Aquaponic Gardening

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I have 6 large (6 to 10 inch) blue and white tilapia. The 2 crappy aquarium heaters both went out at the same time after only a month!!! I didn't notice right more than a few days pasted but the temperature is now at 62 F. I ran out to Walmart to get another crappy heater (because it is only thing open at 9pm), just to start bringing it up slowly. The question fast is safe to bring up the temp....a couple of degrees a day sound ok? Faster or slower. I read on the forums that you should stop feeding until it is back up a bit. Any other advice?

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I forgot to mention that the water must have dropped from its normal temp of 78 F down to ~62 during this heater burn out. I didn't check the water for about a week so I'm not sure how long it took to drop. Also, I got it up 2 degrees over the night. Is that too fast? Should I slow it down or keep bringing it up a couple of degrees a day?

The fish look pretty normal...just a little slow. Tilapia are some tough fish.

Hey Arwen,

I don't think you are bringing the temperature up too fast.  I've had much bigger temperature swings with tropical fish during the winter with no obvious ill effects. ( water changes with water from a barrel filled with recently melted snow.  I don't use rain/snow water anymore)

not sure how big your system is but we have had a decent success with the fish sweater to heat our water. We have been able to bring our temps up from the high 40's to the high 60's-low 70's with the unit. Our total system size per sweater is 20,000 gallons and is just past the upper limit regarding gallons for these units. A smaller system would do well with them. They can run on gas, propane, wood fire or solar so you have options.  

Thanks for the feedback.

Being new at this, I think anything out of the norm will end is dead fish or yellow plants, but these guys seem pretty tough. The fish look ok, just a bit lethargic...moving really slow. The water is up to 65 now, so I am thinking they will be good since they were in a tank a couple of months ago at about that temp. I'll just bring it up 2 or 3 degrees a day and get them back to 75 F eventually.

I have never heard of a fish sweater but looked it up...interesting. My tank is just 150 gallons, so I am using those cheap aquarium heater. Perhaps I should get one of those nicer titanium ones or something. I just want something that will last that so much to ask for :)

I got some advice: don't stress about it :) Blue tilapia are a little more cold resistant. They'll definitely be slower at colder temps but they will survive just fine. Take your time and invest in a higher quality heater, no need to rush. How many gallons is your system? I recommend the Eheim Jager Thermostat heater as an affordable/quality option. I use two 300 watt heaters for my system. You can get them for about $25 at Doctors Foster and Smith, but it looks like they're on backorder right now.

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