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#208275 03/16/10 06:58 AM
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Please bare with me I haven't posted photos in a long time so it may not work the first time.





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Well I guess it worked so there ya have it 3 100 gallon tanks plumbed into a 55 gal filter. I hope it works good for raisin forage !!!!!

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I'm assuming you are gravity feeding from fish tanks to your 55 gallon filter, and then pumping water back with that single external pump. If so, it's often called a "CHOP" system (Constant Height, One Pump). It's a nice and relatively simple to use and maintain RAS design. Now you need to add an RBC for additional bio filtration! Really helps keep things stabilized.

Good luck with the Tilapia!


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What's an RBC,is it a Bog filter ?

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What PH level do they prefer?

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RBC = Rotating Biological Contactor. It is basically a water wheel with tons of surface area for bacteria to grow on. If you've ever seen those biowheels on aquarium filters, it's essentially the same thing, just much bigger. It spins slowly in the water, "detoxifying" the water while it does. Since much of it is actually out of the water during the spinning, the bacteria get the benefit of O2 from the air, and then get "dunked" back into the water to do their thing... over and over. It's actually a lot more complex than that, but this is the general idea. They aren't terribly hard to build... I mean Cecil recently built one, so how hard could it possibly be? Just kidding Cecil! Hopefully he'll chime in on this. He's done a lot of work on his RAS this Winter, so is a great resource.

Tilapia tolerate a pretty wide ph range. 7.0 is a good place to try for though. Honestly, I haven't tested ph in a very long time in any of my tanks because things have just worked out fine as is.


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I have about 3500 bio balls in the 55 gal filter. I thought the Bio balls were supposed to do that very thing as far as growing bacteria to cleanse the water is concerned.

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You are correct John. You've got yourself a capable biofilter with those bio balls. I was thinking your drum was strictly a mechanical filter. Sorry about that. Does this filter also remove solids?


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I placed a rack on the bottom to allowfor 7 inches of just water. Then I placed 2 layers of the filter media onto the rack. The filter media is 1 inch thick and is course on the bottom 1/2 inch and finer in the top 1/2 inch. It is supposed to catch solids and the little stuff. After the 2 layers of media is a thick pile of bio balls and then 2 layers of filter media and another thick layer of bio balls. Then there are two more layers of filter media and on top of that is a bunch of media cut into small squares and just piled in there. Then I added the grate on top to keep the media below my pumps out line. I put the water in the filter about a week ago and added the bacteria starter liquid. The water has a little bit of a funny smell kinda like fish with some stink added. I hope that's the bacteria growing like crazy and that it's the good kind.

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I was thinking about placing some floating Bog plants on top. I think the foating ones have short fat roots that won't get sucked up or grow down through the filter pads. Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing for the plant roots to grow all through the filter. I hope to never change or clean the media pads. I am hoping it works like the skippy filter where the man said he never cleaned it for 8 years and all was well until the stock boy in his store decided to clean it. The inlet tube into the filter comes to a T inside and a 90 degree elbow was placed on each end in opposite directions to make the water swirl in the bottom.

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JohnK, look's like a great little set-up you have, those bio-balls should work well, I have a bubble bead filter which is similar in operation to your filter, the 100gal tank has 10 large PS's and 1 big GSH who are fed heavily and my ammonia and nitrites are zero.
I imagine some bog plants would be nice in the filter if they get enough light.

What type forage are you gonna put into the tanks and what is the GPH of the return pump your using? Also have you checked the ammonia & nitrites with a test kit?



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Give us all feedback on how it works!

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John,
I would probably be more apt to put a growbed or a separate "bog" tank between the filter and the pump, or even better, divert a small portion of the water flow from the pump to a growbed or bog tank, and then overflow it into one of the fish tanks.

Healthy bog plants could potentially become root bound and restrict flow. Also, some of the plants could potentially root into the filter media. Additionally, you will have a little plant debris (roots, leaves, etc.) from time to time, and it would probably be better to keep that out of the pump. Plus, the biofilter likes darkness, conflicting with your plant's desires for light.


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I do not have a kit to check ammonia or nitrates. I will have to see if they have one at the local pet store. The pump is 350gph and I am wondering if low oxygen levels or something wrong with the water would cause the fish to not want to eat. I have about 30 3-4 inch Tilapia in the one tank and it just doesn't seem like they are eating much if any. Weissguy, I will look into your bog plant idea it sounds good. I have spent a lot of money so far so I am running out for now. There is a window that faces south just above the tanks on the wooden work bench. That would probably be a good place to put the bog set-up if I can afford it.

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oh, the thing that makes me think oxygen is low is that the fish are all stacked on the airstone. It is one of those green 10 inch traingle stones.

