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#227716 - 07/23/10 01:33 AM Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools?
surfsteve Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 125
Loc: near death valley

I was just wondering if anybody has ever tried raising fish in old above ground swimming pools.

I would think there would be no problem with soft fish like goldfish or trout but I'd be afraid that the spines of tilapia and especially catfish would cause leaks by poking holes in the lining of any soft pool and maybe even a 45 mil fish rated pond liner! I don't know the thickness of an average swimming pool liner but I know you can buy new liners for an old pool at 25 mils thick. Does anyone know of anyone with first hand experience with talapia or catfish poking holes in above ground swimming pools?

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#227717 - 07/23/10 01:43 AM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: surfsteve]
Rainman Offline
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Tilapia do have extremely sharp spines, but they are not nearly as long as a catfish. 8-10 mil would probably never get punctured by a tilapia. I have on occasion had doubled 4mil shipping bags get punctured from rough handling or a fish jumpiing into 2 inch deep water, but never triple bags. For large8"+ fish, I use doubled 5mil bags and never had a puncture, but those are always air-freighted and rarely get rough handling.
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#227720 - 07/23/10 02:17 AM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Rainman]
surfsteve Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 125
Loc: near death valley
This is great news. I also just hit the jackpot for information on raising talapia at home!

http://tilapiafarmingathome.com/default.aspx

I been searching for a week and I finally was able to find a good website. Perhaps I got lucky but I think it was because this forum gave me enough knowledge to finally enter the right search terms!

Look at all the talapia in pools! Funny that I get the answer from you and find it myself at virtually the same time! I know those pools aren't rated for fish but there are plenty of green pools sitting around in people's back yards to be had for cheap. I can't wait to get started.

I ordered my first piece of back yard pond equipment today. A half HP stainless steel encased cast iron sump pump I got used on amazon.com at a price I couldn't refuse. I will get my first used "talapia" pool soon. I just know there's somebody that has one in their back yard that wants to get rid of it for cheap with my name on it!


Edited by surfsteve (07/23/10 02:27 AM)

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#227723 - 07/23/10 03:36 AM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: surfsteve]
Rainman Offline
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Surfsteve, you may want to be careful about the "jackpot" or any other sites for that matter. There is a lot of good information but unfortunately there can be some mis-information in them also. Read everything carefully and research several sites for information...there are a LOT of aquaponics sites, some better than others. There is a lot of myth as well, most of it created by marketing from the aquarium industry. I research nearly constantly to learn where and what I can, and inform when I can. There is no right way or wrong way to raise fish!!! There is only YOUR way. Well, your way if the state you live in allows it.

One of the better sites that I last looked at was Aquaponicshq.com. It is a fairly small Austrailian forum, but it has a very good site owner and many participants wanting to learn different ways to do things. You'll find some of the sites try to dictate how things MUST be done.


Edited by Rainman (07/23/10 07:16 AM)
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#227730 - 07/23/10 07:53 AM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Rainman]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Ditto with what Rex said but it can be done. Can I suggest a book called Small Scale Aquaculture by Steven VanGorder? An entire chapter on Tilapia breeding and almost the rest of the book covers systems used to raise them. Even shows you how to build a recirculating aquaculture system, which I built for my basement and is covered in the most recent issue of Pond Boss. The book is available on Amazon.com for about $25.00.


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#227739 - 07/23/10 09:27 AM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
andedammen Offline
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You might find some good leads in this doc as well
http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/Travis/Aquaponics_Common_Sense_Guide.pdf
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#228147 - 07/25/10 06:24 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: andedammen]
surfsteve Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 125
Loc: near death valley
Thanks! I downloaded and read all of the free articles that you guys posted. Not much in any of them about using swimming pools but at this point it looks like the best idea.

My next question has to do with filtering the swimming pool.

Can I make what is the equivalent of a giant underground aquarium filter for a swimming pool?

