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PostPosted: Jul 23rd, '18, 08:33 
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I’m back from my parents house, just had a nice dinner. Here are the results for the ammonia test kit. Also, if I want to salt my system, should I add it all in at once or do it in increments.


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PostPosted: Jul 23rd, '18, 09:29 
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:? Hmm, well nothing wrong with these products but there are concentrated versions available for less if you look at Hydroponics shops or even occasionally garden centers. You can save quite a bit by doing some research.

The plant food calls for 10 mls for every 10 gallons and your system has about 250 to 300 gallons so lets see the bottle holds 250 gms which is about 250 mls so one treatment and you'll have to buy a new bottle :dontknow: . That's like 6 or 7 dollars for every treatment - you can do a lot better if you want to save some money.

Most people look for the EDDHA or DTPA version of chelated iron which you can find out online. For the seaweed extract it's usually maxicrop here in the US and Seasol in Australia. That takes care of Iron and a lot of growth promoters and usually the seaweed extract has some potassium and helps with that as well. That and the test kits you already have are probably all you'll need other than fish food.

For the fish food - The nitrogen that the plants will end up using comes from the protein in the food so a fish food with low protein content is usually not a good choice for plant growth or fish growth (since fish make proteins using some of the nitrogen as well). Now sometimes a food like the kelp that you got has other benefits and can be used as a supplement but really shouldn't be the only thing the fish eat. Typically I'll suggest a food that has at least 32 percent protein but something closer to 40 is usually better. Beyond that it's not really easy to tell the good quality feeds from the not so good so try something and if it works stick with it (or keep looking if you think something else will work just as well but cost less).

The aquarium salt will work but just so you know you can buy a 40 lb bag of pool salt for about the same price at Walmart - https://www.walmart.com/ip/Morton-Salt-Pool-Salt-40-Lb-Bag/16561292 - You won't have to store it buying the smaller quantity but it's going to cost you. Another option is regular sea salt in the bulk bins at the grocery store.

I'm not sure what's going on with the ammonia reading but if it's a true reading then you'll need to stop feeding again until it drops back to zero. I'm a bit suspicious that this is a false reading caused by the ammonia water treatment you used but I have no way to know :dontknow: . Have you checked to see if your source water is treated with chloramines or chlorine?

Hope this helps :thumbright:

Forgot to answer your question about where to add the salt and how fast - You want to add it to the sump tank but because your sump is relatively small I'd probably dissolve it in some water and add it to the sump tank a little bit at a time so the fish have time to adjust.


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PostPosted: Jul 23rd, '18, 09:52 
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Further to... or re-enforcing Scotty's important points above.

Suggest you save some money and avoid adding too many chemicals to your system - ie stop visiting aquarium supply stores.

Not sure what food is best for tilapia fingerlings... good quality flakes are probably OK for now while they're tiny. But you will need something else when they get big and hungry and you have plenty of plants in a well cycled system. I use commercial fish farm quality pellets ordered online (supplemented with leafy greens from the growbeds) for my Australian native perch.

Everything else you need should be available from a supermarket (salt) and a hardware or garden supply store.

And yes... you can add all the salt at once!

(Edit... having seen Scotty's added comment about salt above)... I add all my salt in to my fish tank at once. Fish seem to have been OK. But Scotty is way ahead of me in all things aquaponics so suggest you go with his advice.

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Last edited by Dangerous Dave on Jul 23rd, '18, 09:54, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Jul 23rd, '18, 09:53 
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Okay, so firstly thank you for the information. In the future i will seek out these more cost effective methods you speak of. Good thing is, is i can take them back for a full refund and grab the bargains you speak of.

I was getting ready to second my question about how to introduce the salt to the system, but it looks like you got to it. I will try this and will monitor the fish over a the next few days.

Okay, the ammonia reading must be accurate(ill do another test, as its a 130 test kit and i have plenty of tries)because i never treated my tank with ammonia in the beginning. The fish are still in the tank while it is cycling. Now that i know, that's so bad on me and i have definitely learned for future reference.

I made some of what i think might be good upgrades to the tank, such as the thermometer and the sun block screen i made for the fish tank.(pictures of that will come tomorrow as its dark here in Florida and i cant get a good photograph)
I'm having second thoughts about it though after i realized the possibility of it blocking wind and air flow, so i might need to change it up. would love to get some input on that. :bootyshake:

Again, thank you dave scotty and dif. you guys are truly blessing me, im such a newbie :notworthy:


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PostPosted: Jul 23rd, '18, 14:44 
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Dangerous Dave wrote:
(Edit... having seen Scotty's added comment about salt above)... I add all my salt in to my fish tank at once. Fish seem to have been OK. But Scotty is way ahead of me in all things aquaponics so suggest you go with his advice.


