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I have a 20 gallon cooler in my backyard with guppies and a gold fish in it.  My kids won them at a school fair.  Now I have tons of guppies, of course.  My current routine is to siphon out 1/3 of the water every week and water some plants.  Can someone give me some good ideas for how I might better handle them?  I can't put them in with my AP system, the tilipia would kill them all, plus the pump would suck up all the babies.  I can't figure doing a mini AP system as the pump would probably jam with babies every week (or so I guess).  I'm very new at this, so my creativity outside of my barrel AP system (which I just copied other) isn't so good.

Thanks for any ideas you might have.  Manually siphoning out the water ever week is getting old :)

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You know, Japan Aquaponics posted a really neat mini-system picture on another site (maybe here as well). Might work well for your little guys. Maybe shoot them a message.

Drawback with babies/fry is that you will have extra work to do since you will have to use some sort of sponge or very fine mesh to keep them far away from the pump intake (the extra work is the weekly or more often cleaning of said screen or sponge so the pump can still get water, but you could easily set up a mortar tub or something above the tank and pump up to it and let it drain back to the fish tank.  Could do constant flood or flood and drain if the mortar tub isn't too big and then you can grow some herbs or salad in the tub and reduce  the amount of water changes you have to do.

One thing I struggle with is the idea of using electricity for the pump (and all the problems that can happen with the pump, clogging, etc.).  What is I don't stray too far from what I'm doing now.


I put guppies in a 55 gallon barrel and put a drain at the bottom.  Set up wicking beds below it.  Once a week, I turn the drain open and fill the wicking bed, replace the water into the barrel.  Yeah, it's work once a week, but as it is now, I muck around with my AP system daily.  That creates work weekly and I'm off the grid.  If I add one goldfish, maybe I can have duckweed so the fish can make it a week at a time before the partial water change, plus my gold fish will be auto fed.

I'm a noobie, so maybe this doesn't make sense to do this.  Thoughts welcome!

Put them in with the tilapia. They'll be fine.

Hey Gary,

Thanks for the mention Chip, and yes, you could throw them into a little micro system like mine.  I had exactly the same problem when I put feeder fish into my little system - in the end I found a semi rigid plastic mesh that I just placed around the pump.  There were one or two that went over the top of that and got caught, but on the whole it worked... and the fish did seem to learn to stay out of the way of the pump after a while!

You could always try putting the pump inside a plastic 2 litre bottle with some holes drilled in it - should still allow the water to flow... but not the fish.  Fiddly, but could be done.

This is the mesh I used - mesh holes are 3mm:

...and here are the feeders in the micro system now - they have grown and learnt to stay away from the pump, so I removed the 'training mesh'... I am so proud of them  !  

What about something like this? http://aquaponicscommunity.com/photo/china-aquaponics-10?context=user

You can thin them out periodically to feed your talapia.

You are the Donald Trump for fish Carey!

with the barrel and water changes, might work while the weather is cool but I would worry about the dissolved oxygen getting really low with no aeration or circulating come hot weather.

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