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I've emailed some members for advice but thought this might be a good a topic as well. I'm sure we have all had a rude surprise and needed some advice about what to do.. 

Well this might be the place to ask it.


My mishap from last night -my feeder fell into the pool sometime last night and both good/bad happened.

good - GFCI worked so fish weren't electrocuted.
bad - air-pump power tripped off as well, so fish were at the surface gasping.
good - I think I got to them on time.
bad - lost about 150-200 gallons of water.
good - a lot of the floating food pellets from the feeder flowed out with the water.
bad - still a large amount of pellets in the water

So- I'm refilling the missing water and have the air going to oxygenate the water ASAP. 

There is still a large amount of food in the water, much of it dissolved (I just refilled the feeder yesterday, so I'm guessing maybe 7-10 cups in 600 gallons).

Advice needed - Once the oxygen is back up and the fish are stabilized in a few hours, should I do a large water exchange to remove as much particulate as possible? (then treat it with Maxicrop until system balances again); Let it be and let the fish gorge on what they can? Ignore it and go back to feeding as normal?

Any experienced advice is welcomed.

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Sorry to hear that Ron :-(
You said the food has disolved....if the particles have collected on the bottom, can you siphon (vacume) it off the bottom ?
Good luck....keep us posted.
Too bad. I usually try to remove excess be a fine net unless it has dissolved. Depending upon the size of your fish and age of your media growbeds, you may not need to use Maxicrop. Hey Ron! I am only going from my experience with keeping Koi for 10 years but am new at Aquaponics so would reserve final opinion for the masters :-)

Good Luck :-)
It has to be a bad sign when I'm the only one posting to the forum.

Came home from work today to find the airline blown going to my pool. Not sure when it happened but nearly all my fish were dead. I pulled about 35 9" Tilapia from the bottom that were very recently deceased (clear eyes, still malleable bodies; i'm guessing maybe a couple hours at most. I even found one the had a single gill still moving - held it directly in the reestablished air flow and after five minutes it swam away.

The dead were fresh enough that we are cleaning them; some for dinner and some for the freezer. Not huge but I've had smaller pan fish.

So my lesson from this - Run a redundant air pump in case a line blows or something. My setup was around 40 fish in a 600 gallon pool with a 70lpm air pump into a 9" micro-bubble disc. They suffocated in less than 12 hours, so a second pump would be a smart safeguard.

The other thing that caught me off guard was literally hundreds of fry, all about a quarter inch long. No idea if they are Tilapia but no idea what else they could be in a closed system. I did not have a breeding pair, but if the fry were talipia, then somebody was a cross dresser.
Ah man, that is a big bummer!!!!

So was the 600 gallon pool the same system/tank that got the overfeed and lack of air overnight? Oh wait. Ya know, I wish there was a quick link to "new posts" and such when I haven't been on in a while since I totally missed the original post or I would have commented way sooner.

Though the advice is way too late here, the answer to your question back when the first feeder incident happened would have been;
Run water tests!!!! What do ammonia, nitrite and pH say. Scoop out as much feed as you can. If ammonia and nitrite are high, do some partial water changes and if nitrite is still up after that add cheap pool salt up to 1 ppt (dissolved it first before putting it in the tank.) Don't feed till safe ammonia and nitrite levels are restored and then build back up to normal feed rates while keeping an eye on ammonia and nitrite levels till you get back to normal.

Unfortunately, sounds like you had a heavier load of fish in there than you realized. Why are you surprised by tilapia breeding? You say you did not have a breeding pair, what did you buy all male fry? Or buy all male sex sorted advanced fingerlings? Even with the all male hormone treated fry, it is still occasionally possible to have one grow up as a female. With manually sorted all male fish it is even easier to have an error and get a female fish partying with the boys.

Sounds like you need to design some additional aeration means. Is your pumping and grow bed filtration set up to give any extra aeration? A spray bar off a pump spraying into the fish tank can provide a fair amount of aeration which is my big tanks first line of aeration now and the air pump with air stone are my backup. So long as one is running, my fish have stayed happy so far and I usually have both running.