Not in this case Dave - I was erring on the side of caution. I add my salt to a 150 gallon sump and just let it dissolve as the water pumps through. I was concerned that a direct addition to the fish tank might be a problem but it sounds like it's not based on what you've done in the past. I suppose salting at higher levels for disease might still be an issue but only one way to find out :dontknow: .

Cheers


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PostPosted: Jul 23rd, '18, 17:21 
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Australian native fish are generally pretty salt tolerant Scotty... so I may have gotten away with rash behaviour. Anyway, my sump is full of fish too, because I ignored sensible advice on here about stocking rates when I started out :D So I can't use it as an alternative.

We look forward to some photos of plants soon Clasta... and you'll be eating fish for dinner before you know it.

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PostPosted: Jul 23rd, '18, 20:31 
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Hey Clasta - need to start saving for the Mark-II system.... so don't waste money on all the aquarium shop stuff - it is designed to make very large profits for companies from products that are very cheap to buy/manufacture in bulk.

Go with the basics and look to Amazon, Walmart, Lowes etc
As Scotty notes pure pool salt or bulk sea salt are usually cost effective at the 1-5kg level (2-10 pounds)

The seaweed extract you often read here is Seasol and Powerfeed *but* it is not available in the US.
I think maxi crop make a version *but* be very careful as many are N & P loaded for soil gardening.
You do not want anything that says "added N / P" . Mostly you want your N and P to be low 3% or so.
definitely not 10-15% and definitely stay away from the inorganic powder (dissovable) fertilizers.

Scotty has mentioned the US brand liquid seaweed you need in other posts in pasts...
I did a quick Amazon and found things like
GSplants Liquid Kelp Organic Seaweed Fertilizer
Neptune's Harvest SW118 0-0-1
Maxicrop 0-0-1 Liquid Seaweed.
For guide Seasol for example is 0.1% N, 0.01% P and 1.8% K plus has B,Ca,Co,Fe,Mg,Mn,Mo and low traces of other essentials. However you will need a little bit of N & P over time while fish are young - ideally not too much as urea - and not while still trying to cycle and stabilise the system. We have a variant that has afew % of N & P but not too much.

Know it sounds contradictory but this is just the way it goes...You mostly find that too much of one thing is not so great, so often have to mix it around a bit depending on situation and system. Your 0-0-1 mixes will probably need a bit of P added.


For fish food look around for bulk pellets in a 5-10kg (10-20 pounds) level.
Will be much more cost effective in the long run.
Get it from a large pond/fish farm or aquaculture seller rather than a home pond/aquarium or pet store.
Not sure about tilapia as they are banned here in Aust, but I suspect 30-40% protein for growth, 30% is pretty OK for goldfish etc and you may get some with a decent plant based component, though often grains/wheat etc. Stay well away from the fancy colored stuff - go for pellets.

Skretting is the high end stuff - https://www.skretting.com/en-US/species/tilapia/
but if you are going to spend up anywhere -> quality food is where you will get best bang for your $
you fish will grow to plate size faster and will generally be healthy with few additives etc.

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PostPosted: Jul 24th, '18, 08:56 
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Update time. I lost power again last night and lost about 30 gallons of water :cry:
Going to break out my psu (to prevent the system from stopping)I had tucked away.
The ammonia looks like it’s withering away but now I have nitrites coming back and in spades. The only thing different I did was give the fish one pinch of flakes last night and put a 2*2” piece of seaweed in the tank last night. They all seem to be alive though


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PostPosted: Jul 24th, '18, 08:59 
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I put the shade on the east and south side as that’s where the sun rises. Deflects the direct solar beams. Does anyone have thoughts on this addition?


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PostPosted: Jul 24th, '18, 17:27 
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The shadecloth will make a difference... fish likely to be happier.

But, if that nitrite reading on the dipstick is accurate, your fish will be unhappy. Not sure if you have read up on cycling as yet - but a likely explanation is that the ammonia has now all been converted to nitrite (hence zero ammonia reading). This would be because you have enough bacteria to do the first part of the conversion - from ammonia to nitrite. But not yet enough bacteria (different sort) to convert the nitrite to nitrate.

