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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '18, 04:15 
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Hello.

I am new to aquaponics, but not new to fish keeping. 20 years ago, I had a number of different cichlids and tropical fish. My favorites were the pair of Jaguar cichlids I had before hanging up the hobby due to moving and life changes.

My son is interested in keeping fish, probably convict cichlids or similar. No Jaguars at this point. He wants to start with a 10 gallon tank, which would be OK for a little while, but we'd need to move up within a year or so.

I'm thinking of doing an aquaponic setup with this. The goal would be to reduce ammonia/nitrite/nitrate to help improve water quality, together with regular water changes. Here are the two variations I'm thinking of:

1. Use an undergravel filter with a powerhead. The powerhead would pump into a rectangular planter (Home Depot or similar) which would sit on the back portion of the tank. I'd plan to do a PVC overflow back into the tank, set so liquid depth would be 1-2 inches. The planter would house some philodendron-type plants, or possibly, lettuce or similar for eating (although this bed would be awfully small for much production). I think we'd put the heater in the planter to free up more tank space.

2. Option 2 would be to use the above planter, no powerhead, no UG filter. A HOB filter would be hung on the planter. The HOB's suction tube would be plumbed thru the bottom of the planter, which would require silicone sealant around the penetration (to prevent complete emptying of the planter)

I think I'd use a screen type baffle and possibly a coarse sponge prefilter to keep the plants out of the overflows.

I'm not sure what kind of growth media to use? I'm guessing some sort of planting media with large surface area would have a biological filtration benefit, maybe some sort of rockwool or similar.

I don't know much about the liquid depth needed, or flow rate, etc. I was planning 1-2 inches of liquid depth, and maybe 100 Gallons/hr (380 lph).

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks in advance,


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PostPosted: Feb 15th, '18, 13:44 
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Welcome to the forum Mike :wave:


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PostPosted: Feb 15th, '18, 16:04 
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Because I am basically lazy this is a cut and paste.

"I have seen some very silly in house or flat systems. Transferring a large system design to micro imho does not work very well.
Split your mechanical/biological filtration from your GB's and go NFT (personal favourite for this situation) or continuous flow.
Basically you need a canister filter to handle the waste/bio filtration and pumping (it also acts as a sump albeit sealed).
The upside for NFT is its light provides very good aeration and does not require large volumes of water, there should also be no problems with algae. Its downside is there is limited plant sustainability in case of a power out unless you hybridise it slightly and it dosen't handle plants with an aggressive root system very well.
Your main problem growing indoors is providing adequate light for the plants.
Anyway just my opinion. :)"

I would also point out that with a large enough canister (or two daisy chained one pump disabled) it does provide for aerobic mineralisation inline. :)


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PostPosted: Feb 15th, '18, 22:21 
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Welcome to the forum. For the plastic sided growbeds we use a pass-through called a bulkhead.
Attachment:
Aquarium-bulkhead.png
Aquarium-bulkhead.png [ 128.45 KiB | Viewed 1034 times ]

Install the bulkhead in the side of the grow-bed and aquarium at the height you want the water level to be.
Sleepe has valid points of course. I'll add that for the same amount of plumbing pipes and fittings you should think larger than a small aquarium, as you'll have to do it all over again with the next build as you say in a year.
Or you can check out a pre-built one for starters http://a.co/j73jSXg
Attachment:
pre-made-aquarium--aquaponics.png
pre-made-aquarium--aquaponics.png [ 620.36 KiB | Viewed 1034 times ]

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Feb 15th, '18, 22:52 
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Thanks for the welcome, and the ideas.

It may well be too much hassle for a 10 gallon tank. I do have a 29 gallon, maybe I'll start with that.

I like the aquasprouts idea as a starting point. Where should I look for clay growth media (I assume that's a good choice?) Or would lava rocks suffice?



I ordered a powerhead and am looking into bins and bulkheads and such. Will be a little while before I have everything assembled. I'll try to post back when I've got it going.


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PostPosted: Feb 15th, '18, 23:02 
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I would stay away from lava rock no other reason than cleaning.... Hydroton (clay) or perlite as a media is much easier to maintain (my opinion and not a steadfast rule).

General question:

Don't cichlids require a high(er) pH and somewhat brackish water?

Adam


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PostPosted: Feb 16th, '18, 01:46 
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Viagrow clay beads are free delivery form Home depot https://www.homedepot.com/p/Viagrow-50-l-ViaStone-Hydroponic-Gardening-Medium-Grow-Rock-VS50/202985175

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Feb 16th, '18, 01:58 
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Thanks Adam, that's helpful.

We have higher pH in spades here in SD. My tap water is around 8.0, with alkalinity of 160 ppm and hardness of 244 ppm.

I have heard that higher pH is good for cichlids, but haven't ever heard about needing brackish water, but I'm far from an expert on it.


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PostPosted: Feb 16th, '18, 04:42 
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A little indoor goldfish system I built
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=24185

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PostPosted: Feb 16th, '18, 04:45 
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Not that they need (had to educate myself) but that they could handle mixed fresh/salt environment.....

Did not know if it was a requirement to keep, but thinking how the salt (if needed) would affect plants?

Adam


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PostPosted: Feb 16th, '18, 05:50 
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Jayendra,

That's a neat idea, increasing the grow bed area that way.

Adam,

I suspect there's an upper limit on sodium with respect to plants. In any case, I'm not planning to add sodium to the water (at least not intentionally). We have about 74 ppm Sodium out of the tap.


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PostPosted: Feb 16th, '18, 05:53 
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BTW,

I don't plan to use an UG filter in the fish tank upon further reflection. I think biological filtration should be adequately provided by the grow bed.


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PostPosted: Feb 16th, '18, 06:22 
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mikesdak wrote:
BTW,

I don't plan to use an UG filter in the fish tank upon further reflection. I think biological filtration should be adequately provided by the grow bed.
Yes, but don't rely solely upon the media bed. Need to take offline (cleaning/media change/decouple/???) you will not have to worry as seeding new media to handle fish load.

You should have some sort of mechanical fines filtration to minimize solids build up.

Adam


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PostPosted: Feb 16th, '18, 06:56 
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Good thought on the mechanical filtration. To that end, I'm planning on a mechanical prefilter (foam or filter floss) as the first stage in the media bed. This also should be a site for bacterial growth.


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