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aquaponics in Nashville, TN


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I've built it!

I used 1 IBC container.

The top 1/3 of the IBC container was cut and flipped. I filled it with red lava rocks on the bottom half and Hydroton on the top half. After doing more research, I realized more grow bed volume was needed. I made a frame out of some thick cedar and posts and tossed in a pond liner. I used river pebbles on the top half to go the cheaper route.

I have just about a 1 to 1 ratio going.

The pump is a 550-GPH from Lowes.

I have it on a cinder block in case something happens and it will not drain the whole tank. Is it bad that it is not on the bottom?

I split the pvc from the pump and have a 3/4" pvc about 3 ft long with many holes drilled in the side to give the tank a current.

I used Affnan's website to help with the bell siphon and it works great. Each bed drain has a homemade venturi similar to Affnan's. I may be able to avoid an air pump, but I have an Air Pump AIR-8000: For aquariums up to 170 gallons.

I got 9 Koi from a friend in the neighborhood. There are 4 that are about 6 inches and the rest are about 4 inches. Is that enough fish?

Also, is there a recommended food that would be more organic? The stuff from Lowes, Smart Pond Premium Fish Food, has some crazy ingredients. I need a duckweed tank I guess.

I posted some pictures to my profile.

This site has been a great resource.

So, 3 questions...

Is it bad that the pump is not on the bottom?

Would 9 Koi enough for 625 Liters?

Is there a good organic food to buy?

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Hi Surewood,

Welcome to APHQ.

You certainly did build it! Congratulations on a fine first effort.

Is it bad that the pump is not on the bottom?

It's better that it be on the bottom so that it picks up all of the fish poop and uneaten food and deposits it in the grow beds.

Would 9 Koi enough for 625 Liters?

Unless you're stuck on Koi, I'd be looking at something that you can eat. Kellen would be better equipped to advise you on species best suited to Tennessee......and how many you could safely carry in a system of that size.

Is there a good organic food to buy?

Organic fish food is hard to come by.....but this is really another one for our US friends to respond to.

Gary

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No sump , No Bio filter? No need for organic food for the fish as I really can't picture you eating Koi .. As you only really need the ammonia from the Fish that they create from there waste to complete nitrification cycle. I have a question how are you planing on dealing with the solids that the fish produce? As this will build up over time and sooner or later you will be forced to clean it out of your system.

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Hi Pugo,

No sump , No Bio filter? No need for organic food for the fish as I really can't picture you eating Koi .. As you only really need the ammonia from the Fish that they create from there waste to complete nitrification cycle. I have a question how are you planing on dealing with the solids that the fish produce? As this will build up over time and sooner or later you will be forced to clean it out of your system.

Surewood's system is a basic flood and drain unit in which the grow beds capture and mineralise the solids......and faciltate nitrification.

The pump is located in the fish tank.

Like any other multi-function device, the basic flood and drain grow bed involves some compromises......like a light stocking density, a disciplined approach to feeding and regular grow bed cleaning.

Water should be tested at regular intervals.....and the system managed based on the results.

Gary

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Hi Surewood,

First off, welcome to APHQ! Great to have you with us.

As far as fish selections go, if you are just looking for fish to provide nutrients for your system and don't plan on eating the fish, Koi would be a perfectly fine selection for you (you could eat the koi if you wanted to as they're just fancy colored carp, but I'd pass...hehe). As far as fish for the table, on the native side, Bluegill (BG) would work well as would trout if you can keep water temps low enough and dissolved oxygen (DO) high enough in the summer months (could be a challenge in your area). Yellow perch would be a possibility as well, but they do have some management requirements, though nothing major. Tilapia would be a good choice as a non-native. They are extremely fast growers (single growing season from egg to plate), are far more tolerant to poor water quality conditions than most of our natives (gives good insurance if something were to happen to the system temporarily), and they are extremely easy to manage. However, they require reasonably warm water in the winter months, so plans have to be made to deal with that.

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I'm just getting the system started with Koi. They were from a friend's pond in the neighborhood and free.

I'm building a greenhouse right now to put the whole system in. It's similar to an earthship so it should stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

I was worried about the fish food thinking that the plants will absorb the chemicals in the fish food.

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