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PostPosted: May 14th, '20, 07:29 
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Hi All,
Newbie here. I've read a few threads and appreciate the info that has helped me get this far. This is my first attempt at a system. I've attached a picture (I hope), but in case it doesn't attach, :twisted: it is a 275 gallon IPC tank for the fish and 4 55-gallon barrel halves for the plants. I'm using a 330 gph pump and have filled it with well water. Currently have no chlorine in the water, and PH is about 8.5. I added lava rock for the plant base, which I'm guessing is what made the PH so high. I added 3 goldfish about 2 days ago and they seem fine. I have access to tilapia in the local canals. I can cast net as much tilapia as I need to get the system started. So my question is - what's next? Do I go ahead and add some fish to help bring down the PH? Do I wait on the fish bring down the PH first? I might need to add some more lava rock but I'm not sure how much. Where should the water level be relative to the top of the lava rock? Will the fish be OK without plants for a time while I'm working on the PH?


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PostPosted: May 14th, '20, 23:42 
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I would keep the water 1 - 2" below the top of the rocks and add plants before fish. I get it, everyone wants to add fish as soon as they have water. But plants and the nitrogen cycle are what keep the fish alive.

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PostPosted: May 19th, '20, 07:43 
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Thanks, dstjohn99. I have added the plants. I thought the PH was too high for the plants, but it sounds like they will be fine until it comes down.


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PostPosted: May 20th, '20, 00:29 
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8.5 is pretty high but the plants will be OK - you'll have to spray apply some form of iron directly to the plants or use EDDHA iron chelate added to the system water. Your water might have a lot of calcium carbonate since you're in Florida. Check the pH of your top up water right when it comes out of the tap and then again the next day (sometimes the pH goes up after the water sits). Usually volcanic rock isn't a problem.

Really it's the bacteria growing on your media that do most of the neutralization for the fish since the fish are most sensitive to nitrite and ammonia. The plants use the nitrates which allows the process to continue.

Hopefully your system is cycled and the bacteria are doing their job but keep tabs on your nitrite and ammonia. Adjust your feeding if either of these becomes an issue. Fish can do without eating for weeks if necessary (you won't need to go this long between feedings). There is a chart here for ammonia toxicity (along with nitrogen cycle and nutrient availability) - http://ibcofaquaponics.com/information/tables-and-charts/


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