Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I bought some swamp cooler filter material from home depot and thought it would work great as a filter material for my tank. after using it for a few hours tank water was green and all my fish were dead. I made a huge mistake. Not sure what they put in the fiter material for swamp coolers but not good for fish. warning to others, dont use this stuff.

Views: 1893

Replies to This Discussion

scuds won't "replace" filters.. but they are good to have in the filter material to assist with breakdown of solids..just like worms are used in media beds..

i've used bucket filters with scrub pads, and found plenty of scuds, and even red wiggler worms in submerged media doing well

not a replacement, but a nice supplement..

they don't last long in the ft, the fish love em

my aquariums with crayfish have lots of scuds, aquariums with minnows don't have many..but they do survive in the gravel

@Keith -Thanks Kieth,  I plan to grow the scuds separately in my duckweed tanks and feed them to the fish a little at a time.  The way my fish dig in the bottom of the tank I doubt they will be able to get established, but it would be nice if that could happen.  I had a lot of midge worms going before I cleaned them all out so I guess it's possible for other small critters to survive.

@Kevin -Sorry Kevin your discussion seems to have been hijacked.  Hope you got some good info out of the cooler pad responses. You could call some flooring contractors.  When they resurface a hard wood floor they go through several pads.  But rinse them well because they will be full of everything that was on the floor and who knows what that was.

Keith Rowan said:

scuds won't "replace" filters.. but they are good to have in the filter material to assist with breakdown of solids..just like worms are used in media beds..

i've used bucket filters with scrub pads, and found plenty of scuds, and even red wiggler worms in submerged media doing well

not a replacement, but a nice supplement..

they don't last long in the ft, the fish love em

my aquariums with crayfish have lots of scuds, aquariums with minnows don't have many..but they do survive in the gravel

The filter material I used was green in color and more paper like. The stuff in the picture that Bob posted looks much better. I wish I would have seen that first but home depot only had the material I chose. Very hard lesson. I am guessing that Rupert may be correct and they had some algecide in the material. it was so quick that my fish died. Happened within a couple hours and all were dead at almost the same time. Thanks for the responses, just want to make sure no one else runs into this same problem. Its heartbreaking!

@Kevin R. - Thanks for the sacrifice.  Now we know more about the differences in cooler pads.

I know others that have used the blue plastic pads for over 10 years and none of us have ever had problems.

Matala Media is top of the line for this type of filter, but I like this price.  It tends to squish down and become about 1/2 the thickness it starts out as.  

I recently tried to use in as a moving bed filter media.  It does not work because it snags on other pieces and turns into one big wad.  Probably more info than you wanted to know

Anyhow, sorry about your fish but if you don't experiment and take a few chances you will end up paying top dollar for every commercial product geared toward aquaculture, and that gets too expensive for most of us.


Good luck with the new fish.

Kevin, sorry for your loss, and I feel your pain. I've killed way more than my share of fish. It puts me in a funk that takes a while to shake, but live and learn...

Hi Susie, how are things going? I haven"t forgot about your golds, just haven't had any recent success with them. About scuds and biofilters..."solids removal" should not be confused with "biofilter". A device for one or the other may overlap in function, but the purpose of each is very different. A biofilter is structure provided to anchor nitrifying bacteria for the purpose of ammonia conversion. A biofilter must have present: bacteria, water, oxygen, ammonia, and some current to move it all around. Any hard surface with exposure to all five of those items will serve as a biofilter. Solids removal, on the other hand, involves getting rid of everything else that ends up in the water that is not ammonia (or otherwise soluble). Devices for solids removal include biodigesters, swirl filters, settling tanks, polishers, media beds, and/or filters like Kevin's cooler pads. Some devices are designed to physically remove the solids, others to hold it long enough for mineralization to occur. I know that you know all that, Susie, but just needed to iterate for clarity.

Keith, I personally believe scuds can be used to replace all other methods of solids removal. They do for natural aquatic environments what composting worms do for soil. They eat and re-eat detritus, until the solids are soluble (I know you know that, too, Keith, but for clarity...). Yes, fish love them, but if a fish-free environment that is rich in oxygen and detritus is supplied, they will multiply enough to do their work. I use a barrel filled with bird netting after the fish tank, and before rafts or media. If using both rafts and media, then media is last in the loop before returning to the fish tank (most people pump FT to GB to raft to FT, depositing all the shit in the media, which works for a while and then it's a big mess) Scuds are the secret weapon that supports Friendly's statement that their design of raft AP does not need any solids filtration (in other words, scuds ARE their solids filtration). Low fish density sure doesn't hurt either.

I'll post a clip of a San Diego farm that I was interested in buying earlier this year. Keep in mind that they had roughly 1000 lbs of fish load, and at 2% feed, they were likely feeding 20 lbs of dry feed per day (perhaps more?) What you see is all there is. No hidden media, swirl filter, cooler pads, or anything to clean/dump/maintain. Zero.

http://youtu.be/NRkxMvbLAxg

In the vid I mistakenly called them copepods, should have been amphipods, and I think I said their flow rate was 30 gal/hr, should have said 30 gal/min. Check it out.

