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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '18, 08:50 
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I've read a little bit on, fish surfacing to the top of water and different reasons why they might. I feel like this is a pretty urgent concern so i felt compelled to come here first. The concern, my blue tilapia i've had for about a week have been rising to the surface grabbing at the little bubbles my trickle system makes, but it seems odd. They are also swimming through the little jet the siphon makes when its draining into the aquarium. Does anyone know what this may be the cause of? I have a video of whats going on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VelglO ... e=youtu.be


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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '18, 14:43 
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Looks like you probably have plenty of oxygen in the water unless the water temp is really high. Have you tested the water for Ammonia and nitrites? Here are some thoughts as to why you are seeing this -

1. If the fish were exposed to high nitrites or ammonia earlier, they may have gill damage that's causing them to try getting to where there is more aeration.

2. The flow rate may be too high for fish this size.

3. The fish actually enjoy doing this and they aren't having any troubles.

4. The bubbles give them a place to hide so they feel safer there.

I think it's probably number 3 or 4 but it could be any of these or none of them. What have your ammonia and nitrite been up to?


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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '18, 22:39 
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One last suggestion - Shut the water off for a few minutes and watch what they do - might tell you something about what's going on, or it might not but it's worth a shot. Remember to start it back up when you're done.


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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '18, 10:32 
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Ah, thank you for the quick response. I do know that here in Florida the highs in temperature get to around 90+ degrees at this time of year.
Maybe it would be worth it to dig up some change for a thermometer to check the water temperature. I did read however that with warmer water, it holds less oxygen, but on the other hand I've read that tilapia are hardy fish and can withstand stress easier than other fish.
Tomorrow i will take a picture of the 5 in 1 strip test that i have, showing the amount of nitrates etc. in my system. I'm a little color blind so maybe posting a picture of the strip results could give a better demonstration of what I've got.


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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '18, 10:35 
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Also, to your question about nitrates. I just started this system, so any nitrates in the system would be that from the fish themselves. its been about a week since ive put the fish in. so i'm not sure if that's enough time for them to get the sickness from their own poop, I may be completely wrong.


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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '18, 12:27 
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As Scotty says, ammonia and nitrites may be the problem. NitrAtes are unlikely to have had time to build up as yet and are relatively well tolerated anyway.

Was your system cycled before you added the fish? If not, stop feeding the fish and test water as soon as you can. If nitrite or ammonia is in toxic range, do a water change with dechlorinated water.

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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '18, 20:31 
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I thought the whole point of aquaponics was for the plants to use up the nitrites as food. Perhaps my water hasn’t run long enough for it to build up the good bacteria that breaks down and converts the ammonia. I just planted the seeds in all beds about 5 days ago. They are germinating and I see beautiful growth in the beds. Here is a picture of what I have in the water.

Update. Apparently the forum won’t let me upload pictures from my iPhone because they are “too big”.

There’s about 2-3 ppm nitrites in the water currently


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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '18, 20:59 
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The plants use up the nitrAtes. Yes... you need bacteria to convert the ammonia produced by the fish to nitrites (with an i). Then other bacteria convert nitrites to nitrates. Do a search on this forum on cycling your system.

It takes a week or two for the system to cycle, depending on temperature. Most people cycle before they add fish. You can do it with fish but need to be careful.

I'm assuming you didn't cycle your system and have been feeding the fish from the start.

Nitrites of 2 are a bit high but I think most fish will survive that.

Best stop feeding now. The fish will be fine without food for a few days if needed.

I believe that salting your water will help. And/or do a big water change.

What is your ammonia level? It can also be toxic, depending on temperature. Ammonia tends to spike before nitrites.

Just had a look at your video. Looks unlikely that oxygen is your problem. You have a lot of water turnover and movement.

They're only little fingerlings but how many do you have? Have you calculated your stocking density based on volume of wet media?

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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '18, 22:09 
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Ok, so I had my system cycling for about a week or so but then, we had a power outage recently so my sump pump did not flick back on via the float switch I have installed resulting in an overflow and ultimately a loss of all the water I treated and dechlorinated. Since, I have filled back up and dechlorinated, oddly enough I didn’t have to do anything to the ph or hardness as I had to before.

As soon as I had the chlorine out of the water I immediately put the fish in along with the duck weed that I had. I would feed the fish once a day with some fry food that contains proteins and fats.

This morning I walked out and turned off the sump pump for a small period of time, maybe 60 seconds, as the sump fills quickly. When the trickle system stops and I can look through the still water and see the fish at the bottom( spread out). It didn’t seem like they were very livley, so I stuck my hand in to warrant some movement. To my relief, they started moving around but I’m afraid the toxicity may be affecting them. I don’t want to use a solution to clean the water, as i would expect that to break the current cycle. Also, I don’t have a tester to test for ammonia levels atm.

I could take the fish out with my little net like I’ve done before and fill up with tap water, adding dechlorinating solution. The water is relatively 80 degrees? I’m guessing by the way it feels. It’s not hot but it’s not cold. A little cooler than Luke.

