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PostPosted: Sep 14th, '08, 21:22 
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thanks for the info TCL
so these things are not as good as they look?
seemed like a good idea

a dealer will rarely disclose a manufacturer's lines of contact
pity you don't have that info any more

there is always the chance that the manufacturer has improved his product

that is why I will always try to find the manufacturer's website

what do you use now for testing?

frank


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PostPosted: Sep 14th, '08, 21:40 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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I've always used the API freshwater master test kit. It uses test tubes and drops. It has tests for pH, pH high range, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. Before I got into AP I tried a few different ways of testing pH in my Hyrdoponic stuff. I had pH test strips but they seem unreliable other than telling me if the pH of something is outrageously high or extremely low. Not able to tell me much if the pH range is between 5 and 8. So I went and got a pH tester, not $$ and it seemed to work ok for a few weeks. Then it quit working even when I was storing it according to instructions and using the proper buffer solution to calibrate it and all that. The more expensive ones might have replaceable probes and such but they also usually require paying for those replacements regularly as well as buying the cleaning solutions, storage solutions, multiple calibration solutions. Suddenly something that was supposed to save money in the long run seemed to cost twice as much in expendable supplies as using the drops.

Drawback I've found with drops, if your water is tinted some color, it makes being certain about a reading quite difficult.

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PostPosted: Sep 18th, '08, 09:08 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Well, got the aquarium system warmed up (at least for the daytime) but the fish just arn't getting it on. Both females look a bit beaten up and I finally take pitty on them and stick the dividers back in the tank to separate the fish again.

Perhaps I need to contact Janet and see if she has any new tips for successful controlled tilapia breeding.

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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '08, 22:39 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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I might need to re-arrange things for the winter. (the fish room might need to turn into a real bedroom.) So, if I were to incorporate the aquarium out into the main system, does anyone have any good ideas for going about that?

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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '08, 22:47 
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Monya was trying to sell a racked-up set of aquariums at one point, with overflows all tied together.

Do you mean putting the aquaria outside? Maybe have a little pump in the sump for the big system, pumping up to the aquaria and just overflowing that back down to the sump, that would be pretty easy. The main beds would be the filter for your breeding aquaria. It would be hard to get the water up to 86 degrees in the Winter.

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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '08, 23:01 
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Is it possible to have a gap under the divider that lets them fertilize the stuff without actually running into each other? Then maybe have some screening that the babies can get through but not the Mom. I have had handfuls of babies just happen, that end up in the sump, maybe it would be enough to engineer a kind of "baby catcher" like that.

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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '08, 23:23 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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I'm thinking that maybe the aquarium and it's buckets would go against the garage wall outside by the main system. The main system has no sump, the big tank is in ground and level fluctuates. The trickier part is trying to get filtered water up to the aquarium rather than just pulling water out of the main fish tank.

I suppose if I want filtered water to go though the aquarium, I need to place the aquarium under the edge of the nursery bed (being the highest bed) and let the nursery bed auto siphon into the aquarium which could then overflow to the drain under the next bed over. I'm just not sure if the aqarium overflows can handle the rate of flow the siphon would produce. Would probably need to upgrade the no holes overflow to 1.5" or something.

I don't think I'll be doing any breeding over winter which is why I've been trying to get some little ones now to have ready as fingerlings come spring.

My goal for the main system temp over the coldest nights is simply to keep the fish alive. Providing I put greenhouse film over the shade structures and some sort of protection over the two beds not currently under a structure, I should be able to manage to keep the water above 55 F here. I won't be messing with keeping anything above 80 unless I work out some really nifty inexpensive solar set up.

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PostPosted: Sep 24th, '08, 23:37 
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The first aquarium could be a solids settling tank, or have filtering material in it, overflowing to the others? Or the pump could be in a standpipe inside a bucket in the fish tank with holes and gravel (or maybe just netting) in it?

A counterflow heat exchanger might help to keep the two systems at different temps but still allow you to exchange water between them.

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PostPosted: Sep 25th, '08, 08:09 
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I think it will be a KISS sort of set up. If I can reasonably set the aquarium in a position where it gets the outflow from a growbed, then I can let it overflow to the main tank. Or I might have to set up a small grow bed to catch the solids from the pump and feed the aquarium with the outflow from that. I just have to figure out where best to put it physically out there.

Chances are, it will be easier to keep the aquarium warm simply by tying it into the main system since our ground temp and the big system water temp will stay warmer than anything up in the air on the cold nights.

