Aquaponic Gardening

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I was all excited about the water in my tank becoming crystal clear a few days after I added the fish and it got all stirred up and murky. The food I use does cloud the water somewhat for a short while but usually clears right back up after a while... But over the past few days the water has become brown and dark again, anyone have a clue as to what might contribute to this??? My system is comprised of 17 tilapia around a pound each, 220 gallons of water, a Nova 300 pump and three 5 foot vertical grow towers. I did a PH test today and it was around 6 or 7...

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Are you running the pump 24/7?
yup

 

If your system is relatively new, you could have seen an algae bloom.  Algae loves nitrates, and often only show up once these nutrients build up to a certain level.  In the new set-ups, you then often have a scenario of nitrates being available but the plants being too small to take it all up - especially on the size fish you have.  One argument is that you can just wait for the system to go through maturity (the tilapia will not mind the water quality if the brown is just algae) or you can go after the algae (if that is the culprit).  I always have a small UV sterilizer at hand for younger systems specifically for that initial "bloom".  Have you tested water quality to rule out other issues? 

Ok thanks... That actually makes sense, I have been seeing very fine strands of algae building up on the sides of the tank so that might in fact be the problem. I haven't yet tested anything but the PH levels yesterday but the fish seem happy and healthy and snails are quite at home so everyone seems to be fine. My plants aren't dying but could look healthier, I suppose I have to wait for the system to build up properly. I'll have a fish breeder I know come over and test the water for me this week, he knows about that kind of stuff. Will let you know my findings... Thanks again.
Hi Xavier,
I took a peek at your video,what a great AP set-up. I'm haven't any experience with growing towers and their nitrification or filtration capacity . Nate will better provide you with some fish/tower media ratios.From what i see here, i suspect your media volume will need to be improved. In the early going, when fish are small, we can go by with less filtration, but the system is usually designed initially to assume accommodation for fully grown fish, in that way the system can handle peak fish load when the time comes.Physical filtration keeps the water looking nice and clean but the biological filtration keeps fish living and plants growing.

Thanks Harold,

 

Nate actually recommends 1lb of fish per linear foot of growing space. So with three 5 foot towers I have about 17lbs of fish to 15 linear feet of growing space. Just a bit more than he recommends, based on the fact that the towers cleaned the water so quickly once I put them in and stirred everything up, and then again when I added the fish and they stirred everything up... Im thinking it might be the algae growth... well im hoping. But I will shoot Nate a line all the same to see what he has to say.

The water is starting to clear up again... So looks as if the system just needed to establish itself.
Good to hear Xavier, please keep us informed as you go, some pics would be nice.

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