Sorry to hear about the loss, at least you got to eat some. I guess you really will be ready for some Catfish here soon.
Hello Ron,

I just came home and read your misfortune...unfortunately yet again (:

I feel for you Sir. So sorry for you (:

Well let's look on the positive side (as if there is ever one when you lose a whole bunch of your "Capital"). As TCLynx mentions in her reply..."Hello Catfish". It's going to get too cold for Tilapia in the coming months so keep what you have left in a separate smaller tank and make a new investment of "Capital" with Channel Catfish :-)

I saw TCLynx's pictures of her big fish tank and was happy to see that she was using her pump as an additional way to create aeration. "A spray bar off a pump spraying into the fish tank can provide a fair amount of aeration". Many years ago, after a similar disaster, I was advised to increase the sources of pond aeration by use of pond spitters and fountains and to try to place these on a separate circuit than the air pump. I am sharing two photos of what I have and use now and one of one I want to get :-)






Ron Thompson said:
It has to be a bad sign when I'm the only one posting to the forum.

Came home from work today to find the airline blown going to my pool. Not sure when it happened but nearly all my fish were dead. I pulled about 35 9" Tilapia from the bottom that were very recently deceased (clear eyes, still malleable bodies; i'm guessing maybe a couple hours at most. I even found one the had a single gill still moving - held it directly in the reestablished air flow and after five minutes it swam away.

The dead were fresh enough that we are cleaning them; some for dinner and some for the freezer. Not huge but I've had smaller pan fish.

So my lesson from this - Run a redundant air pump in case a line blows or something. My setup was around 40 fish in a 600 gallon pool with a 70lpm air pump into a 9" micro-bubble disc. They suffocated in less than 12 hours, so a second pump would be a smart safeguard.

The other thing that caught me off guard was literally hundreds of fry, all about a quarter inch long. No idea if they are Tilapia but no idea what else they could be in a closed system. I did not have a breeding pair, but if the fry were talipia, then somebody was a cross dresser.
Oh believe me when I say I knew better from the start. I was just playing the odds to save some money and paid the price. I was surprised that 35-40 fish ranging in size from 5" to 9" could wipe out the air in a 600 gallon pool in less than a day. I'll be putting a spray bar on my water return for a little added insurance as well.

As for the sexing, I was told the state is pretty strict about breeding. Also that Tilapia will not breed in crowded conditions. Guess I proved both statements to be false.

TC - as for my earlier mishap, that worked out fine. I just did a large water exchange and all was well. But I should have learned from that to set up a redundant air source.

As for the future : I'm going to put in a 45lpm air pump for redundency as well as a spray bar on the return line.
another trick many people do if they have an overpowered pump on a system is to split a bypass off the main pump line and add a spray bar on that (of course that only works when there is extra flow to be used up.)

Of course it has been hot the last few days and warm water doesn't hold as much oxygen in the fist place so that reduces your time window of safety during the warm months. Come cold weather, situation far different.
I don't know the direct answer but many detergents over seas contain phosphate which is a strong fertilizer and promotes growth of algae - which consumes oxygen. It also has additional substances that may irritate the eyes, gills and scale slime of fish.

Here is a good paper on the subject. -- http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/full_text_search/AllCRCDocs/94-54....






Kobus Jooste said:
Here is a mishap of my own that I am currently struggling with. As more than one thing went wrong at once, I am not 100% on cause and effect here. I added tilapia to my system at the end of August. The system was cycled and I was confident that it would be stable. Still, I kept daily vigil over Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate, and occasionally DO. For two weeks, all was stable: Ammonia never over 2.84 mg/l, Nitrite never over 0.24 mg/l and nitrates hovering between 9 - 10 mg/l. Then my daughter, aged six, decided to help in the drought by tipping a small bucket of washing machine water into the grow bed. I noticed the fish were not very happy, and the ones showing the most stress got a salt bath. I got the settings on a new fish feeder wrong, and it was dumping food into the system at night too, but as the fish could deal with it, I never noted a lot of residue. I was still wondering why they were not so keen on food by day when on a hunch (looking at fish behaviour and water cloudyness), I decided to look at more water quality tests. Oi!! Nitrites at 7 mg/l.

I am close to lethal limit for these guys, but am keeping a close eye. cycles seem to be stabilizing, but I will do a water change if the Nitrites are not heading down by the end of today. Anybody here have any idea if the washing machine water, about half a gallon, could have wiped out my bacteria completely?
Anything with sufficants (as in most soaps and oils) are not only a problem for fish but the same issues may apply to the bacteria getting coated and having trouble with gas exchange and doing their job. I hope it turns out that the wash water was pretty diluted and the problem will clear cause that is a real bummer it things don't get better soon.

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