Aquaponic Gardening

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First post and probably a question I'll answer myself, BUT.

My pump failed two days ago, and I finally installed a replacement. I was manually filling my bed (40 gallon tank and 40 gallon media bed) whenever I had a chance, and leaving the grow bed approx 3/4 full while away.

The fish seem ok right now (tetras, a small channel catfish, and a small pacu). Plants still doing good.

My levels are a little high as expected. 1ppm ammonia and nitrite, and 80 ppm nitrate. I'm planning on stopping feeding for a few days while I monitor, but was wondering if a small water change would be a good idea just to make sure I don't stress anything too much.

Thanks in advance for your help, and in retrospect for all the help I've received in the past from all of the great knowledge this forum gives

Johnny

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Replies to This Discussion

It seems that your levels are not all that bad for a 40-gallon tank.  How big are your plants, you may need to plant a few more to take up the nitrates.  If you are concerned with them and the oxyigen levels then do a 10% water change just to be sure.  I think you will be OK though.

Nothing that you can do about a failed pump, except having a replacement on hand. Breakdowns happen.   I have a large system and raise Rainbow Trout I use 3/4 HP pumps.  I have 4 replacements on the shelf.

I guess you can say I learned my lesson. I did get an extra to keep on hand just I'm case.

As far as plants go I think I have enough to sick up the excess. I do have some extra basil in a container garden that I've been having a "race" with the AP system that I can move over if need be.

Guess it took a slight hiccup for me to officially say hello.

Thanks again

I agree with everyone else here and if your PH is 7.2 or lower most of your ammonia are actually ammonium and won't harm your fish.

Sounds like you are ok. You did fine. Tell us more about that pump failure. Type, size and what happened. Good to share what didn't work as well as what does.

Also, better to leave almost no water in the GBs when the system is down. Fill 2 times per day and let it drain between. One outfit that has been very successful only floods 2 times in 24 hrs and gets great growth. They are of course on timed flood and not siphons but you can fill till siphon starts and drains the bed if you are on siphons as we are.

Jim-

  Good idea flooding the grow beds twice every 24-hours.  I guess this frequency would depend on where you are located.  I think in a hotter, drier clime, more frequently than twice in 24, would be necessary.  Just thoughts.  Although, you still need to circulate the entire FT water every hour, so by pumping it into a bio-filter during the off time and then, under a timer, divert the same water to a grow bed so the media or troughs get watered.  After a short time say 1/2-hour, the diversion ceases and it returns to the bio-filter circulation.  What do you think??

Hey trout man. True for you and me and any other trout fan out there. They (Portable Farms) use tilapia which will tolerate a great deal more. My redundant system with my swirl/bio filters, one on each 330g trout tank, would allow for it like you said. I think you nailed it. I know I can shut down the circ water as long as the 2 filters stay turned on. I would just leave the filters running in any case. Just turn the GB flow on via timer. In my case I have so many other things like wood stove heater coil, etc. running that I need constant flow. The biggest hurdle is not having any areas that can go anaerobic during non flow times.

Leo White Bear said:

Jim-

  Good idea flooding the grow beds twice every 24-hours.  I guess this frequency would depend on where you are located.  I think in a hotter, drier clime, more frequently than twice in 24, would be necessary.  Just thoughts.  Although, you still need to circulate the entire FT water every hour, so by pumping it into a bio-filter during the off time and then, under a timer, divert the same water to a grow bed so the media or troughs get watered.  After a short time say 1/2-hour, the diversion ceases and it returns to the bio-filter circulation.  What do you think??

It was a pondmaster pump made by Danner I had picked up from an aquarium supply. 200 gph submersible with magnetic drive.

It seems that that the plastic shaft that the impeller is keyed to seized and caused the plastic keys to shear off. The pump motor works fine, but no pressure is being built because the impeller can't over come the water weight. The new pumps I have have a mount for the side of the tank so hopefully that will stop anything getting past the filter.

I'm building out a larger system in our stairway this summer, and plan on using some fairly large inline pumps. I'll have a head height of almost 20 ft and plan on one 100 gallon sump, 100 gallon stock tank, 4x8 media bed, and nft running down the railings back to the sump.
Any recommendations for reliable pumps would be great.

ALSO!!! My bacteria did its job perfectly last night btw. All levels dropped back down to normal. Luckily I made the mistake of planting tomatoes, and they had just started fruiting when the pump went.

Once you are pumping clear sump water your pump should last a long time. I went with the oldest name in the business, Little Giant and chose their pond duty model and then put it in clear water so I don't see much can go wrong. A clear water sump is THE way to go if you possibly can. Also that should be the only spot in the system that sees any change in water level which makes everything else so much easier and I can go weeks without even checking the sump level. For example I can adjust the skimmers in my FTs at the SLO exit knowing that the water level won't change.That prevents any oils or old fish food from building up in the FTs.

I went below grade sump right off the bat and I am so glad I did. Do include a float switch just in case something unexpected happens. That protects your pump from running dry which will kill most submersibles. Happened twice in 2 years. Murphy will always find any weak link.

I didn't have pump failure but I think my pump may be on its way out. I noticed today that my flow slowed down and my auto syphons wouldn't kick in. They just dribbled so I pulled the power cord to shut the pump off and pulled the pump apart and I cleaned it and my supply Tygon /pvc tubing etc. The pump is adjustable and I cranked her up a couple notches to get the same flow as I used to get when it was new. That did the trick but I'm guessing that in the next few months, I'll have to crank her up some more until the pump finally calls it quit. I've got another one on the shelf just in case. 

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