After almost 3 months of awesome aquaponic success, no dead fish, great plant growth etc it all hit at once, almost overnight! One morning I had a pool of water in growbed #4 at the water inlet. I decided to "stir it up". I was rewarded with a disgustingly foul odor similar to old gym socks. I began pulling out old black roots and slime. Water chemicals maintained in the acceptable range and everything continued to grow. Having thought I had resolved the issue I flooded the bed with fresh water.
Then last week we discovered a blockage in the pipe going to our raft bed and upon opening it up to flush it we were hit once again with gross nasty water. I proceed to flush all the grow bed feed lines with the same gross results. The smell continued to grow and we were unable to isolate the source 100%. The fish continued to feed even though the water was murky enough we have been unable to do a count or see them but we have yet to have any " floaters" we don't know what lurks in the depth of the IBC tote of 250 gallons of water. We did a 100% change out of the sump tank water and manually dumped the 4 growbeds by flushing them with fresh water during the water exchange. I then stirred up the fish tank hoping to be able to see some fish or dislodge any dead ones on the bottom. Nothing floated to the top other than some dead worms and fish poop.
We went to bed imagining the worst of having to "start over" and draining our tank and cleaning out the grow beds that are just beginning to produce beautiful squash, cukes, tomatoes, peas and beans. Then this morning as we opened the door off the kitchen to the greenhouse expecting the nauseating odor we were greeted with normal greenhouse smell. We will still do maybe a 50% exchange of fish tank water just so we can actually do a head count--
To be continued-- lesson learned so far-- regular maintenance is vital no matter how new your system!