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I have three systems (soon to be four) with tilapia of different sizes. The one that has my largest pennyfish is my best system in that the plants grow like crazy and the fish always seem happy. However, I have noticed that the fish poo tends to float on the surface of the water rather than sinking or being pulled into the filter. So every once in a while I take a net and skim it out and dump it on the top of my grow bed media.

I guess I was just curious if everyone has to do this. Should I not be putting it in my media? I was under the impression that it was part of the food my plants needed. Is my system missing something to help in taking care of this?

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Hi Windy,

I've noticed that some fish pellet make some poo float longer than other types. You know what they say: "What goes up must come down", in that, floating poo will sink eventually, even if we're worried about it or not! As long as the poo get's oxygenated water it will slowly de-mineralize and release nutrient for plant uptake, so its not really a problem how long it takes to sink. If the flowrate is high enough and is able to suck water (Vortex) to the outlet, poo will get there. If your GB to fish ratio are standard you can move poo manually to the GB, but this just means another layer of work. I have a FT design(see my pics) which has strong suction and because of that it is self-cleaning.

Windy, I totally agree with my friend Harold, and I'd also add that because the top of your grow bed should be dry the fish poo doesn't really have a way of getting into your plant system.  It will just dry there and look like...well...dried poo.  I'd recommend flinging it out onto outdoor plants, or in with the potting mix if you have any indoor plants.  Because outdoor plantings or houseplants get watered from the top it will give the poo a chance to really get into the plant environment and benefit them...and that is what we want that poo to doo. 

Or dig a little hole in the media till you reach wet media and plop your netted poo there if the system isn't high enough in nutrients to let them go to the house plants.

What if I dumped it in the drain area in syvia's system? Then when it flooded it would get pushed into the media.

 

You could add a skimmer. Like in koi ponds or garden ponds. The floating poo would drop into the skimmer then get pumped where ever you wish.

I think this can help U to diagnose fish health from their pooadd surface skimmer to trap floating fish poo JMPO

I have my pump right below my grow bed drain. The water from the grow bed drain will push any floaty stuff to my pump.

Will the fact that the water level changes on a regular basis be an issue? Is there a particular type of pump someone could recommend for me in an aquabundance system?

Rick Stillwagon said:

You could add a skimmer. Like in koi ponds or garden ponds. The floating poo would drop into the skimmer then get pumped where ever you wish.

Tilapia have a strangely shaped gut, in that their food can take a short cut to the poop chute when food is plentiful, or take the long way home for more efficient digestion. I've noticed floating poo when water is warm and they are feeding heavy on floating pellets. If you cut back on the feed a bit, they may digest more thoroughly and the poo will sink. I don't think it's a problem though, as long as it doesn't accumulate. When things start to look ugly and I don't have time to clean, I just skip a feeding, and they work the detritus through again, often reducing the waste to pump-ready size.

You mean they will eat the poo??

Jon Parr said:

Tilapia have a strangely shaped gut, in that their food can take a short cut to the poop chute when food is plentiful, or take the long way home for more efficient digestion. I've noticed floating poo when water is warm and they are feeding heavy on floating pellets. If you cut back on the feed a bit, they may digest more thoroughly and the poo will sink. I don't think it's a problem though, as long as it doesn't accumulate. When things start to look ugly and I don't have time to clean, I just skip a feeding, and they work the detritus through again, often reducing the waste to pump-ready size.
Yep. They eat some poo even when well fed. They are detritus feeders, after all. Virtually all commercial tilapia filets from your local market are fed on poo-fertilized green-water. There are tilapia farms that raise tilapia down-stream from striped bass. They are not fed directly, but scavenge on bass leftovers (both uneaten and eaten). Don't let it gross you out. If there are nutrients available, then there are creatures available to break it down one more step, and so on, until the plants use it again to give us more biomass. Dogs eat poo, as do rabbits, chickens, hogs, and, of course, dung beetles. Perhaps you didn't know that button mushrooms are raised on big steaming beds of poo? Mmmm

Yea, that point about the tilapia having a short cut gut, if you space their feeding at least 8 hours apart, they are more likely to digest their food better while if you feed them too much too often you get far less efficient use of the feed.

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