Aquaponic Gardening

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Hello all from Arkansas, USA!

I've got a new system up and cycled here in east central Arkansas (photo album on my Facebook page). I ran a small system for one season many years ago but it's been a long time since I've been in a position to do another.

Things are going fairly well, with one exception - so far. I added 35 lbs of tilapia almost 3 weeks ago and they are still refusing feed. Firstly, I have to mention, since it's a new system, I went cheap on the fish. Got them from a local good ol' boy down by the river who sells live catfish. (You think I'd joke about that?)

He got my tilapia from "a feller down by Lonoke" who got them from who-knows-where. Bottom line is, I'm pretty sure the fish hadn't been fed in awhile. I've been trying 1/4" Sportsman Choice pond food that is supposedly good for catfish and tilapia, but they aren't even interested. The past couple of days they're beginning to come up off the bottom a little, but fly back as soon as I raise the tank lid.

My water chemistry is good. (I ran the system for almost 6 weeks, inoculating with pond water and peemonia, before adding the fish and veggies. Water temps have been fluctuating with the weather, with low water temps down in the low 60's and highs in the low 80's. Tank clarity is fair.

I'm stumped. Any suggestions?

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I can't help with your problem but wanted to reach out to you. I am also a beginner in Hot Springs, AR. You are about two months ahead of me. Maybe we can network and help each other out.

Rob



Hi, Rob!

 Don't know how much help I'd be, but I'll sure try. I've got pics of my system in an album on my FB page. Send me a friend request if you'd like (that goes for any of you reading this, btw. Just put "AquaForum" or some such in the request so I know it's not some perv, lol.)

well, maybe

James Blythe said:

btw. Just put "AquaForum" or some such in the request so I know it's not some perv, lol.)

HI MY NAME IS RON. I LIVE IN BEEBE ARKANSAS. I HAVE A SMALL SYSTEM SET UP IN A SMALL GREENHOUSE IT'S ABOUT A YEAR OLD. THE SYSTEM IS A 4" PVC SYSTEM WITH A 55 GALLON BARREL FISH TANK. IT WORKED WELL UNTILL THE DREADED ROOT BOUND PROBLEM SO I HAD TO REMOVE SOME OF THE PLANTS AND REPLACED WITH STRAWBERRY. I AM NOW BUILDING A BIGGER SYSTEM OUTSIDE. WHEN THIS SYSTEM IS UP AND RUNNING I'M GOING TO CHANGE THE ONE IN THE GREENHOUSE TO A TOWER SYSTEM. MY FISH RIGHT NOW ARE GOLD FISH AND THEY ARE HAPPY.

Hi James, just curious if you ever got them to start eating?  I have some bluegill from the lake and they will only eat worms, they won't touch pellets.

Some of the wild fish just can't make transition to tank.  They'll die before they eat a pellet.  I'd keep throwing some pellets in an hour or so before sundown.  You would try a.m. worms, p.m. pellets or visa versa.  

Johann Cherry said:

 they won't touch pellets.

james

my name is bruce Hoffman

from Batesville

I hope by know you would have the problem worked out

there is a dealer in Kansas

I am thinking about buying tilapia from him

since you are so close how will you keep them warm

the weather we had last week would have put a hurt on the fish

and plants

this is my first year and I would like to pick your brain a little bit

and would be more then happy to tell you how I am starting

bruce

Hi Friends,

I have goldfish and koi in my back yard pond.  I haven't started to recirculate the pond water in my system, but use it for watering my wicking grow boxes.  This next spring I will get the system set with water recirculating around my wicking grow boxes and grow towers.

I feed the fish rabbit pellets and they are growing and thriving.  I spend about $15 for a 50lb bag of pellets.  Rabbit pellets are nothing but alphafa, with plenty of food value.  The rabbit pellets sink right to the bottom of the pond and disolve if the fish don't eat them first.  The fish seem to clean up the bottom of the pond fairly quickly.  Although I have noticed that they have slowed their eating quite a bit now that we have colder weather.

Per the original question, it could be that your food is too big.  1/4" food would be about right for 6" fish.  I'd try making a paste out of 4 cups of food, one egg, and a little bit of gelatin in a blender.  If they take that then it's the food size.  If not it's a temperature, water quality, or disease issue.

Some tilapia won't eat below 75 degrees.  High levels of ammonia or nitrite will also keep them from eating.  The best easy treatment for disease is salt.

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