

I have since stopped using that tap as a source. I am now getting water from a faucet that is near the well pump and before the water softener. I made a diy water filter out of a 5 gallon bucket and some foam pieces to help clarify the water. So far the filter seems to be working out just fine. I will post some pics of the filter later if anyone is interested.

Since the fish are not harmed by the salt so far, and we still have moderate lettuce growth I decided not to carry out a large water change. I figure the salt that is present in the system will eventually evaporate out.

Here is a video update:

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjeGE46SHfY[/video]

Thanks,


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Aquaponics
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:18 pm 
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Location: USA, Michigan
Forgot to mention that the spinach plant did not make it. Kinda strange. It seemed to be doing just fine and then it just dried up.

Maybe the salt buildup became too toxic for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Aquaponics
PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:56 pm 
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Location: Southwest Ohio
Just wanted to mention, that salt is left behind when water evaporates. It won't evaporate out, if you decide that you want to remove it, water changes will be needed. Personally, I would bet that the salt went along way in helping the fish recover from the bacterial infection. Might have been good luck that you used the softened water? I don't know much about water softeners, but have always heard that they don't mix well with fish tanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Aquaponics
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:41 pm 
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Location: USA, Michigan
Brier,

Thanks for your comments.

I believe you are correct. However when the salt water evaporates off of hard surfaces (the hydroton, the tank edges, the foam, etc.) the salt is deposited and can be wiped away or removed. So that's how I have been removing the salt from the system. Wherever I see it I rinse it off or wipe it off with a damp sponge. I guess I should have been more clear.

Its been about two weeks since I stopped adding the saltwater and started wiping and rinsing away the buildup and I can already see a difference. My thoughts are that since the plants are still growing and the fish are looking healthy, then slowly removing the salt or at least removing the bulk of it should be ok.

I'm not completely against large water changes, its just that I don't really like the idea of wasting too much water. If I have to then I will I guess. I don't think its necessary yet. We'll see.

Thanks,


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 Post subject: Re: Basement Aquaponics
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:23 pm 
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Location: USA, Michigan
Hello,

Just another update. The pics below are from yesterday and today. This will be the largest harvest of lettuce to date. We are gonna have to give some if this away (already have takers, sorry).

The fish are doing fine and have taken to the dry food quite well. The nitrates seem to be slowly coming down somewhat. I found that the ph started to creep upwards on me over the last couple of weeks so I have been adding small amounts of hydrochloric acid to keep the ph at around 6.5 to 7.0.

I estimate that I have been adding about 2 to 4 gallons of water (average) to the system every day. I think most of that is due to evaporation.

A few more of the flowers in the system have rooted and will be removed in the next couple of days making room for MORE LETTUCE!

The pictures:

A big batch cut yesterday:

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Befor the lettuce cutting today

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Two big bowls cut today:

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Bibb lettuce:

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After the harvest:

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Looks like everyone is gonna get lettuce for Christmas.


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