I would like to make the center of the pool a little deeper than the edges so that everything gravitates to the middle. Then I think something like a tall distribution box for a drainfield with drain hoses coming out of it going all around the bottom of the pool. Everything duct taped securely and it must be tall enough to reach above the surface and big enough to run the sump pump. The sump pump could be put inside it to pump out the water that has been filtered by the gravel.

Next I think all the drain pipes should be covered with a thin layer of volcanic 3/4 gravel.

Then a layer of 30 inch wide by 1 inch thick furnace filter cloth should be rolled 1 or 2 layers thick over the entire bottom or at least over the drain hoses.

Finally I think I should add another really thick layer of volcanic gravel. Perhaps several feet deep in the center and only a few inches near the edges of the pool.

As a precaution I think it would be a good idea to put a layer of furnace filter cloth over any part of the bottom the rock is going to be touching so it doesn't poke holes in the liner. I seen this stuff as cheap as 12 dollars for a 20 foot by 30 inch roll.

I suppose I could always add an additional filter after the discharge if I needed to but if it's not needed I think the water should be used for aeration. I'm picturing a bunch of shower heads squirting back into the water. Perhaps it would be a good idea to point them all so that they make the water swirl in a circular vortex towards the middle.

Do you guys think this would be plenty to keep my water clean?

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#228151 - 07/25/10 06:36 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: surfsteve]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Originally Posted By: surfsteve


Do you guys think this would be plenty to keep my water clean?




Nope. You need biological filtration along with mechanical. Otherwise your fish will die of ammonia poisoning.

Sounds like you're trying to reinvent the wheel. There are simple systems that you can build yourself that will do the job. Why take the chance on something that won't work?
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#228154 - 07/25/10 07:03 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
Bill Cody Offline
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Cecil - Don't be too harsh too quickly saying his planned filter system won't work. It could very well work but would not support very many fish - a few at most. Although we are pretty sure "surfsteve" wants to grow more fish in the pool than just a few tilapia or other species. Surfsteve, the boot Cecil suggested utilizes upground pools. I also highly suggest you get VanGroder's book. It can often be found on used book sites.


Edited by Bill Cody (07/25/10 07:04 PM)
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#228155 - 07/25/10 07:04 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Bill Cody]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Bill,

I wasn't trying to sound harsh. I'm sorry it came off that way.
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#228156 - 07/25/10 07:06 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
Bill Cody Offline
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Maybe harsh was not the correct word that I want to use. Maybe negative?


Edited by Bill Cody (07/25/10 07:07 PM)
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#228157 - 07/25/10 07:09 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Bill Cody]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Nah that's even worse. How about realistic from the school of hard knocks? grin

Cecil - that is a good school. I'm still attending it, but will probably never graduate. BC.


Edited by Bill Cody (07/25/10 08:14 PM)
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#228160 - 07/25/10 07:21 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Bill Cody]
Gflo Offline
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Hey Surfsteve,

I have a small 80 gallon stock tank in the backyard with just one bass in it. I can tell you from experience that you are probably going to want to get some biological filtration as had been suggested.

I was using just mechanical at first, and it was "working", but the water was very very dirty, and ammonia / nitrate levels were higher than I was comfortable with. I had to do a lot of constant water changes. Keep in mind this is with just ONE bass.

The water started to clear up when I added biological filtration. I basically stuck a lot of nylon sponge things (i don't know what they are called...) into the filter box to serve as the biological filtration media.

I would actually get a few fish and go with your proposed plan. Make sure you have your system up and running a few weeks before you even put any fish in it (or however long it takes for the tank to cycle).

Your plan will probably not work out exactly how you have imagined, but I think you should go ahead with it. I learned a lot from "failing" (kind of a harsh word) the first few times, but who knows, your system might work!

I would normally say that life is too short to make "mistakes" others have already made, but I think this is a valuable learning opportunity for you.