What options do I have?


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PostPosted: Jul 19th, '18, 22:49 
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You may have killed your bacteria when you put chlorinated water in the system after the first week. But there must be some there again already because at least some ammonia has already been converted to nitrite.

Suggest investing in a test kit that includes ammonia. Ammonia is more of a problem in warmer water... a search will find tables showing what levels are toxic at what temps.

It's late at night here in Australia so I can only repeat earlier advice in brief.

Stop feeding.
Do a partial water change each day until levels drop.
Add salt.

Suggest taking some time to read the many posts on the forum about cycling. And do a search or wait for one of the experts to chime in on best salting level but I'm thinking starting with 2 ppt. I have my tank salted to that level most of the time anyway. Not sure about tilapia but most fish don't mind it and plants are ok with it too - aside from strawberries.

You can replace about 20% of your water volume with chlorinated tap water daily without harming fish or bacteria. If you fill up the whole system with fresh chlorinated water, you'll probably kill your bacteria again.

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PostPosted: Jul 20th, '18, 01:50 
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You don't seem to have mentioned the volume of the fish tank or the number of fish.
guess from video it is 2/3 to half an IBC - so around 500-700 litres.


>> Update. Apparently the forum won’t let me upload pictures from my iPhone because they are “too big”.

info here -> viewforum.php?f=4


>> Nitrites of 2 are a bit high but I think most fish will survive that.
>> there's about 2-3 ppm

problem is the combination of ammonia/nitrites & warm water temps.
probably pH of the water as well - Clasta doesn't say what these are so hard to resolve.

this is a classic case of fish in a uncycled system - poor fish.
(#1 on scottys list)


Clasta to get through this you need to be able to reliably provide ongoing information on:

fish tank volume, type and volume of media & number fish
ammonia
nitrites
nitrates
pH
water temp

this will take a couple weeks to resolve...there are lots of posts here about cycling and issues when it is not done properly.
there is also no quick or magic solution.
keep the system circulating 24/7 and as much air as you can.
salt the system
don't feed the fish
don't muck around with the water - and don't add magic solutions from aquarium shops etc.
water changes if you have to but unless you keep things stable it will take longer to resolve.
[D.Dave has already told you this]

if you have capacity for additional storage then consider getting a second tank of water going.
reduce #fish and/or use it to stabilize water for the system.

>> a search will find tables showing what levels are toxic at what temps.
http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/infor ... nd-charts/

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PostPosted: Jul 20th, '18, 02:22 
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Ok, I apologize as I work during the day and am replying over my lunch break. I have about 24, 1 inch long blue tilapia. I’m a first timer so it’s hard to say what capacity my system is.

I do know that I am using 2/3 lava rock 1/3 pea gravel which may or may not have limestone.
The amount of water I will say is approx 250 gal or more let’s just say the system has a capacity of 1000 Liters for ease sake.
The system probably turns over every 30 minutes. As I am using a 900 gph pump for the send from the aquarium to all 5 beds and I have another pump I’m using for the sump which is a 1250 gph with a float switch.
I literally just wanted to stop procrastinating on the whole thing, so I just started a month ago and read up on forums and watched YouTube videos to get a clearer vision. I didn’t draw anything up, I just went with my gut.
As for the fish, bad on me, but no, I did not cycle the system nor did I know of this when I put them in. Lack of research is my main downfall at this point.
What Does adding salt to the system do. I assume it reacts with the ammonia?


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PostPosted: Jul 20th, '18, 04:07 
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Adding salt (sodium chloride (NaCl)) at 1 Part per thousand (so basically 1gm per 1000mls of system volume) helps the fish build a slime coat and helps them with stress, it also helps prevent damage from the nitrite ion (NO2) so it's critical that you get your system salted ASAP. Use salt that is not iodized and also doesn't have any anti-caking agents.


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PostPosted: Jul 20th, '18, 04:22 
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Have you ever heard of anyone using pink Himalayan salt?

Also is that 1 gram to 1 liter?


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PostPosted: Jul 20th, '18, 06:57 
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clasta33428 wrote:
Have you ever heard of anyone using pink Himalayan salt?

Also is that 1 gram to 1 liter?
Yes. So that's 1 kg of salt if your system is 1000 L.

Never heard of anyone using pink Himalayan salt. Would be too expensive in Australia. I use cheap sea salt from the supermarket. As above, use plain salt without additives.

No apologies needed... it's hard not to rush ahead when the aquaponics bug bites.

From your video, I'm guessing you have about 400 to 500 L of wet media. 2 x 200 L barrels cut in half but not all of that is wet. Your other grow bed looks quite shallow in the video... probably another 150 L. That should be enough to raise 24 tilapia to eating size.

Not sure why you have two pumps. Most of us operate with one in the fish tank - or sump if we have one. Maybe post a diagram of your system so we can understand how it works.

Limestone in your media might be a problem - high pH and iron deficiency in your plants. Put some in a glass of vinegar and see what happens... search the forum for more info on that one.

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