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John, thats about the same size pump I have for my one 100gal. tank, you might want to consider 1000gph to be safe.
Here's 2 test kits similar to the ones I use. Also besides ammonia, Nitrites and O2, keep an eye on the PH, I have to add small amounts of baking soda to the tank to keep the PH in range cause of low alkalinity.
http://www.petmountain.com/show_product/...utm_term=502167
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?s...ed=0CCYQ8gIwAg#



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Well I only have the one tank going right now. The PH tested at 7.0 to 7.5. Thanks for the links.

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If you do put floating bog type plants in I would recommend hyacinth or frogbit. But the key is harvesting them as they get bigger and keep the smaller new growth in there. You would be amazed how much crud those roots collect. But they will get long, and go to places you don't want them and overcrowd if you do not harvest often. Both types will send off multiple runners. Snap the runners off and toss the mother plant. Nice set up, I'm working on something similar but a bit larger scope.

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I guess you could always just put the plants in your shrimp tank for now. They won't mind at all. In fact, they'll like the plants in there.

It does sound like you may have a bit of an issue with low DO John. That, or maybe temperature is too low. Water is properly conditioned right? No chlorine? If the tanks were brand new, did you rinse them really well before filling? Some residues left on the tanks can cause issues. What temp are you running at right now? Those guys should be eating like crazy. Seriously, they're pigs. If they aren't eating aggressively, something's off.


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I added two more air pumps and they seem to be moving around the tank more ,but they still arent eating. The little ones I have in the house are tearing it up ,but the bigger ones don't seem to be interested in nothing. The temp is around 83 degrees. There may be chemical residue from the glue used to plumb the sytem. I figured if it was a problem it would have killed them ,but they seem fine accept for the eating issue. I also used some oil in the water pump as per directions for the initial start up and I know all that went into the water, about a tablespoon or so. Should I shut off that tank and move them to the second with fresh water? Not sure what to do, I guess I will have to get a test kit and see what it says.

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I doubt you have a DO problem. They are hanging over the bubbles because of another water quality issue. Remember, DO (Dissolved Oxygen)is not a bubble. I also have some concerns with your filter set up and pump sizing.

Keep us posted. It is not hard to kill everything the first time around.

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John it would probably be best to test the water as soon as possible then let Weissguy know what you found, he's got the experience with Tilapia.



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Yea, let me know as soon as you can John. If there is something bad enough about your water to keep your tilapia from eating, it's likely bad enough to kill most other kinds of fish. Tilapia are tough fish.


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 Originally Posted By: adirondack pond
John it would probably be best to test the water as soon as possible then let Weissguy know what you found, he's got the experience with Tilapia.


Tilapia are the easiest and most forgiving fish to raise in "yucky" water. I know a bit about this, but give it to Weissguy.

I would be interested in knowing how long it took the filter setup to kill everything.

Hope that was not too harsh!

Usually takes a couple days plus, to get fish to feed in tanks.

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It will probably be sometime this weekend before I can go to the pet store. I have to work this weekend starting tomorrow and I am at home with the 1 year old now. I hope it get's better for them.

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John the only short term possible help I can think of is a 20 or 30 percent water change, hope everything works out.



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 Originally Posted By: adirondack pond
John the only short term possible help I can think of is a 20 or 30 percent water change, hope everything works out.


Agreed. You might also grab a big box of zeolite when you get a chance too. Good insurance to have on hand.


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I don't waste time with 20-30% water changes---do 90%+ Twice!

DON"T reduce the ammonia---ELIMINATE it!

Water bad enough to stress tilapia with ammonia is caustic enough to actually dissolve the spine margins of the dorsal and tail fins of tilapia.

Here is what the fluidized bed sand filters I use allow me to do...2000 5 inch tilapia in a single 150 gallon aquarium---12 fish died in 10 days.




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You're saying that you kept 66# of fish in a 150 gallon tank for 10 days?

How much food were you throwing at them?


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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And what kind(s) of food?


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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With the right filter setup and pump. A typical starter RAS would handle 1/2 lb/gallon at 2%/body weight feed per day. You can however over feed and cause some major problems. That is why it is always nice to have a separate "Emergency Drain" for such occasions. The big boy's with the "Just Keep-em-Wet" systems can easily do 2lb+ per gallon.

If one wanted to raise or hold baitfish on the cheap. A bio-wheel filter or two would do the trick. The old 330's could easily handle 30 dozen or so 2.5-3" shiners in less than 15 gallons with minimal water changes. The new ones would probably do more.

JohnK:

What is the surface area of your bio-balls, just for one? I can crunch some numbers and give you a good idea on what you can raise.