Keith Rowan said:

scuds won't "replace" filters.. but they are good to have in the filter material to assist with breakdown of solids..just like worms are used in media beds..

i've used bucket filters with scrub pads, and found plenty of scuds, and even red wiggler worms in submerged media doing well

not a replacement, but a nice supplement..

they don't last long in the ft, the fish love em

my aquariums with crayfish have lots of scuds, aquariums with minnows don't have many..but they do survive in the gravel

Jon, thank you so much.  As usual YOU are a wealth of information.  NO, I did not know this! In fact I still don't fully understand what you were explaining.  Have no concept then of the biofilter!!   I barely know how to put this thing together and keep it running.  WE've been lucky I guess.  Fish are almost 5", and veges are HAPPY!!   In five GB's I've got tons of bell peppers now turning yellow (their final color), tomatoes finally growing and one turning red, squash blossoms turning to fruit, snow peas climbing their "string" to the ceiling, swiss chard, romaine, and broccoli all HAPPY!!  Now to start building the rocket stove to start heating in there at night!!  Water has NEVER gotten really warm.72-76 degrees. (Swamp cooler keeps it between 80-90 in there during day.)  I think it may stay cool due to Michael's design. ALL water going into fish tanks "shoot's" into it from a horizontal pipe across but above the top of FT with holes drilled for water to "force" out,  onto the top of FT water, creating water fall aeration effect. BUT.....I think it cools the water temp down while it aerates??

I shut my evaporative cooler off this Summer when I realized how much it was costing me to run it.  My water never got above 76F even though the grow room temperatures were in the 90s. 

My outdoor system was the same.  It got real hot this Summer but the water stayed about 76F. 

The cooler made it comfortable for me, but when the Watts were added up for pump and fan, it became obvious that this was a luxury.  Besides I wanted my water to get warmer.



Susie Gehri said:

J  Now to start building the rocket stove to start heating in there at night!!  Water has NEVER gotten really warm.72-76 degrees. (Swamp cooler keeps it between 80-90 in there during day.)  I think it may stay cool due to Michael's design. ALL water going into fish tanks "shoot's" into it from a horizontal pipe across but above the top of FT with holes drilled for water to "force" out,  onto the top of FT water, creating water fall aeration effect. BUT.....I think it cools the water temp down while it aerates??

Bob, with the swamp cooler running, and a wonderful "Aluminet" shade cover, when we hit 108 here, it was 95 inside even with the swamp cooler running? 

WOW!!!  I was just in there and the auto-siphon was not draining, and my (HUGE) tomato plant growbed almost overflowed.  I pulled the bell siphon apart with quite some difficulty (thinking as I'm doing it....SOMETHING is wrong here!).  Inside both the inside the of upstand as well as completely AROUND the upstand was a MASS (as in totally filled the autosiphon) of tomato roots!!  It looked like a swamp cooler filter totally stuffed in every space available!  AMAZING.  Has anyone had that kind of a problem before??  How do we prevent THAT from happening. They've got to be coming in from the bottom of the siphon (thru the holes drilled) and growing "up"!  What a miracle we were in there just as this happened!  I've got to tell you the tomato plants in this growbed would fill a truckbed.  They're solid to the ceiling and now growing horizontally against the ceiling.  they're VERY happy!

 Has anyone had this happen before? I've never heard of this from anyone:

I was just in there and the auto-siphon was not draining, and my (HUGE) tomato plant growbed almost overflowed.  The water was an inch over the top of the media and about 1/2" from top of growbed.  I pulled the bell siphon apart with quite some difficulty (thinking as I'm doing it....SOMETHING is wrong here!).  Inside both the "inside" of the upstand as well as completely AROUND the upstand was a MASS (as in totally filled the interior of the autosiphon) of tomato roots!!  It looked like a swamp cooler filter totally stuffed in every space available!  AMAZING.  Has anyone had that kind of a problem before??  How do we prevent THAT from happening. They've got to be coming in from the bottom of the siphon (thru the holes drilled) and growing "up"!  What a miracle we were in there just as this happened!  I've got to tell you the tomato plants in this growbed would fill a truckbed.  They're solid to the ceiling and now growing horizontally against the ceiling.  they're VERY happy!

Susie, root removal of bell siphons (actually all media drains) is regular maintenance. I clean mine out about once per month, except tomatoes, which is once per week or more. Just grab them roots and yank. The plants won't skip a beat. How do we prevent this? Hmmm. Tough question. My first thought is to use a media bed as a biofilter only, with no plants, and then plant everything in rafts with no media. Even then the roots will grow towards the exit, but easier to maintain.

@Jon - My first thought is to use a media bed as a biofilter only, with no plants, and then plant everything in rafts with no media. Even then the roots will grow towards the exit, but easier to maintain.

Hey that sounds like something I'd do 

Jon....I'd never heard of this maintenance!  Well then, now we know.  It happened again while we were in there this morning.  OK....so, when I pull the inside cover up (I'll call it the upstand cover?) it drains down about 3 inches and then just STAYS there draining whats coming in. Never fully dumping. Something must be plugged. So do you just ream out the inside of the siphon or do I need to totally remove all rock around it and clean it that way?

RSS

© 2021   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service