Aquaponics Adventure Mark II part III

Aquaponics May 13th, 2008

This is a continuation of the aquaponics adventure from part II.

It’s been a couple of weeks. We’ve had the system going, and we’re waiting for the bacteria to establish themselves. We know the system is going (“cycled”) when we see this:

That is, Ammonia (right) Zero, Nitrite (middle) Zero, Nitrate (left) > 0. This means the fish excretion Ammonia is being converted to Nitrate! It’s cycled.

But it’s not all plain sailing from here. Fish health is a major consideration, and here I was thinking my system was chugging along smoothly and I post in a thread on the BYAP ForumsI forgot to feed them this morn. Looks like they took it out on this little guy. I’ve entitled this picture “Look ma, no tail!” Watching him swim is funny.“:

And someone wrote back with “It is bacteria not fish attack (fin rot) if i see well on the pic.
Treat with salt quick before it goes further.

This guy ended up dying. I have treated my system with salts and have even built a hospital tank. But I’ve lost about 5 fish out of 74…

Here is another one that died. Notice the blood on the fins – once again, some sort of fungal/bacterial infection:

With these problems, it’s not good enough to treat the fish and hope it goes away, you have to find out the cause. I think water quality, low water hardness, and my fish feed being a couple of months out of date contributed to the problem. Apparently as fish food ages it loses it’s vitamin content. I’m pretty sure I’ve got the water conditions right, and I’ve bought more food, so hopefully the cause is no longer a cause.

However, there is this guy. He is currently in the hospital tank – I’m not sure whats happened to him, it doesn’t look the same as the fungal problems, I think it might actually just be because he’s the little guy and has been attacked by the other fish. I’ll report on his progress next post:

Anyway, the other end of it is the plants. So here is a quick update on their progress.

Here’s some spring onions and lettuce I planted on 5/4/08

Here they are a month later on 04/05/08:

This is actually pretty slow growing for an aquaponics system. And I have a few suspicions as to why – firstly, notice that in both shots the plants are in shade. I don’t think the vegies are getting enough sun, they need at least 6 hours a day and I suspect they’re not getting this. Secondly, fish provide Nitrate, but they can’t provide Iron, Manganese, Potassium, Calcium and all the other trace minerals needed by plants to grow. So I need to add something else – in this case I’ve added a splash of Seasol, and a tablespoon of Iron Chelate. I’m going to put a reflective surface up the back there to reflect a little more light onto the plants. That should fix the light problems, and I reckon the nutrient problems are an easy fix, so hopefully in the next month we’ll see much better growth.

Here’s a final pic of my fish getting a tasty treat of worms from my worm farm. Notice how clear the water is compared with part II – the socks have done their job:

One Response to “Aquaponics Adventure Mark II part III”

  1. A Thought Adrift » Blog Archive » Aquaponics Adventure Mark II part IV Says:

    […] is a continuation of my photo blog of my aquaponics project. See part III to get up to speed on the story so […]