Aquaponics Again

mixing the water to not shock the fish

It’s been almost three weeks since I moved the fry out of the aquarium and into the growout tank.  I’m disappointed in how small they are, but not very surprised.  I’m sure that they are genetically stunted (lots of inbreeding in the tiny pond that they came from), and several weeks of cold (for Tilapia) weather in the very critical first two months of their lives also stunted their growth.

Now that they are in the growout system, they are growing again.  I am pumping the water from the tank into the biofilter through about 30 feet of garden hose that gets direct sunlight from about 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, so that heats the water.  I rigged clear plastic sheets over both plant grow beds and the fish tank so that the heat doesn’t escape.  Before too long I will have to take the plastic off and put shadecloth on as the weather gets hotter.

Unfortunately, as of two weeks in the system, those little fishies aren’t producing enough waste to register ANY ammonia in the water!  They have to grow some more before the ammonia level spikes, which will allow the first bacteria to flourish, at which point the nitrite level will spike.  Then the second bacteria will flourish and convert the nitrite to nitrate… and THEN I can introduce plants into the system.

So, overall, things are going slower than I had hoped, but going well.  Earlier this week the siphon that moves water from the biofilter into plant bed #1 stopped working and I lost a lot of water when the barrel overflowed for who knows how long!  The water level in the fish tank got very low because the water was being pumped out but nothing was coming back in.  The water pump was at the bottom of the fish tank, but I have now raised it several inches so that if something like that happens again the pump will quit before the fish are out of water.

Grow, fishies, grow!  I’m tired of grinding fish food pellets!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Joanna on January 22, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    No witty comments or pithy remarks today…but I loved all the photos of Lisbeth & the fish. GO FISH! Grow, Grow, Grow!!!

  2. Keep at it Wes!!! I told a bunch of people this weekend about how we are going to do outdoor education and I promoted our “growing” aquaponics system. You’ll figure it all out, this just gives you more experience! 🙂
    I look forward to helping.

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