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I HAVE EXTRA FISH SOLIDS BUILDING UP AT THE BOTTOM OF MY SUMP TANK,,, IS IT OK FOR IT TO STAY THERE OR DO I NEED TO CLEAN IT OUT?

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I clean mine out once a week or so.  The way my system is set up the sump is doubling as a swirl filter (completely unintentional but a nice accident).  Now the spring is in the air I am taking the solids and putting them in my soil gardens.  No sense in letting it go to waste!

A bio-filter functions most effectively when sedimentary solids are removed.

In any Aquaponics system, the solids (from fish poo and rotted/rotting fish feed) WILL settle out somewhere. Unless some other form of solids removal/filtration is designed into a system, then they are certain to end up at the bottom and lower spots in the system.

A lot of people are ok with that and assume that it will be or will mostly be trapped in the grow beds. And then if some ends up in the sump or fish tank they will deal with it later.

In reality though, the primary if not only purpose for the grow beds should be to facilitate nitrification and to grow plants, in that order.

Somewhere, somehow, if the excess feed and all of that poo is to be prevented from returning to and settling in the fish tank, some real form of solids filtration and removal must be designed in and it must work. Until then, I think you should remove it from the sump, from around the suction side of the pump/s, and most importantly from the fish tank, regularly. While adding worms to a grow bed does in part provide filtration, I recommend you consider adding a robust swirl filter, and that you use the solids collected there to build a garden compost material.

I hope this helps.

Personally I would NEVER send fish waste to my sump. Why did you go CHOP 2? I assume you were restricted space wise?

In a CHOP 1 system the fish water only goes to the GBs and that way you will never have any fish waste in your sump, only clear water from the GBs goes back to the sump and pump. The pump will last many times longer if it is only pumping clear water as well.

If you are stuck with CHOP 2 then send the bypass portion of waste water from your FT thru a swirl filter before it goes back to the sump. All sump water should be clarified and preferably nitrated (bio-filter) before going back to the fish. You are sending their (fish) waste back to the fish. Not nice at all. And then you are going to eat them? This is nothing like a lake where there is plenty of acreage for the bacteria to do their job but a closed system that must be kept clean and healthy for the fish. If your GBs are properly sized then that portion of water passing thru the GBs should be clear. You only need address the untreated waste you are sending to the sump directly. If you can go CHOP 1, I suggest you do.

how do you change from chop 2 to chop 1  OR do you know a good way to setup a swirl filter

Chop 1 has all the waste water from the FT going to the GBs.. and from the GBs it flows to the sump where the pump sends it back to the FTs.

The sump is the low spot, the FTs are the high spot and the GBs are in the middle. I have no idea how yours is set up so it is very hard to give you anything but generalizations. Here is a diag. of our system but the scale of yours might be quite different:

I use a combination of swirl and bio-filter:Photos of actual filter are at my photo pages HERE

Hi Jim,

I am looking at the first diagram for CHOP. Wouldn't it be better to divert the water from the media bed to the DWC (raft bed) and then just return it to the sump?

Jim Fisk said:

Chop 1 has all the waste water from the FT going to the GBs.. and from the GBs it flows to the sump where the pump sends it back to the FTs.

The sump is the low spot, the FTs are the high spot and the GBs are in the middle. I have no idea how yours is set up so it is very hard to give you anything but generalizations. Here is a diag. of our system but the scale of yours might be quite different:

Actually this is an old simple diagram of my basic layout. What you suggest is correct but I would require another pump or the media GBs would have to be well above the DWC. As you can see the GBs and the DWC are at the same convenient height. My sump water already has a pump which sends the clear nitrate laden water to the FTs and the woodstove so now that I have built my DWC I simply send that water on to the DWC bed as well. You can easily pump the sump water up high above doorways and down again as that does not strain the pump once it is flowing. I have to prime that line by shutting the FTs off briefly but after it is flowing the FTs can be turned on again.

This diagram does not indicate my swirl filter that removes all solids, both sinkers and floaters as well as the 2 trout tank bio/swirl filters. I'll have to update these drawings. Thanks for pointing that out.

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