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PostPosted: Jan 7th, '10, 09:52 
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Then began my experimenting with a prototype system consisting of:

approx. 200ltr FT (glass aquarium)
approx.50ltr GB (polystyrene box) filled with 20mm agi screenings
11 goldfish
8watt aquarium pump
and appropriate plumbing for flood and drain system.

I spent months of tinkering trying to get the bell syphon to work but once i mastered it I started to cycle the system for a couple of weeks then added the fish and some lettuce seeds and off it went.
This system is in the garage under an open window and laserlight roof sheet and growth was slow to start but once i removed half the filter from the aquarium pump the lettuce grew franticly. It now runs with no filter just a piece of pantyhose loosely over the intlet to the GB.
I have some small problems with this system but will deal further with this system later.


Some of you may remember be mention my Prototype system in my main system thread.
This is how i got interested in aquaponics. Just set up a small system to see if it really worked and it did so then I began outside.
Being my first crack at AP I was very impatient (no more than with the bigger system) and not very thorough with my water tests. I'll be completely honest and say I have just tested the system today for the first time since seting it up and I've seen my first every Nitrate reading in my test tube!!!
Ph: 8.2
Amm:0.25
Ites: 0
Ates: 30! :cheers:
Safe to say i'm definately still cycling my bigger system.
I guess the way that I have treated the bigger system is not much different to the way i ttreated the prototype. just set it up and thought it would do the rest. (seemed to work for the prototype)
I figured with the Prototype being in the shed I could get away with planting it out as a herb garden. I have had a good crop of Lettuce from the herb GB and I have planted many herb seeds in the GB but things arn't really getting big. I have a few basil seedlings and thyme and oragano, but nothing that I could pick and use for cooking, its all too small.
thought that maybe the lettuce was shading the GB from the window too much so was removing them and feeding them to my SP fingerlings in the bigger system.
But still not much growth from the herbs.
Has anyone had much luck growing herbs in AP or should i just stick to lettuce.?

Also the stats for my prototype have changed a little as i removed some of the gold fish and put them in the bigger system to hopefully cycle it before i bought my SP. obviously with no luck.
There are now 7 GF and 2 yabies in the Prototype and the water level is around the half way mark. I will take photos later this arvo hopefully and post them here and some of my bigger system once i get the shade done this arvo.

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PostPosted: Jan 7th, '10, 15:06 
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Your high PH is probably locking out the Nitrate uptake by the herbs. Try and bring it down to 7. (Search the forum and there is enough and more advice on how to do that)

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PostPosted: Jan 8th, '10, 07:48 
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Thought that would be the answer i'd get. I need to get an eye dropper so I can work out a constant measure of Hyd acid to add each day to try and regulate my PH. Here are some photos any way. Couldn't get my big yabbie to come out of his home but you can see him hiding in the 40mm PVC pipe.


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PostPosted: Jan 8th, '10, 07:51 
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Here's my small basil and I think its thyme and oregano.


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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '10, 11:00 
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Well things have kicked along nicely in this system since I last posted. The giant lettuce was removed and more lettuce seads were planted. Since removing the giant lettuce and occasianally feeding with the SP feed the herbs have gone gang busters. I now have some basil ready for picking as well as some parsley and corriander. The thyme has started to grow again too.
The system readings have not changed, still PH 8, amm and ites 0.
Placed 6 SP fingerlings into the FT on the weekend, removed from the outdoor system.
I know that I had my first ever fish loss yesterday. One of the SP got snapped up by a yabbie! I was actually showing a couple of friends the system at the time.

The reason for putting some of the SP in this tank was that I am planning to run the water heater on this system over winter and would like to see if I can get some of the SP to continue feeding well right throught the winter, just a little experiment. Not sure if the little guys will last long though now one of the yabbies has a taste for blood!

Here's a couple of photos of the GB at the moment.