A couple of suggestions: (as mentioned by others)
- Get a test kit and monitor

- Do some water changes on a regular basis as required. You may have to drain the system several times.

- Zeolite is a friend in early startup if stocking fish, so get enough. It can be reused later.

- Bio Bug inoculations are not always successful. Shelf life and storage before you get it are the main factors. There is a place in Maryland you can get fresh bug's from, but not on the cheap.

- If you want to. I would like to see your solids filter separated from your bio-filter. Reason is, in a recycle system it is imperative to remove solids very effectively, and on a regular basis. If not, you will never be able to control the Nitrogen Cycle. You will be culturing unwanted bacteria, like Heterotrophic and a high number of anaerobic bacteria. You want a healthy colony of aerobic bacteria. Otherwise, it will really stink while producing Hydrogen Sulfide and Methane, to name a few. Also, put your bio-balls in mesh bags. That way you can take them out and shake off the slough. (stagnant slimy stuff) Otherwise, the not so good bacteria will take over, killing the filter you really want.

- If you do decide to have separate filters. At least place an air stone in your submerged bio-filter. The good bug's need oxygen, plus this will help degass the system of CO2. You need to remove CO2 for your water to accept Oxygen. Water is a natural sink for CO2.

- Need a bigger pump in the future.

- Take it a step at a time \:\)

The list is quite exhaustive, beyond this post, and I hope I did not make your head hurt. But, with the other forum members suggestions and help, you are going to have a cool system.



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Damn rainman, you are my hero. That is incredible density. I agree about the ammonia. Fish just don't do well swimming around in their own urine. Can you enlighten me about your sand filters, photos, websites any info would be appreciated.

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Holding fish for 10 days with multiple 90% water changes is quite a different animal -vs- raising fish at the same density or even a bit higher for a starter system.

Really not that difficult. About as difficult as a productive garden.

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Anything can be difficult until you have successfully accomplished it. I have had too many projects blow up in my face to think otherwise.

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JKB, Tilapia are often raised at 5 pounds per gallon with heavy filtration. It's not easy by any means, but it is no longer uncommon either with space/cost restrictions in commercial settings. I also only do weekly water changes with this density and once every 2 months at densities under1 pound per gallon of water....tilapia are vastly fifferent than any other species of fish to raise. Filter cleaning at this densithy is a daily chore or clogging occurs. My water changes are only made for removing nitrate buildups. I only change outside of my regular intervals if I see a reduced interest in the Tilapia's typical voracious feeding frenzy----You get soaked putting feed in this tank!!!!

Scott, It is 245 pounds of tilapia in a 150 gallon aquarium....with the water diplaced by the fish, there is actually a little less than 120 gallons of water in the tank. The fish only average 5 inches but there are several hundred 7"+ fish for small pond stocking orders that come in.

Dave, I use nothing but Purina Aquamax. I use 5D00 fry powder, 5D01 Fry crumble, 5D04 1/16" sinking pellets, and 5D09 3/16" floating "Dense 4000" floating pellets.---5D00, 01,and 04 are all carnivorous blends and the Dense 4000 is an omnivoous blend specially for intensely stocked systems---All blends are COMPLETE diets---these are NOT intended as a supplement in a pond setting that would have a natural food source available. I feed between 2 and 8 pounds per day Dave, depending on what mood I'm in----I do NOT want these fish to grow! I keep them healthy, but keep the temps low and feed just enough to stop canniblism and keep growth at a minimum while maintaining their health and incredible disease immunity.



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Pond Frog,

In the tank pictured, I have a 40watt Uv sterilizer, 1 pentair FB-900 Fluidized Bed Sand Filter for ammonia/Nitrite removal, and 2 Marineland Magnum 350 cannister filters for solids removal and flow. For aeration, I only have two small bubblers that run 24/7.

When I put a huge new bioload in this system, it takes about 3 days for the bacteria to explode in growth in the sand filter before they can remove all the ammonia and food loads.

Bioballs are Okay for most setups, but sand filters have about 10,000 times the surface area and by bouncing around constantly in a fluidized state, dead bacteia is constantly knocked off the sand and a fresh bacteria growth substrate is always available---Bioballs are eficiant for only a short time before the dead bacteria reduces the available area for them to grow on.

Here is the 3 filters, before one went bad---you will see the Black case of the UV sterilizer at the bottom of the picture on the wall...The picture also shows containers of nearly unused Zeolite in the yellow cartons. Aquarium salt is in the blue carton.


This picture shows the lighting and when it was "planted" to raise CNBG and some FH and CC for fun...For Tilapia, I use NOTHING inside the tank to make them easier to net.