In any case, the move needs to reduce power use, consolidate resources and simplify my life.

The indoor system will probably reduce to the small aquarium for keeping some fry and I'll probably keep the buckets hooked up to it so I can grow a little lettuce over the heat of the summer.

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PostPosted: Sep 25th, '08, 10:06 
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I love the fact that your breeding wall is seperate from the big system. And I know you make good use of space so I'll just throw out a thought, How about a little low budget leanto or 4x8 greenhouse against the house or possibly against that shed and have a painted black barrel of water for the sun to help keep it warm or possibly as a sump and aquarium heaters and airators just a thought, it could even have the 4" pvc grow tubes hanging along the wall and grow lettice and strawberrys. If you could get some plastic pellets or beads instead of gravel so as not to cool the system while recirculating. You may be able to get the bedroom without overhauling your all your systems.

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PostPosted: Sep 25th, '08, 10:52 
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It wouldn't be an overhaul, more like a plug in. I understand the urge for a separate system but then it requires separate pumping, air, backup etc.

I fear that a small system (like the barrel system or an aquarium system with more outdoor components) will have far greater temperature fluctuations. The Barrel system gets water well up into the 90s F on a hot sunny day and yet can fall into the 70 that night.

I don't think I've seen the big system get water temps above 86 F even on the hottest day and lately has not fallen below 78 F overnight even with the cooler days and nights we have been having lately.

I'm thinking about just re-working the quarantine area of my current system anyway. Perhaps I can arrange it so that I can have both the aquarium and quarantine tank in an area where I can isolate them if desired or have them running with the main system.

The main point of having the aquarium is so that we can see the fish for breeding. This really wasn't working indoors since the temps we never really warm enough long enough. It might be getting too late for this year but if the aquarium is hooked up with the main system, It can get warm enough without electric heating and we can still watch the fish in the aquarium.

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PostPosted: Dec 4th, '08, 22:49 
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Been a while since I checked in on this thread or posted any updates.
The indoor aquarium system now only consists of the small aquarium, the 5 bucket beds and a couple troughs for houseplants. The sump is outside the window and I have the passive drain heater I can open up when the sun is hitting the coil.

Only one lonely little tilipa left in that system. I think he is a male and that the other two I used to have in there were female. One of em managed to go for a ride through one of the no holes overflow pipes and expired on the gravel of the bucket. I hadn't thought they could get into the pipes but I've since improved the protection. The other female I think must have been too stressed out by the male's complete attention and passed away from something that looked like an illness. So now that system is running on one lonely 3-4" tilapia.

The temps in that system have been staying between 68 and 74. I do have one small 25w heater in the aquarium and on sunny days I open the passive drain heater for a few hours in the afternoon. The sump barrel has been partially covered up with bubble wrap which has helped keep the temperature up on cold nights.

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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '09, 10:10 
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Update.

Over part of the winter the small aquarium system got to house the 5 smallest catfish from the new purchases. Then when they got too big to stay in the 10 gallon tank, that system went empty for a while till it got warm enough for the tilapia to breed. At that point, I caught some fry to go in the small aquarium.

At this point most of the small tilapia in that small aquarium are around the pumpkin seed size (I have graded out the biggest ones and moved them to a cage out in the big tank.)

So I have the big aquarium outside hooked up to the big system and it has lots of pumpkin seed and larger size tilapia. The 2+ inch tilapia are in a small cage in the big tank.

The duckweed system is acting as the breeding tank with 12 adult tilapia and who knows how many babies of all different sizes. I'll have to sort them out soon. I've found that my chickens love seed size tilapia, what a tasty wiggly snack.

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PostPosted: Aug 1st, '09, 09:39 
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Was having some deaths of the little fish in the aquarium. Unexplained as water quality was ok. Then I realized that the pump had been running all the time instead of intermittently. Perhaps I simply wore the little guys out dealing with constant current. Put the timer back in operation but there were still fish dieing for over a week after switching and upping the feed since some looked like they were dieing of hunger. Of course with the increased feed and decreased pumping times, the water quality did start to suffer as some solids were building up in the aquarium. But since we are going to be going out of town, we decided that those little fish should become chicken food. The aquarium is now fish free till we get back home. Harvested all the lettuce and planted more seed so hopefully the lack of fish won't be a problem for a few weeks.

Current nitrate reading, 40 ppm

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PostPosted: Aug 1st, '09, 11:14 
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TCL is the bedroom re deployment in some way telling us something.. :wink:
Or is it just my scorpio trait just working overtime?

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