I set up and started up my AP sys in Sept this year. I'm in Mesa, AZ (Phoenix area). 2 totes for fish (about 400 gallons - totes are linked together) and 4 grow boxes with the Hydroton type media. I've gone through the whole range of water problems and seem to have worked through most of them (chemically). Current Problem is with water temperature. My tilapia are dying off one by one and I only have a few left. They really have not grown much since I got them (1-2"). They never have been very hungry and I'm sure that was because of the chemistry issues and now the temperature. I have a solar water panel that warms the system when sun is shining and a small (300 w) aquarium heater and I have foam insulated the fish tanks, but I cant seem to keep up with the heat loss. Water temp hovers around 50 and the fish don't really seem to move around much or eat unless it's above 60. As a result, the garden side is suffering as well. I suppose that the fish are not producing waste for the plants to feed on, so the plants just wont grow. Daytime temps have been nice this winter (50-70) and sun is bright and full. Just cant seem to hit a stride with this system. I do not want to spend a fortune on heating the system. I'm not going to replace the fish until about March when the nighttime temps go up a bit. Is there something I can put in the system to feed the plants that won't kill the rest of the fish or foul the system for future fish repopulation?
Hi, I'm Bob, and new to the site as well as new to the world of aquaponics. I just designed, built, and started up my backyard AP system. I based it on 3 - 275 gallon IBC totes. I have 4 - 75 gallon grow beds filled with clay growing media and 2 - 200 gallon fish tanks (piped together as one). I'm afraid that in my excitement to get it all up and running, I jumped the gun in adding fish to my system. I had it running about a week and I couldn't stand it - I added fish. I did use some "seed" water (water from my friends established AP system) but I think that I have not got the proper bio components balanced and functioning properly yet. So the fish are stressing - gulping air. I have the water being oxygenated well with waterfall and air stones. It is my basic understanding that fish will also gulp air when the water chemistry is off, not just when water is not well oxygenated. I probably do not have enough plants going either to support the cycle. I do not have a specific filter (bio or mechanical) other than the grow beds and the strainer on the pump. I thought that these systems did not necessarily need special filtration - that the grow beds would provide that. Yesterday evening I did a partial water change (about 20%) and added some bottled pond bacteria product. This morning the fish are not gulping but they still seem sluggish and not that excited about eating. Any thoughts out there? Thanks, Bob Glad to be here!