Aquaponic Gardening

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I recently pulled a tilapia from the tank with an unusual skin condition. I have white nile tilapia and this fish's skin had red splotches in places. It was still alive but lethargic. the second photo is of a healthy tilapia harvested at the same time.

Some research prompts me to believe this is an issue with PH in my system. I checked and found the PH level so low, it was off the pictured chart. I've incorporated little nylon sacks of egg shells into my system but only this one fish seems to have been infected.

Any thoughts? Any experts out there care to help me with this? Any non-experts want to share an opinion? I'll accept both.

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My fish have red marks similar to your picture from fighting.  Most of the time they just push each other around.  I have seen scales fly though.  Can't they all just get along?

I treat my injured fish with Microbe-Lift Artemiss.  It works and is a combination of beneficial bacteria and herbs.  So, it can be used in my breeding tank or aquaponics tank.  

This is one source - http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=21424

 Hi, a friend uses Microbe-Lift products and says it noticeably helps the health and looks of his aquarium. BUT, he warned that all of the info he's seen on all of the microbe lift products (including Artemiss) mentions the following warning. Quote: "This product is intended for use with all ornamental and aquarium fish only, and may not be used for fish intended for human consumption." 

We've been wondering why it wouldn't be ok for all including aquaculture if it really is so natural and beneficial.

The warning can be found near the bottom of the info here: http://www.microbelift.com/products/home-aquarium/freshwater-condit...

I hope this helps.



Jim Joy said:

My fish have red marks similar to your picture from fighting.  Most of the time they just push each other around.  I have seen scales fly though.  Can't they all just get along?

I treat my injured fish with Microbe-Lift Artemiss.  It works and is a combination of beneficial bacteria and herbs.  So, it can be used in my breeding tank or aquaponics tank.  

This is one source - http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=21424

Thanks.  I had not seen that disclaimer.  

Your pH needs to be between 6.5 and 7.0 for many reasons, most importantly for the health of your nitrating bacteria and a condition known as nutrient knock-out. You should read up on both, especially nutrient utilization and availability in plants. Simply put, plants have a pH "sweet zone" where they can uptake nutrients most readily, and it is in the mid to high 6's. Your fish produce slime as protection from parasites and pH extremes messes with their natural defense system, which may be what you are seeing. Most systems, except in locations where your water supply has tons of buffer (limestone/calcium), will need to have some form of alkeline added to raise your pH. Most everyone I know uses Potassium Hydroxide and/or Hydrated Lime. Both are inexpensive and are easy to use, but are highly caustic and to handeled with respect. When raising pH add small amounts at a time - do not shock your system by moving pH one, two or more points all at once - the cure will be worse than the illness. You will need to do a bit of experimenting on your system to determine how much and how often to add buffer. Also, if your system is mature and you are having really low pH issues (below 6 for sure) you probably have an accumulation of organic material (even possibly dead fish etc) lurking in your system which is creating anerobic zones. You may also be overfeeding or over stocking your fish population. Get a pond vac and clean out your float beds, back flush and stir your rock beds and drain away the dirty water (if you use flod and drain media beds), and if you designed access ports into your plumbing, run a brush anywhere you can get to the insides of your pipes. The insides of pipes really load up with dead organic material over time. A clean system is a happy (pH stable) system .....  Aquaponics requires maintenance, record keeping and regular attention - believe me, everybody goes through this pH learning curve ....  

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