Remember that ammonia and nitrite are toxic to fish in high levels while nitrate isn't (or not unless it's very high). At this point, when you seem to be partially cycled, feeding the fish will only result in more nitrite. The relevant bacteria already have plenty of nitrite to "eat" and will be multiplying as fast as they can. The nitrite levels will eventually drop. Don't worry about the ammonia processing bacteria... they can go a few days without being "fed" - as can your fish.

Try to avoid the temptation to feed your fish or add anything to your water other than salt (if still needed) until you get good test results.

You could consider doing a partial water change, as previously explained... (particularly if the nitrite level isn't dropping tomorrow.) Don't change it all at once again!

If you want to feed your plants, and aren't absolutely sure that what you're using is OK, you can always use a foliar spray.

If the nitrite continues to rise and the fish look sick, come back here for further advice.

Post nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, pH and temperature here daily and people more expert on cycling than me will give advice on when to start feeding again and when you are fully cycled.

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PostPosted: Jul 24th, '18, 20:37 
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> but now I have nitrites coming back and in spades

might be the quality of the tests. I would definitely keep off the regular feeding until you can get consistent lower nitrites readings. Just small amounts every couple days, ideally only when/if your tests are low.
These strips can be inaccurate, equally over as under.

It is unlikely that the fish themselves can cause fluctuations over short periods.
The other risk might be your top-up water (chloramines). Leave some in a bucket for 24-48 hours and test that.
Plant food will also cause a spike (why you have to be very careful what you use)

The ammonia looks OK - yellow is good green is bad.
Just keep testing everything until it is consistent yellow and light pink/cream.
and try and keep your system as untouched as you can.

It sux, but will all be history in a couple of weeks/month.

> If you want to feed your plants, and aren't absolutely sure that what you're using is OK, you can always use a foliar spray.
+1 Put it on the plants not in the system/fish tank.

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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '18, 06:07 
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Everything is looking spectacular, I really need to feed my fish. They look hungry!!

EDIT/ I put a pinch of the flakes in. They didn’t even jump at the site of food. The water has turned green and there is a bunch of algae on the sidewalls of the tank. The water looks like it is at 92 degrees F according to thermometer I have. All of the salt is in the sump.


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PostPosted: Jul 27th, '18, 21:21 
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> Everything is looking spectacular, I really need to feed my fish. They look hungry!!
> EDIT/ I put a pinch of the flakes in. They didn’t even jump at the site of food.

keep the feed limited till things are well over. Small amounts. Not long to go now.

> The water has turned green and there is a bunch of algae on the sidewalls of the tank.
> The water looks like it is at 92 degrees F according to thermometer I have. All of the salt is in the sump.

pretty common outcome in a new system. Algae is triggered by ammonia and nitrates in a system.
Just keep your pump running and system circulating. If the fish are hungry they might nibble on some of it.

Your chemistry looks OK. Need to see that for a few days in a row.

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PostPosted: Jul 28th, '18, 06:26 
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UPDATE. Its been 3 days since I last posted. In those 3 days I tested the water for nitrites nitrates and ammonia. The tests show a consistent positive result. Yellow ammonia reading and white to pinkish white on the nitrite reading. I fed them yesterday and will hold off feeding until tomorrow when I see the tank and system holding it’s own in the ammonia conversion and nitrate usage. I added more plant fertilizer today, all of the plant have germinated and already seeing beautiful growth. A few crops are showing black and brown ridges which I can only assume is the direct sunlight they’re exposed to. Will be looking for ways to setup shade for the hottest parts of the day. Maybe I’ll make something that shades all of the crops in between those hours.


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PostPosted: Jul 28th, '18, 10:03 
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Sounds good Clasta, moving towards a positive outcome for you and the fish.

IMO when doing the plant feeding water the plants directly, don't add to the system.
The plants need nutrients not the fish.
My preferred is to use half recommended dose and a watering can topped up with fish tank/sump water.
Then just water regularly direct on the bed. less hassle than foliar and most nutrients stay within the plant root zone.

what are the seed sprouts you have growing ?

As with all vegies you need a setup that is easy to change each season.
Don't go too shaded on the plants - 25-50% shadecloth just to prevent burning.
Or a piece of the white green house type material.


what product/s are you using for the plants ?

just water/fertilise once a week should be heaps - and every 2-4 weeks once system gets established..
always test a day or 2 later to make sure you are not creating any ammonia or nitirite spikes.
Don't focus too much on building up nitrates - many systems run on very low levels, and getting high nitrate readings is not necessarily a good thing. You just want to make sure there is always a small amount of nitrate in the system and that indicates the plants have as much as they need.

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