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PostPosted: Dec 17th, '18, 12:36 
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Hi, my friend just bought a house with an existing aquaponics set up. Neither of us have experience with this, and we need to learn quickly.
I'm currently reading a book trying to understand the main concepts for this, but I'm not even sure exactly what's important in the short term while we are learning.

It consists of 3 275 gallon ibc containers. Two have tilapia in them for a total of about 60 fish. It leads out to a green house with multiple beds
The beds have volcanic rock with only a few plants growing right now. The water flows underneath the rock and eventually leads to a sump where it is recirculated back to the fish.
I have just a quick video of the area, but I'm not sure how to post it.

I'll be taking care of it after the first of the year with no instruction. I'm very excited, but it's a lot to take on with very minimal knowledge. I'm reading through the forums, but I'm not sure what is relevant information for the short-term survival of the system while also learning the long-term management.
I don't need to be spoon-fed information, but if anybody has book recommendations or even some helpful advice on what to start learning right away it would be greatly appreciated!


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PostPosted: Dec 18th, '18, 01:25 
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Welcome to the forum :wave: . The IBC of Aquaponics PDF that you can get here is a good read for running IBC systems and might help you - http://ibcofaquaponics.com/.

Sounds like a very nice system :thumbright:. Basically you have to find a balance between fish and plants. The feed going in generates waste which is converted by bacteria into nutrients for the plants. Too many or too few nutrients and the system will have problems. Usually it's a good idea to stock the fish side lightly until you get the hang of it but your situation is a bit different.

Post up some pics along with a description and whatever questions you have and you'll probably get lots of advice. You're probably in your growing season there, although, I'm not sure of day length (over 10 hours is enough or you can supplement the light to extend day length). I'd start by checking the water parameters, pH, water temp, Nitrate, ammonia and nitrite. I'd also get some plants into the grow beds to start using the nutrients.


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PostPosted: Dec 18th, '18, 08:22 
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Hi and welcome

Yes water test kit is number 1

As above
Keep a check on your ammonia safe levels (chart below) temperature and ph effect safe levels

Ph if your top up water has a high ph , system ph wont swing much , system bacteria and plant health is effected by high and low ph

Nitrate too high and it will mess with your plants , too much of any nutrient will likely trigger a deficiency in another

Nitrite , any reading will indicate big trouble somewhere , eg overloaded system , dead fish ect

Common Problems

Don't overfeed
Very easy when your admiring your fish to keep throwing feed in , this is probably the cause of most fish deaths . It will cause high ammonia and dirty water and all the issues that come with that.

Pump / Power failure
If there is not one its a good idea to have some sort of back up system , fish can die quickly when the water stops running.

Disease in fish and plants

Nutrient deficiency in plants this one can keep you entertained , leafy plants and fruiting plants can and do require different levels

Insect / mice / rats / birds ect can impact your plants or fall in your fish tanks (I had a snake once)

Water leaks / storms

Plan and grow your your plants so they are ready early to go in , plants in the shops are often too late and run to seed , so get to know your micro climate , what grows and what doesn't .

If your not picking food out of your growbeds it will become tedious

Have fun its a terrific hobby.


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PostPosted: Dec 18th, '18, 18:28 
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>> The beds have volcanic rock with only a few plants growing right now

this would be a priority as no plants = no nutrient use.
try something hardy like cos lettuce or spinach.
presume you are in winter temps - so the system should be fairly slow over this period, so bit more forgiving.

fish dont need a lot of feed except when you want maximum growth - dont be afraid to cut feeding down while not plants in the system. once per day or every second day would be fine.

Q. what are the water temps and how are the Tilapia going to go with cold water (they prefer warm).

> The IBC of Aquaponics PDF that you can get here is a good read

the other good easy to read ref is the FAO publication "small-scale aquaponic food production".
If you google " FAO small-scale aquaponic food production " you should get a PDF copy easy enough.


How to post pics... read here >> viewforum.php?f=4

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May the fish sh*t and the plants grow.....


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