Aquaponic Gardening

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I have a 40 gallon aquarium to which I'm transferring newly born tilapia fry. Right now I have 10 fish in there and they are doing well. I transferred them in three days ago. I checked the ammonia this a.m. and found that it had risen to .5. I imagine that number will continue to rise since the tank is self-contained with only an aerator.

So how do I manage the ammonia levels? A friend said I should change out about 25 percent of the water but how often should I do this?


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I just posted some pix of our nursery - get a big sump and a load of bioballs - also fabricate a robust filter into the water flow, which you need to clean every 3 or 4 days - ours is 1/2 of the sump, lake gravel and shade cloth - that should do it for you - you may need to swap water every 2 weeks as they get bigger ..... the pump is 95 gal/hr - move the water !! 

The tank in our nursery is a 20 gal breeder, and the sump/filter is about 15 gal. There are  currently about 55 3.5' fry in there (maybe 3 months old), about ready to move to their new digs ..... they have just about out grown the capacity of the nursery, so it's into the big system they go - 

Thanks. Do the bioballs just go straight into the aquarium tank (pardon my ignorance - I'm new to aquariums but not AP)? 

Hey Michael - 

You can see the sump with the bioballs in the 2nd photo I posted (on the right side) - the sump is just a plexiglass box, divided in half - water gravity flows from the nursery tank (we put a bulkhead in the side pane of the tank at the top) into the back half of the sump, where the filter material is. Solids get trapped there, and the water passes through a divider (a sheet of plexi with holes drilled) into the front half of the sump - that section is full of bioballs and an air stone, and it holds the submerged pump that returns the water to the fish - the bioballs just provide surface area for the nitrating bacteria to live on - the bacteria want an aerobic environment, thus the air source - 

You will increasingly need to clean the filter (which replaces the filtering function of your media bed in an Aquaponics system) as the fish get larger - it's obvious when the filter needs cleaning - but this setup will keep up with the ammonia - 

Like I said - the Tilapia in the photos are ready to move to the Aquaponics tank - 


Michael Welber said:

Thanks. Do the bioballs just go straight into the aquarium tank (pardon my ignorance - I'm new to aquariums but not AP)? 

They look very ready. Bigger than some of my "adult" fish in my regular fish tank. Thanks again. 

sponge filters work well in fry tanks.. powered by air, they just need rinsed on a schedule

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