Backyard Aquaponics
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Need answers fast please
http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=29576
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Author:  Jake_556 [ Mar 19th, '18, 03:54 ]
Post subject:  Need answers fast please

So I'm new to this, tried soil, way too many problems, started lookin through the different ponic systems available out there an stumbled upon aquaponics, so I'm new as *frack* :headbang: , in tryina set my system up, I'm going to be building my grow shelter over the fish tank, I was gonna put a fountain pump in the fish tank, an run clear vynl tubing to the top of my grow bed, I want a self draining/cleaning, system so I'm using a storage bin that will have 6" holes cut into the top, a net cup will be placed into it filled with clay pellets an the idea is for the water to pump in through the top of the net cup feeding the roots an cleaning the water at the same time, but the question I have and I told you, new as *frack* :headbang: , do I need a biofilter if I'm using this pump and drain method? I feel like the clay pellets will catch most of the waste but I don't know if it'll catch the other toxins along with it an this is probably the dumbest question but it is what. It is lol

Next question:
I will be planting at the maximum, 3 plants. I like quality, so how many fish would I need, I have goldfish that I've already set up in a tank that are waiting for this system ti be built, i have about 10 as of now, they are between 2.5 and 3" in length, in a 20 gallon. I will be using the 5.5 for the grow as an attempt to have to use less space to produce more waste in a timely maybe more concentrated manner????, these are my ideas and that's what they are.. Ideas, and I need to know kf my idea will work or will fail an what i should do in order for it to succeed, please HELP thank you

Author:  dlf_perth [ Mar 19th, '18, 14:17 ]
Post subject:  Re: Need answers fast please

do I need a biofilter if I'm using this pump and drain method? I feel like the clay pellets will catch most of the waste but I don't know if it'll catch the other toxins along with it an this is probably the dumbest question but it is what.

The media bed is the biofilter, so no you dont need one. Particularly for a new system.
Some people use filters etc but these are for more advanced systems with higher fish loads in full sized systems. In an aquarium setup there is nothing to stop you have some additional tank type filtration but if set up properly you shouldnt need it.

As a new starter just go Fish Tank to Media Bed/Tub and back to fish tank - it will work fine.
Otherwise have a look at the various aquarium systems that are posted around this thread.
There are a few to get ideas from and people here will have dealt with the usual problems aquarium systems have,

Don't use clear pipe - it will grow algae etc.
Normal black poly irrigation or fish pump pipe is fine if it fits your pump outlet.
else PVC pipe for larger volumes.

re:plants yours is a little system. Not going to go ballistic.
Just run it off as many fish as you can comfortably house in the tank.
10 is probably too many and not really fair on the fish in the long run.
But if they seem happy then maybe they are OK while small.
The three plants will be fine as long as you choose something practical - start with leafy greens or herbs *not* tomatoes/chillies etc.

Your post comes across as stressed out and a bit demanding - in the vernacular "chill out",
aquaponics requires patience. Nothing will happen quickly.

Author:  Jake_556 [ Mar 19th, '18, 20:24 ]
Post subject:  Re: Need answers fast please

Oh im not being impatient I realize it takes time, i was getting frustrated lookin for these answers an findin round about answers so I finally turned to a thread to get advice from someone who knew what they were talkin about cause i was lost an stressed I wont lie hahaha, but thank you very much for your reply, I can't tell you how happy you made me cause I been tryina get my materials together an now i see i have it all except the lack hose, but i will not be using all 10 fish, thats cruel to pack that many in a 5.5, my personal opinion, as of now i can probably max out at 5 fish

Author:  danny [ Mar 20th, '18, 05:31 ]
Post subject:  Re: Need answers fast please

5.5 gallon tank? That's pretty small. You mentioned a 20 gallon tank you have? If you could use that for the AP it will work better, and the fish will be happier too!

Author:  Jake_556 [ Mar 20th, '18, 05:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: Need answers fast please

Yes I have a 20 and a 5.5, as of right now I have 10 fish in my 20. once this system is started ill be seperating tyem out between the tanks, so 6 will be staying in it, and ill probably only use 4 in the 5.5.