Have fun with it, and keep us filled in with how things progress.
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#228174 - 07/25/10 09:10 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Gflo]
surfsteve Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 125
Loc: near death valley


Yes. I have heard that scrubbies, bioballs and a whole bunch of other things make good bio filter media but I also read that volcanic rock is pretty good and I can get a whole pick up load for a few dollars and gas. What's wrong with using volcanic rock as bio-filter media?

I found this quote: "For years, "lava rock" has been used as a bio filter media with good results."
Source: http://wernersponds.com/biofiltermedia.htm

Here is another... Filter Material:
Cover the entire area with
bio-balls, lava rock, scrubber
pads or any other material for
the bacteria to colonize.
Source: http://www.pelomedusa.com/Filter.html


I've looked at the biological filtration filters and I don't understand what the difference is if it is above ground or under ground. Isn't what I'm doing the same thing? Why wouldn't the lava rock develop micro organisms that filter it under the gravel just the same as if I were pouring it through the bio filter on top? I always had a clean fish tank when I had an undergravel filter in my aquariums and I never had to change the water. I realize it will take a month or two for microbes to build up in the gravel but how does it differ from using the bottom of the pond as one giant bio filter than running everything through a box on top the pond? It seems like both would work equally well; unless one were a lot bigger.

Has anyone ever tried it?

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#228184 - 07/25/10 09:58 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: surfsteve]
Attica Farmer Offline


Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 84
Loc: MI
Surf,

Just speaking from my saltwater aquarium days but I think the biggest difference would be the volume of water passing over the lava rock and lighting conditions.

Typical biofilters for saltwater aquariums are normaly under the tank in a dark cabinet where lighting conditions are prime for bacterial growth. Theres also an exchange of gases thats available by placing bio media in a filter compartment or in a sump tank that probably isn't as effective as some rock laying in the bottom similar to gravel.

People doing saltwater aquariums are creative in their filter media to say the least, I would look up some of thier DIY stuff and see what they may be using for some ideas.. who can say what will and what won't work.

I am trying to raise GSH in an 80 gallon horse trough. I siphoned water into a 5 gallon pail full of bioballs and then use a powehead to pump the water back up into the trough. The water became considerably clearer when we added this over the typical over the back carbon filter.
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#228190 - 07/25/10 10:42 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Attica Farmer]
brier Offline


Registered: 05/26/10
Posts: 147
Loc: ohio
I am a budding tilapia grower. I am not at all new to keeping fish in closed systems though. The site that you found does have some good info, but steer way clear of hybrids if you want a sustainable system. Notice the owner of the site will sell you a package of two species of Tilapia, but does not sell breeding pairs of either species respectively. Hybrids will not breed true, so you will not be able to retain your own breeding stock, and will have to keep purchasing broodstock from him every couple years. I have a solution, I will sell you 7 blue tilapia for $400. Just kidding.
But really, purchase a pure strain. If you lose some stock, you will be able to replace it from your own offspring. I am sure Rex could set you up with some good breeders.
Lava rock is decent media, but will become clogged with age. An undergravel filter becomes clogged quickly because waste settles to the bottom. Also, it is underwater, and therefore is not as efficient as trickle filters or wet/dry filters. The bacteria are more efficient in a highly aerobic environment. The exception to this rule is a fluidized bed filter, which seems unbeatable when it comes to eating ammonia, and nitrites. If you are not looking at heavy stocking densities, your design might work. Though for less cost you could fill a 55 gallon plastic barrel up with volcanic rock, drill holes in the bottom, suspend it above your pool, and pump water up above it to a spray bar. This would actually be more efficient than an undergravel filter. If you are looking for heavier densities, you should look into a fluidized bed or maybe the rotating drum wet dry filters. Cecil wrote an article in the most recent Pondboss magazine showing his set up with this type of rotating drum.
Don't skimp on biological filtration.
Oh also microbes won't just show up to a level that will support fish. You have to either gradually add fish, or preferably feed the bacteria pure ammonia until the system is fully cycled.http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_fishless.php
This link will describe fishless cycling, it is geared towards aquariums, but you can upsize it. This product will work perfectly as an ammonia source.http://www.aquaticeco.com/customers/subcategories/1716/ProLine-Ammonium-Chloride/ammonia/4
Good luck


Edited by brier (07/25/10 10:54 PM)

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#228192 - 07/25/10 11:06 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: brier]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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What brier said!

