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Old 08-24-2015, 02:44 AM   #1
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Reasonably stocked Aquaponics system.

Starting up an aquaponics system on my 55 gal tank was something I always wanted to try. However the videos and information I find in most places only showcase beyond reasonably stocked tanks with hundreds of pond/river/lake fish like tilapia or blue gill. One thing I don't want to do is make the fish suffer to grow food. I understand how the system works and I understand that most of these fish get eaten too but having multiple aquariums and caring for fish I only feel like you shouldn't make them live in sub par aquariums or tubs. It all kinda grosses me out to see aquaponics setup this way and I know that's kind of the point so the plants can feed off the nutrients in the water. If I were to setup an aquaponics system I would like to keep fish that I like and I wouldn't eat them.


I guess my question is has anyone setup an aquaponics system that is "clean" vs looking like this

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to where it can function as a beautiful fish tank AND aquaponic system.
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Old 08-30-2015, 02:12 PM   #2
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I am also interested in creating an aquaponic system that not only provides food but has a special aesthetic quality. If anyone has info on this, please post.


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Old 08-30-2015, 02:17 PM   #3
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Ok key to having a tank not look like that is don't overstock lol.
I would also stay away from species that create lots of waste for their size like Plecos.

For a planted aquarium of lower maintenance you want to start with a good substrate like fluorite. After that pick a light in the low to medium light range then pick plants suitable for light choice.




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Old 08-30-2015, 02:43 PM   #4
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Ok key to having a tank not look like that is don't overstock lol.
I would also stay away from species that create lots of waste for their size like Plecos.

For a planted aquarium of lower maintenance you want to start with a good substrate like fluorite. After that pick a light in the low to medium light range then pick plants suitable for light choice.




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Although great advice it sounds like you are giving us recommendations for a planted aquarium and not an aquaponics system. Aquaponics systems rely on the fish waste to produce edible plants outside of the aquarium in a grow bed which is then pumped back into the aquarium to complete a cycle. This way the plants feed off of the nitrates and clean the water for the fish. All commercial aquaponics systems I've seen use large fish in large quantities to the point where you get extremely overstocked systems powering plant growth. But it seems wrong and a low quality of life for the fish. I'd imagine on a much smaller scale you could produce a decent bunch of smaller plants or even just one of a certain kind without overstocking a tank too much.
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Old 08-30-2015, 03:31 PM   #5
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Although great advice it sounds like you are giving us recommendations for a planted aquarium and not an aquaponics system. Aquaponics systems rely on the fish waste to produce edible plants outside of the aquarium in a grow bed which is then pumped back into the aquarium to complete a cycle. This way the plants feed off of the nitrates and clean the water for the fish. All commercial aquaponics systems I've seen use large fish in large quantities to the point where you get extremely overstocked systems powering plant growth. But it seems wrong and a low quality of life for the fish. I'd imagine on a much smaller scale you could produce a decent bunch of smaller plants or even just one of a certain kind without overstocking a tank too much.

My issue with such a system in a 55gallon would be the decrease in KH and increase in GH.

On my salt water system I use a sump 3/4 the size of my display tank to grow macro algae to keep nitrates 5ppm or below. But I still do small weekly Water changes to restore the lost the lost calcium and other minerals. And this tank is far from overstocked.

For freshwater stocking levels or slightly overstocked I would say you would need a similar arrangement in addition to the plants in the display tank to make a large dent in nitrate levels. In all of the low maintenance tanks I have seen they have all been well below fully stocked.


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Old 08-30-2015, 05:38 PM   #6
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Would doing the weekly water changes hurt the success of the eatable plants? We considered this and always just figures the maintence would still be this same only with the addition of the plants in the grow bed. Meaning we would still do the 30% water changes as usual.


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Old 08-30-2015, 05:52 PM   #7
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Would doing the weekly water changes hurt the success of the eatable plants? We considered this and always just figures the maintence would still be this same only with the addition of the plants in the grow bed. Meaning we would still do the 30% water changes as usual.


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No I believe that doing the normal water changes is essential to the life of the system. It's always important to do water changes to replenish the minerals and trace elements in the water.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:24 AM   #8
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the palnts and soild will hold alot of water. WC like in a traditional aquarium wont be as necessary, rather keeping the water topped off will. Topping off will replentish minerals.
If you do WC like in a normal aquarium, then you have no fish waste and nitrates for the plants!!
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:28 AM   #9
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the palnts and soild will hold alot of water. WC like in a traditional aquarium wont be as necessary, rather keeping the water topped off will. Topping off will replentish minerals.
If you do WC like in a normal aquarium, then you have no fish waste and nitrates for the plants!!

My concern would be the plants removing kh during photosynthesis and leaving gh and each top off adding more gh. Then when you do do a water change the tank water will vary grossly from the tap water.




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Old 09-02-2015, 10:52 AM   #10
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I'd say when you do the water change, don't gravel vac it, just remove water from the water column, it will remove the gh from the water, but won't suck up as much of the fish waste from the substrate


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