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Hi All,

I'm trying to get my system through startup and I'm at a loss as to what is happening with the water chemisty.The overall water volume is about 15 gallons and I've introduced just under 30 feeder goldfish in stages. I've been testing regularly with an API Master Kit and gotten pH results are high 7.8, with a just a little ammonia (.25). I've seen nothing in the way of intermediate products (nitrites), but have picked up 5.0 ppm for nitrates. I had previously "seeded" the tank with water taken for the family goldfish tank, to speed things up.

Do I need more time or more fish to get this thing up to a state where I can start growing stuff?

 

Thanks.

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Timothy P. Kelly said:

The bottom line is that I missed the obvious: that the brown blood disease an introduced issue, not one connected with nitrite levels.

 

Tim,

 

I've never heard of "brown blood disease" as being anything other than associated with nitrite poisoning....

Not even in goldfish... other than in relation to nitrites... and I can't find a single "google" reference to suggest otherwise...

If your issue is an introduced disease.... then it's not "brown blood disease".... unless the advice you're getting is that they were affected by nitrite exposure before you introduced them to your system....

Rupert,

Here is the link to the Yahoo Answers page that got the bacterial infection idea going:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080121141834AAZB1mJ

The surviving fish are OK for the moment. I'll take some steps to make sure they stay that way and put them back in in couple of days. I have to accumulate some dechlorinated water first.

Thanks.
 
RupertofOZ said:



Timothy P. Kelly said:

The bottom line is that I missed the obvious: that the brown blood disease an introduced issue, not one connected with nitrite levels.

 

Tim,

 

I've never heard of "brown blood disease" as being anything other than associated with nitrite poisoning....

Not even in goldfish... other than in relation to nitrites... and I can't find a single "google" reference to suggest otherwise...

If your issue is an introduced disease.... then it's not "brown blood disease".... unless the advice you're getting is that they were affected by nitrite exposure before you introduced them to your system....

I'm down to one fish. But he's doing OK. The numbers today are the same as in the recent past;

pH=7.8

Nitrites=0

Nitrates=0

Ammonia=.25

The tomato plants are groing, albeit slowly. I'm chalking that up to the semi-shady location. There is literature out there to indicate that you can grow tomatoes in shady locations. The pepper plants, on the other hand, are not doing well at all. Basically arrested. I want to add to five more fish to try to get things going again, butg I thought I'd get folk's feedback first.

We had a long-time pet fish in a separate tank die suddenly this week, then his recently-introduced smaller tank mate passed last night. I had done a 50% water change to get the ammonia down in their tank. I can't figure out what is going on, unless it's the dechlorinator I'm using. I use 1 drop per gallon and let the water sit for a day, minimum. I don't know what the issue might be.

What are the directions on the dechlorinator?

Does your city water have chloramine instead of chlorine?

What does your ammonia test tell you when you test the ammonia on your dechlorinated tap water?

The fact that you have ammonia readings tells me that there may be something more to your problem than simply needing more fish.  If your tap water has chloramines in it, simply using dechlorinator will leave you with tap water that still has ammonia in it and doing water changes won't fix that.  You need to get your bio-filter going strong enough to take care of the ammonia without needing to do water changes.

Our pet goldfish lived in that tap water for two years without a problem. I let the water age a few days before I used it. He just passed earlier this week.

I'm going to stop using the dechlorinator and see what happens. The water in my system tank has had everthing thrown at it, including rainwater, but the chemistry has remained relatively stable. The last surviving fish is doing well, but he can't possibly be generating enough waste to keep the biofilter up and running. 

I'm still confused about one point: I was under the impression that I would want to see a high nitrate count. But your earlier comment was that "0" means the system is balanced. I'll double-check the literature and links you have supplied, when i have time, but can you clear this up in a nutshell?

I need to drop this for a couple of days and I'll be back in touch when i can get more info.

 

Thanks.
 
TCLynx said:

What are the directions on the dechlorinator?

Does your city water have chloramine instead of chlorine?

What does your ammonia test tell you when you test the ammonia on your dechlorinated tap water?

The fact that you have ammonia readings tells me that there may be something more to your problem than simply needing more fish.  If your tap water has chloramines in it, simply using dechlorinator will leave you with tap water that still has ammonia in it and doing water changes won't fix that.  You need to get your bio-filter going strong enough to take care of the ammonia without needing to do water changes.

There is no exact Nitrate level that is "required".  The plants just need enough.

Nitrate is what the plants eat and is relatively harmless to fish unless super high.  However, I know many people who have run aquaponic systems that had 0 nitrate readings but as long as the plants were not showing signs of nitrogen deficiency, it just means the system was perfectly balanced.  I personally like to have my nitrate in the light orange range just because it is readable though I've had systems that had high nitrate readings for a long time and that seemed to be ok and I've run systems that had almost 0 nitrate readings and that was sometimes ok too.  You ask your plants.  See Nitrogen deficiency tends to be complete yellowing of the old leaves (not yellowing while the veins stay green.)

If your location is a bit shady, the plants are not going to be as hungry for nutrients since they will be growing slower so a lower fish load may be ok. 

If you can get the system to a point where the ammonia is closer to 0 then I would agree that a few more fish might be in order but since goldfish can be little piggies, one fish per cubic foot of media could still perhaps be enough even with small goldfish.



Timothy P. Kelly said:

Rupert,

Here is the link to the Yahoo Answers page that got the bacterial infection idea going:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080121141834AAZB1mJ

 

Tim,

The link suggest three possible causes to the posters problem

  • Bacterial infection called hemorrhagic septicemia
  • Nitrite poisoning - brown blood disease
  • Ammonia poisoning

 

The first poster was very likely correct in his diagnosis of a bacterial infection

 

The second poster was completely correct in his references to nitrite poisoning, and "brown blood disease".... but not correct in terms of a diagnosis that reflected the posted symptoms..

 

But the two posts, and diagnosis are completely different,.... and completely unrelated...

 

Brown blood disease is nitrite poisoning... it is not a bacterial infection...

(The last poster... ammonia poisoning... was incorrect)

 

Rupert,

Thanks for the info. I'm about to introduce 5 new fish and hope that things will even out. I'd like to see the pepper plants start to perk up and I'd like to get some strawberries (or spice plants) going. That would probably be the limit for this system, in it's current location.


 
RupertofOZ said:



Timothy P. Kelly said:

Rupert,

Here is the link to the Yahoo Answers page that got the bacterial infection idea going:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080121141834AAZB1mJ

 

Tim,

The link suggest three possible causes to the posters problem

  • Bacterial infection called hemorrhagic septicemia
  • Nitrite poisoning - brown blood disease
  • Ammonia poisoning

 

The first poster was very likely correct in his diagnosis of a bacterial infection

 

The second poster was completely correct in his references to nitrite poisoning, and "brown blood disease".... but not correct in terms of a diagnosis that reflected the posted symptoms..

 

But the two posts, and diagnosis are completely different,.... and completely unrelated...

 

Brown blood disease is nitrite poisoning... it is not a bacterial infection...

(The last poster... ammonia poisoning... was incorrect)

 

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