It takes time for the two species of bacteria you need to detoxifiy the ammonia and nitrites to get established. If you think you can just add water and fish and some lava rocks you're sadly mistaken. They don't call it "new tank syndrome" for nothing.

Biological filtration is a must! Without it you're just killing fish.
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#228195 - 07/25/10 11:21 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: brier]
Bender Offline
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Lava rock will work (at least in KOI ponds) but it is a lot easier to clean if you have it in a consolidated location. Bigger fish make bigger solid wastes which will clog Biofilters, so cleaning is something you want to consider.

Everything that the water touches could develop microbes, but you will need alot of surface area to convert the bioload produced. It would be a good idea to figure out what your Bio-load will be and then figure out how much lava rock you will need to meet that load.

There are some people who really hate underground filters and they list some compelling reasons why you should stay away from them. try googling ugf filters and I am sure you will find some good info.

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#228199 - 07/25/10 11:59 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Bill Cody]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Surfsteve, the book Cecil suggested utilizes upground pools. I also highly suggest you get VanGroder's book. It can often be found on used book sites.


Brand new it's only $25.00. It's a steal for the wealth of information it has. Not difficult to read either like some aquaculture books.
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#228203 - 07/26/10 12:32 AM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
esshup Offline
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Since I assume that your pool is outside, don't let the neighbors see you peeing into your pool. Cecil was able to get away with it because his tank was in the basement. grin
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#228214 - 07/26/10 03:44 AM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: esshup]
andedammen Offline
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Try reading thru this hole book,(free) the patent holder dr. Novak (American) is a sientist but also a hoby koi enthusiast.
There is a lot off controversy to his filter system (anoxic)but it seems most off his critics manufactur or distribut(sell) competing technology for big money, so a cheap DIY solution is bad for buisnis?

He coresponds with happy Koi breders around the world, that have adopted this way off filtering the koi pond.

http://www.mankysanke.co.uk/html/anoxic_filtration.html.

The site is indipendent and have made the anoxic filter solution understandable (language) to hobyists.
Dr. Novak still get prety heavy beating on a lot off koi forums, by "disbelivers" However the number off people sucsesfully using anoxic filtration is increasing in the US as well.
Seems it's hard to become a "profet" in your own country.

Iff you dont belive in the method after reading the book I think maybe, 1. generation ERIC (Endless River In Concrete)by Waddy is a good an cheap($) route to prosue if your handy(DIY), do to the simplisity off the set up.
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#228243 - 07/26/10 09:44 AM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: andedammen]
Bender Offline
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Registered: 06/06/06
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Originally Posted By: andedammen
Try reading thru this hole book,(free) the patent holder dr. Novak (American) is a sientist but also a hoby koi enthusiast.


Interesting read, have you used this system?

It sounds like it would have a big foot print (1 ft3 per fish) to handle a swimming pool sized system, but it might not be bad as a polishing tank after mechanical and biological filtration.

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#228251 - 07/26/10 10:20 AM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Bender]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Just for the record I get nothing for suggesting the book Small Scale Aquaculture, and all the components in the book are homemade. No systems are sold in the book.

The book has opened up a new world of possibilities for my side business of aquaculture and saved me a lot of money. A similar turn key system from AES is about 5 grand. I built all of this for about $400.00 tops. This book is gold mine for hobbyists too. Also there's nothing better than building your own system to fully understand the RAS concept and become self reliant.

I personally don't care for the trickle or underwater filters because they eventually clog with debris. With an RBC if you keep it separate of the fish tank (which I will do soon) it will stay self maintained indefinitely. There's also an incredible surface area of over 600 square feet in the one I built from the book, and it could easily maintain over 100 lbs. of Talapia in the swimming pool in question.

