View Full Version : 1st post and live plant feeding

03-03-2012, 09:56 AM
So i have had a small aquaponic garden for about 4 months and it has been going great (i've already harvested green onions 3 times). I have 2 grow beds and about 30 gallons of water with 20 or so 3" talapia fingerlings (I haven't killed any fish or plants yet!) and i water manually twice a day.
I feed my fish live plants mostly, every few days i snap a leafy branch off of a nearby bush in my yard and put it in the water removing the old branch. This gives my fish somewhere to hide and something to eat, I've been having good luck with this but i want to ramp up the scale and go to a 275 gallon container with larger grow beds. My question is will i be able to do this in the big container with lots of fish or have i just been lucky letting my little fish graze all day? I thought i'd ask here before i go experimenting because 200+ gallons won't be as easy to dump out and start over.

03-03-2012, 01:07 PM
well, thats a question you have to ask yourself. how long before you run out of branches :D ? also, it'd probably be better if you had measured amounts of actual fish food then just a random amount thrown in. it would make controlling ammonia nitrites/ates easier.

03-03-2012, 07:09 PM
I actually don't monitor my water, probably gonna have to get into that at some point. Until then i'm really just wingin' it, but i'm hoping not to ruin the good thing i've got going.

03-04-2012, 08:09 AM
You'll definitely need to monitor your water chemistry... every day. Especially with the larger setup.

With more grow beds, you'll need to manage much larger quantities of ammonia and nitrite and with larger fish, you need lots more food and a very good filter system. Water chemistry can get out of wack pretty quick so a test kit is a must have.

Also for the big system, you'll need lots of water flow in and out of the fish tank. I would recommend the bilge pump at Harbor Frieght.

This pump is awesome for the price. I bought 2 to have one as a spare.

http://www.harborfreight.com/16-horsepo ... 68422.html (http://www.harborfreight.com/16-horsepower-submersible-utility-pump-68422.html)

Here's a pic of the IBC fish tank I set up. This one is holding about 250 gallons since I needed to chop off the top.
[attachment=0:wbidus2g]2.2.12 Fish Tank.JPG[/attachment:wbidus2g]

03-04-2012, 01:19 PM
I've been looking at pumps with float switches



I'm thinking i can figure out my flow time from fish container to my grow bed max water level (bellvalve) so that it fills the sump and pumps back into the fish every half hour or so.

But back to my feeding, If i get a water test kit and monitor my water do you still think letting the fish "graze" will lead to problems? assuming i feed them a somewhat controlled amount? So far it's been really easy to keep the water clean having all their food attached to a branch. I also won't run out of branches, since i've started this i have also been watering that bush with the concentration of waste solids from the bottom of the tub. The result is that that bush has doubled in size and it's sibling bush on the other side of my yard has stayed the same size.

03-04-2012, 02:18 PM
You can put a float switch on any pump. It's simple with this one.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_144688-15649-PP ... facetInfo= (http://www.lowes.com/pd_144688-15649-PPFSW_0__?productId=1017551&Ntt=float+switch&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dfloat%2Bswitch&facetInfo=)

The pumps you linked are very powerful and one of them has exposed metal. You'll want to keep any exposed metal out of your system. The HB pump is 1300 GPH and I still don't use it's full power even splitting the output up 6 ways. Timing the flood and drain cycle isn't critical. The hard part is to find the sweet spot where it first starts the siphon quickly and also breaks the siphon quickly. If you use the IBC, it will be hard to get your grow beds above the fish tank so you will probably have to do a chop mk 2 type of design where you have a main sump that pumps out to the grow beds and also to the fish tank and you have an overflow in the fish tank to circulate back to the sump.

Your fish are small so feeding is easy now and water is probably easy to keep clean. The bar raises as they get bigger and become poop machines.

Your fish are going to need a good amount of protein to grow properly. How much protein is in the branches?

03-04-2012, 04:16 PM
Good point, i have no idea of the nutritional value of my branches. If i'm going to get serious i probably need to master feeding, If i grow duckweed can they eat just that alone?
That sump switch you posted got bad reviews for reliability, I think i might stick the 1/4 horse plastic body unit from surplus supply.

I've got a few talipia in the IBC tote now, i'm going to start building grow beds on and around it. I'll make a new post for that though.

03-04-2012, 05:25 PM
Duckweed does have protein but I think the trick there is quantity. If you have a lot of fish, they'll eat it faster than you can produce it.

03-04-2012, 10:30 PM
I bought a couple little pleco things today to help clean the algea on the sides, and i bought a big moss ball to test out. I'll figure something out, i mainly like the idea of feeding my fish living plants.

03-05-2012, 08:28 AM
good feed=good fish and plant growth,, supplement a commercial pellet with your leaves/duckweed for best performance

03-05-2012, 09:15 AM
If i were to supplement with fish feed, is there a specific type that is good for talapia? or brand i should look for?

03-05-2012, 09:20 AM
I feed mine AquaMax 4000 and romaine lettuce. The tank stays cleaner though when I don't give them the romaine.

03-05-2012, 11:33 AM
pellet feed should be the primary feed in your system if your goal is to grow healthy fish and plants.. commercial feeds are made for best growth..and as Eleven11 noted... the greens don't break down in the fish's gut as much as pellets.. there's nothing wrong with supplimenting with greens though.. i'm raising carnivorous fish, and i'm working on breeding crayfish, minnows, glass shrimp, gammmaurs, daphnia and green water,, so i agree that adding live food can be a good thing, but imho, a good pellet feed is the first priority.. you can buy 50lb bags for 30-35 bucks from feed mills

03-05-2012, 01:04 PM
Probably have to get some of that before i get more fish, here i was thinking feeding them plant's only was why my water was so clean. I guess that means i'll have even better water with feed, Also going to pick up a water test kit this week sometime.

03-27-2019, 04:17 AM
I'm thinking i can figure out my flow time from fish container to my grow bed max water level (bellvalve) so that it fills the sump and pumps back into the fish every half hour or so.