This final picture shows the Pentair FB-900 Fluidized Bed Sand filter (clear plastic with a blue top and bottom hanging on the back of the tank) and more plumbing and valving to control flow.




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Quite a setup.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Rainman, looks like you have a PHD in plumbing.



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AP, If by PHD, you mean Pretty Hastily Done, You are correct sir. ;\) \:\)



Honestly, I have to refrain from target practicing in the basement with all those muskrats behind the tank!

Last edited by Rainman; 03/21/10 02:01 PM. Reason: I just figured I would make the muskrat reference before someone else does


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Saa weet rainman. I am not very good at that type of arrangement yet. But the way things are going here, I will have to be soon. Thank you so much for the awesome write up and photos. I have a lot to learn, but have the eagerness to get there.

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 Originally Posted By: adirondack pond
Rainman, looks like you have a PHD in plumbing.


My thoughts too.


Get out and fish.
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Good news!!!! , my tilapia are eating like crazy! the water is crystal clear and the fish seem very happy. Thanks for all the good info guys. If and when I can afford to change my filter set-up I will post. I am so glad they are acting normal again. The filter has a chemical haze on the top of it's water. I think the filter took all of the chemical out of the fish tank and broke it down for the most part. Obviously something went right because they are tearing up the food!!!

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JKB ,I have no clue what the surface area is. There are about 3500 balls the size of a golfball with around 50-100 small spines sticking out of each ball. Rainman, that looks awesome I will have to look into the fluidized sand filter thanks for the great info. Weissguy, thanks for your advise also and the great fish that seem to be doing well for now. Let's hope there are no catastrophies like last year.

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Rainman you are my hero! Sweet setup.

Sorry for chiming in late on the bog filter, but I had to put in a recommendation for planting lettuce, herbs, even tomatoes to help filter out nitrates. I had a lot of fun last summer with a couple 100 gallon tanks and 40' of scrap plastic drain tile.

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Here are plans for a DIY fsf. I am in the process of making one of these so I cant comment on how effective they are, but it is less expensive than buying one.

http://www.aquariumlife.net/projects/diy-filter/10.asp

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 Originally Posted By: Rainman
Honestly, I have to refrain from target practicing in the basement with all those muskrats behind the tank!


Now that's funny... I don't care who you are!

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 Originally Posted By: JohnK
JKB ,I have no clue what the surface area is. There are about 3500 balls the size of a golfball with around 50-100 small spines sticking out of each ball. Rainman, that looks awesome I will have to look into the fluidized sand filter thanks for the great info. Weissguy, thanks for your advise also and the great fish that seem to be doing well for now. Let's hope there are no catastrophies like last year.


Bio balls work pretty well, and they are commonly used in greenwater growing systems for tilapia where other bio filtration methods would be difficult to impossible to use because of the massive collection of algae in the filters. Ideally, your bio ball filter should be it's own separate unit for easy cleaning and backwashing, but I think your filter will do fine for what you are wanting from it. Fluidized sand filters work tremendously well in my experience, but you have to be incredibly careful with them for the first 30-40 days of use as they can actually cause more issues than they are meant to fix in this time period. I have the same FSF as Rainman. They are pretty slick if used correctly, and for under $100 you can't really go wrong. A lot of people talk of tank-wide fish kills using FSF filters, and this is primarily due to the fact they didn't cycle them properly before putting massive loads on them. As long as they are properly cycled, they have a very unique ability of adapting to the bio load in your system extremely quickly. Not a lot of biofilters are so flexible, particularly for the footprint.

No problem John. Make sure to give me a call or email if you have any problems/issues. This new system you've got going should be a lot safer and reliable than the previous one. You'll have to come out to my new facility when it's finished. It will be geared primarily to hatchery type functions, but there will still be plenty of growout tanks too.


12 ac pond in NW Missouri. 28' max depth at full pool. Fish Present: LMB, BG, RES, YP, CC, WB, HSB, WE, BCP, WCP, GSH.
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well so far all is well in the garage system although my pump quit working already. I purchased a submersible 2400 gal per hor pump that cleared up the water within 5 minutes, wow what a difference. I lost thirty or so of the little guys in the 20 gal today. I think my daughter has been over feeding so I quickly changed 80 percent of the water and the rest seem to be doing ok. I plan to move the big ones to the second tank in the garage tomorrow if all goes well.

I would love to come see your new system when it's up and running. Let me know, Thanks John

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Hey John!

Just thought I'd bump this topic and see how things are going with your system. Fill us all in! smile


12 ac pond in NW Missouri. 28' max depth at full pool. Fish Present: LMB, BG, RES, YP, CC, WB, HSB, WE, BCP, WCP, GSH.
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