The clarifier is a gem too and easily built with a 55 gallon drum, some PVC, and some deer fence netting for filtration material. Easy to clean also.

Here's a small stock tank I used for my fish tank with the RBC in the tank. You can see a u-tube siphon in the foreground that automactially works via gravity to move water to the clarifier. No pump needed for that. However a small 60 watt pump does move water from the top of the clarifier to the frame of the RBC to rotate the RBC. There is another option in the book to run this all with an air pump and have additonal aeration to boot.




Here's the clarifier. It's amazing the waste this thing traps under the mesh filter material (deer fence mesh). It's very easy to drain and clean.



Here's the deer fence netting that is used in the clarifier:




Edited by Cecil Baird1 (08/03/10 06:56 AM)
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#228280 - 07/26/10 11:59 AM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
MRHELLO Offline
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Originally Posted By: Cecil Baird1
Just for the record I get nothing for suggesting the book Small Scale Aquaculture, and all the components in the book are homemade. No systems are sold in the book.

The book has opened up a new world of possibilities for my side business of aquaculture and saved me a lot of money. A similar turn key system from AES is about 5 grand. I built all of this for about $400.00 tops. This book is gold mine for hobbyists too. Also there's nothing better than building your own system to fully understand the RAS concept and become self reliant.

I personally don't care for the trickle or underwater filters because they eventually clog with debris. With an RBC if you keep it separate of the fish tank (which I will do soon) it will stay self maintained indefinitely. There's also an incredible surface area of over 600 square feet in the one I built from the book, and it could easily maintain over 100 lbs. of Talapia in the swimming pool in question.

The clarifier is a gem too and easily built with a 55 gallon drum, some PVC, and some deer fence netting for filtration material. Easy to clean also.

Here's a small stock tank I used for my fish tank with the RBC in the tank. You can see a u-tube siphon in the foreground that automactially works via gravity to move water to the clarifier. No pump needed for that. However a small 60 watt pump does move water from the top of the clarifier to the frame of the RBC to rotate the RBC. There is another option in the book to run this all with an air pump and have additonal aeration to boot.




Here's the clarifier. It's amazing the waste this thing traps under the mesh filter material (deer fence mesh). It's very easy to drain and clean.



So how big is the Stock Tank you are using now?

How many fish do you have in it?

How long does it take to get them ready to put fish in them and what sizes are safe to put it in?

What exactly is RBC?

How often do you have to remove the solids and how hard is it to do?
Thanks

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#228303 - 07/26/10 02:54 PM Re: Can talapia be raised above ground swimming pools? [Re: Bender]
andedammen Offline
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No, I have not got around to it yet, been and are prety sick still (lymes/tick-bite), so wery litle action, since I came over the book.
You find americans on this thread that use it, and phone number to dr. Novak, and he gives the advice/help free off charge.

http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showthread.php?94835-Anoxic-Filtration.

I am planing a RAS when I get back on my feet and it will be a hybrid. Principals from 1. generation ERIC (setelling and brush camber) for mecanical filter , and anoxic for the biofilter.
As CB1 points out the cloging and cleaning is the draw back on most filters, that is not an isue with such hybrid.
And the hole thing I can build off scrap almost free.

It has a footprint yes big ?? the eric chambers are easy to hide long shalow/narow chanels
The anoxic bio filter are ornemental beautyes if set up right, and can be a water garden (aquaphonics) if wanted.
Space is not a problem here got plenty,however temp. C/F is and anoxic biofilter keeps doing the job even below freeze where as aerob/anerob bio filters drop in eficensy along with faling temp, and would have to be heated 4-6 months off the year around here and/or inside a insuleated building.

Video clip from a DIY ERIC from a Norwegian koi freak
http://www.youtube.com/user/topaha#p/u/4/bS-f__5NeOE

A good book to read on pros and cons off differente types off filters is published on Waddys home page the author is dead.
http://www.koikichi.com/alans-book/page-2.php
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