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PostPosted: May 21st, '10, 20:57 
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Been having a few issues with this system lately. The GB is going fine, basil thyme corriander peas sweetpeas and lettuce all growing no worries.
In the FT my gold fish have grown enourmous! biggest would be over 100mm long and fat as ....! all others not far behind. My two yabbies have shed their shells about 4 times each since being introduced into the system and are now quiet large but now are quiet content sitting in their hides and eating anything that finds its way within their reach. Including a few more SP! :upset:

A few months ago while I was in melbourne for a week or so my GF noticed that one
of my Goldfish had a very mouldy tail. When I arrived back there was one Goldie that had a white film all over its fins and a could of other goldies also had signs of it but not as bad as the first one. I added some fresh water and just monitored the situation for a few weeks and turn the pump on 24/7 for a while and things cleared up.

A few weeks later I noticed a floater, a SP and he had a very thick white film all over him, I just assumed that he had been caught by a yabbie, but not completely eaten like the last dead SP I found, and maybe been sitting on the bottom for a while till he rotted enough to start floating.
Monitored things again for a while and every few weeks it seemed that there were fewer and fewer SP in the tank. They are very hard to see as they are very shy in this system and have plenty of places to hide but after a while I came to the conclusion that the remaining 2 or 3 SP in the tank must have been caught and eaten by the yabbies.

I decided to add another 5 SP and added the heater to the tank becauses I am very interested to see if I can get a few SP to continue feeding right through winter.
These 5 seem to be a little more aware of the dangers in the tank and I'm sure after a couple of weeks they were all still getting around until this week.
At the beginning of the week I noticed the same goldfish that had suffered from the fin fungas had it back again! Then by the middle of this week noticed that one of the SP was swimming around very lethargic and also had some patches of white fungas.

I managed to net him and the goldie and put them into a small quarentine tank and salted it to 3ppt. Unfortunately it was all to much for the SP but the Goldie seemed to be looking better within an hour of being in the salted quarentine tank. I will continue to monitor him over a week or so and will consider putting him in the expansion system fish tank as a guinea pig once I flush it out and add new water.
Does anyone have any ideas what is wrong with my goldfish?
Like I said I have salted the quarentine tank and am slowly increasing the temp in the prototype FT incase any of the others have traces of the same disease/condition.
Do you think heat will clear things up in the prototype or just increase the problem if there are trace nitrites??

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PostPosted: May 21st, '10, 21:40 
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Do you have a picture? Sounds like ich to me. Maybe someone with a little more experience will chime in.


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PostPosted: May 21st, '10, 23:58 
Ich would show up as little white spots... and "flashing" behaviour...

This is a fungal problem... stop feeding for a day or two.... add 3ppt to your fish tank... and increase aeration if possible...

What are your water parameters??.... heating your tank with certain pH values could be problematic if you have any ammonia present... and your comment about "nitrites" has me wondering...

Basically, every indication points to a water quality problem... even if temporary...

NB.... heating your water may actually be the worse thing to do in terms of combatting disease.... pathogens thrive in warmer temperatures... that's why hospitals theatres and wards are "chilled"... rather than heated...


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PostPosted: May 29th, '10, 19:26 
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thanks Rup, I have quarintened the sick fish and put aeration in the quarintene tank contsantly and added 3ppt salt. I'm doing periodic water changes in his quarintene tank too, and adding salt again to bring back to 3ppt.
I really think it is a fungal virus, obviously the dead SP wasn't good but the Goldfish seems to be getting better I will nurse him until i'm sure he has no more signs of the fungas.
I have actually kept the heat up in the main FT and everything seems fine. I also went out to the shed one night this week and turned on only one set of lights and sat and watched my fish for a while and couldn't believe it but there are a lot more SP in there than I thought.
I had assumed the 5-6 that I added a few months back must have all been eaten by the yabbies but in the night with the flouro lights from the shed on the SP were zooming around everywhere and there would, be at a guess, at least 8 SP still there, with a couple being quite larger than when they were added. Once im sure there is no more fungal problems in the main tank and my water perameters are all good I will continue to increase the temp in the tank and see how my SP grow over the rest of winter compared to the ones in the outdoor system. Has anyone else tryed to grow a select number of SP in an indoor heated system over winter?