Author:  skilletlicker [ Mar 20th, '18, 16:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: Need answers fast please

Jake_556 wrote:
So I'm new to this, tried soil, way too many problems, started lookin through the different ponic systems available out there an stumbled upon aquaponics, so I'm new as *frack* :headbang: , in tryina set my system up, I'm going to be building my grow shelter over the fish tank, I was gonna put a fountain pump in the fish tank, an run clear vynl tubing to the top of my grow bed, I want a self draining/cleaning, system so I'm using a storage bin that will have 6" holes cut into the top, a net cup will be placed into it filled with clay pellets an the idea is for the water to pump in through the top of the net cup feeding the roots an cleaning the water at the same time, but the question I have and I told you, new as *frack* :headbang: , do I need a biofilter if I'm using this pump and drain method? I feel like the clay pellets will catch most of the waste but I don't know if it'll catch the other toxins along with it an this is probably the dumbest question but it is what. It is lol

Next question:
I will be planting at the maximum, 3 plants. I like quality, so how many fish would I need, I have goldfish that I've already set up in a tank that are waiting for this system ti be built, i have about 10 as of now, they are between 2.5 and 3" in length, in a 20 gallon. I will be using the 5.5 for the grow as an attempt to have to use less space to produce more waste in a timely maybe more concentrated manner????, these are my ideas and that's what they are.. Ideas, and I need to know kf my idea will work or will fail an what i should do in order for it to succeed, please HELP thank you


Welcome Jake. I'm new at this also. I just added fish to the tank and plants to a growbed the beginning of February so I am very familiar with the frustration and impatience of of getting a small system started. If you want you can see my system in the Member's System Forum under Skilletlicker's 20-Gallon System.

Let me see if I understand. You are planning a 5½ gallon fish tank with a storage bin on top and 3 six-inch net cups sitting in the lid of the bin. Is the storage bin going to fill with water or just drain from the bottom back into the fish tank? The total volume of pellets is going to be what fits in those three cups?

Your questions are.
1. Do you need a biofilter?
2. How many 2½" goldfish are needed to support 3 plants?
3. Is it a sound strategy to "attempt to have to use less space to produce more waste in a timely maybe more concentrated manner????"?
It is quite likely I misunderstood some or all of that and if so please try to be patient with me.

First, how many fish. I have two goldfish that size in a 20-gallon aquarium and they are supporting about 12 lettuce, 5 basil, 6 radishes, plus some tyme, cilantro, and parsley. So based on that, I'd say one goldfish is enough for three plants.

But the biofilter and will it work questions are tied together and I'll give you some thoughts but remember, I'm new at this too. Smarter and much more experienced folk than me will read this correct any errors I'm making and thus we will both learn. In my very humble opinion, Concentrating the fish waste isn't sound and will likely kill the fish and still not provide nourishment to the plants. The fish waste is ammonia and that is poisonous to fish at levels above one or two parts per million. One three inch goldfish in a 5½-gallon tank will quickly exceed that. Getting the biofilter working takes time and involves Nitrogen Cycling. Much is written about it but the gist is you need grow a bunch (billions) of microorganisms who eat the ammonia produced by the fish and excrete their own waste in the form of nitrites. But nitrites poison fish too. So next you need a colony of billions of different little bugs to eat the nitrites and excrete nitrates and it is the nitrates that your plants can take up and get the nitrogen that is their most important nutrient. What dif-perth says about the media bed being the biofilter is true enough but not until those colonies of little bugs are established - weeks, maybe a couple months. Even then I don't know if 3 cups of clay pebbles is enough. My little system has a "hang off the back of the tank" type filter, plus a few gallons of rock pebbles on the bottom of the aquarium, plus almost 20 liters of clay pebbles in the small growbed. That is not enough information about cycling maybe it's enough to get you started and for others to build on. Suggest you become familiar with stategies for fishless cycling and cycling with fish at very low stocking levels before you actually begin.

Next, I started out thinking I could raise enough Tilapia in a 20-gallon tank to have a fish dinner once a week. There is another thread in the New Member Introductions section where I worked through that with the help of Scotty and some other experienced members here. My two little goldfish are producing enough waste for all the plants mentioned above but the system is at it's limit until the amount of ammonia Sara and Maybelle create increases. Of course I could add more fish but 20-gallon isn't big enough for two full grown goldfish. As they grow I'll add more growbed space but I will also move up to at least a 29-gallon tank, bigger than that if I decide I want more fish.

So I hope you are not discouraged by this. Patience might be worth mentioning again. It took six months of mulling this over before I finally pulled the trigger. It wasn't wasted time though.

Good luck and welcome.

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