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PostPosted: Jun 2nd, '10, 06:02 
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Okay like I said I had kept the heat up in the FT and fish have been very active and feeding nearly 3 times a day. Yabbies don't seem to be very active these days always hiding in there homes. I had thought maybe they had died but I did see them both out and about at night the other night. The infected fish is still in quarintene but still showing signs of the fungus aorund the tips of his fins.
I walked in to find some very murky water the 2 nights ago in the FT.
PH:7.4
amm:0.5
ites:1
Unfortunately I cant just leave things alone so this could have been caused by a number of different things.
Firstly the heat; water temps at night always seem to be around 18-21 deg but maybe it gets higher during the day.
secondly the extra feeding: a small hand full 2-3 times a day not that they aren't eating it all but maybe the extra waste is too much for the GB size
third: I have been adding worms to the FT for 2 reasons hoping that the fish and yabbies will be getting some extra food, and secondly I have read that if your DO is high enough worms will actually survive living in water.
4th: the water evaperation had increased due to the higher water temps and therefor the water in my FT had dropped quite a bit over the week
And lastly; noticing that some of the SP that I had thought had died were still alive maybe the fish load on this system is too high.
Need to do some calculations
200ltr FT
50ltr GB ( still havn't put another GB online yet)
2 yabbies (100-110cm)
7 GF 90mm- 130mm fat buggers (including the quarintened one)
8 SP at a guess ranging from tiny to 40-50mm long
Cant remember the recommended fish load to GB volume but I will try and do a search.

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PostPosted: Jun 2nd, '10, 18:53 
Yep, you've got about twice as many fish as you should have... even if you had 4 x the number of growbeds... especially feeding three times a day...

And no need to feed the yabbies extra... they'll clean up after the fish anyway, quite happily...

Add another three growbeds the same size... immediately... and stop feeding until the nitrite has gone and the water cleared.... then cut your feeds back to twice daily, or half the amount until you've got more growbeds online...


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PostPosted: Jun 11th, '10, 19:49 
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Well a good lesson in what happens when you try and push the limits. Obviously being over stocked and feeding excessively caused the water to deterierate rapidly. I managed to bring the water back to normal very quickly but unfortunately the damage had been done. 3 more SP deaths last weekend.
Have not seen a living SP all week but I will assume the remaining 5 or so are still okay as the water temps are back down and they are not active.

I cant wait to get the expansion system up and running properly so I can transfer the goldfish into it AND finally get some trout. And I will continue to experiment with the SP in this system over winter with heat once the Goldfish are tranfered.
Oh and possibly get a 2nd GB online!

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PostPosted: Jul 10th, '10, 19:33 
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Believe it or not I actually had a goldfish death today, the one that has been quarinteened due to fungusie fins. I changed his water yesterday and salted again, but could not be stuffed doing calculations so just guessed. think i must have added too much salt as he reacted strangly instantly after adding the dissolved salt. The way I see it, it was for his own good, he was either going to get better or die! At least I don't need to keep looking after him now. :twisted:

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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '10, 16:40 
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Well since the last time I had issues in this system from pushing the limits, It is safe to say I must have lost all the SP. I had since removed the heater and things were all brought back under control.

Unfortunately again I cant leave things alone....... :twisted: :twisted:

So........ Now that the expansion system has a spare FT to use I have moved 4 of the Goldfish from the existing SP tank to the new FT2 and 4 from this system (prototype) to the FT2. I then moved another 8 SP from the SP tank outside to this system inside.

So fish figures should be 8 SP and 2 GF and 2 yabbies in this system and 30 odd SP left outside in the Expansion system FT1 and 8 GF in FT2.

Again I don't know why I still have this plan to grow out SP in a tank that has large yabbies in it becuase already I have lost 2-3 SP from yabbie attacks and due to this I have now got a high reading of amm and ites but also massive reading of ates!. I really should work out a way to get another GB at least on this system. Although I have taken 4 GF out I know I need more filtration. the main problem is the lack of room inside the shed.

think I will need to come up with a way to run something outside throught the window and maybe include a sump.

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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '10, 22:36 
Yep... you need more growbeds... every thing is telling you that... especially your high nitrate reading...

Why waste them nitrates... add more growbeds.. and grow more plants... :wink:


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