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Clear Water I Can't See Through?

Discussion in 'General Aquaponics discussion - Aquaponics system ' started by JoshuaAP, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. JoshuaAP

    JoshuaAP New Member

    Joined:
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    Country:
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    FL
    City:
    TAMPA
    Hi Everyone,
    I've finally got my IBC aquaponic system up and running. It's a total of around 400 gallons with mechanical aeration. It incorporates a 30 gallon cone bottom settling tank with a in-line backup 200 micron screen filter before the water enters a 55 gallon bio barrel with K1 biomedia. From there to a 55 gallon barrel sump. The 500gph water pump diverts a portion of the water to NFT pipes hung on the wall. The whole systems cycles around once per hour. The solids are removed through a version of a SLO along the bottom of the IBC that exits out the built-in drain out of the IBC. The systems has been running for 2 months. The systems was started with 32 tilapia that were less then 1 gram each when they arrived. They're currently around 20-22 grams each on average. No death currently. All doing great. Very active and eating well. Also, the system is outdoors but has a full roof covering with 3 exterior wall wrapped 4 mil plastic.

    Here's my issue (see attached pictures): After 2 months, the water is clear when I when fill a clear 2 quart pitcher yet I can't see more then a few inches down into the fish tank.

    What's happening? I doubt it's algae build up. Not only is the system very well shaded from the sun; the IBC is coated black on the outside to limit light penetration and algae growth. But the black outside never prevented viability at all (see picture: water clarity 3). It's a bad picture but gets the point across.

    I thought it might be finer suspended solids that the 200 micron screen could still be missing, so I created another temporary 50 micron screen filter with materials I already had laying around. Yes, it removes a little. But not much. Not enough to make any real difference.

    So, what's this clear water that I can't see through???? Doesn't make sense. Please help. Thanks.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Yabbies4me

    Yabbies4me Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Joshua, Welcome to the forum.

    What is your Ammonia level, pH and water temp?

    What, if anything, have you added in the way of seaweed extract etc for the plants?
     
  3. JoshuaAP

    JoshuaAP New Member

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    We're in mid-summer here in Florida, USA. The water temp is averaging around 85F (in a non-insulated IBC). I'm highly considering either building a DIY chiller or purchasing on but it's really expensive. Thankfully, there's no plants in the NFT yet. Dissolved Oxygen is over 6.5ppm. pH is 7.2-7.4ppm (would like a little lower though). Nitrate around 40ppm (hard to tell exactly when matching with color chart). Nitrites under 1ppm. Ammonia near 0ppm. When I get home from work today, I'll get updated specs but these here have been pretty consistent as of late. Also, the only substance ever added was some a little Epson salt at one point. Nothing else has ever been added.

    Also, the fish are being fed with Purina AquaMax feed right now around 20-22 grams/day, which is already below recommendations, to avoid overfeeding. I work full time, so the fish are fed via a 12 hour automatic belt feeder with feedings spaced out every few hours. I hope to transition to duckweed and other self growth alternatives.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  4. JoshuaAP

    JoshuaAP New Member

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    Well, I've gotten home and here are today's test results:

    Temp: 84F
    pH: 7.0-7.2
    Ammonia: ~.1ppm
    Nitrite: ~.8ppm
    Nitrate: ~75-100ppm
    D.O.: 6.2ppm
    TDS: 375ppm

    Note: I just realized I accidentally swamped nitrates and nitrites in the previous post. I've edited that to make it read correctly.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  5. JBC

    JBC Member

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    Hi Josh, I am new to AP but could it be you have slight tannins in your water, this is normally caused by decaying vegetation.

    My water in my AP is quite tannin from my rain water having leaf litter in it[​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. JoshuaAP

    JoshuaAP New Member

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    Hi JBC. There's no vegetation in the system yet.

    Today marks the day the fish have been in the system for 8 weeks and I just finished weighing them. Very pleased with the results. The method I use is to pump the water out into barrels, to save the water. I observed that when the water was around 60% pumped out I could see the bottom fairly well with pretty clean floor. A little debris but nothing to be concenred about at all. The filtration is working very well. The water is nice light tea color. So, this leaves me even more puzzled. However, the fish have growth exponentially over that last 2 weeks. So, it can't be all that bad to not see the bottom. hahaha. I'd just like to be able to see the fish activity at all times. Maybe it's just a personal preference I just can't have.
     
  7. JBC

    JBC Member

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    I had the same problem with mine, that's why I added the Perspex window in. I now can see the whole tank [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. JoshuaAP

    JoshuaAP New Member

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    What do you think is happening? I'm okay with it now, just really curious.
     
  9. Yabbies4me

    Yabbies4me Administrator Staff Member

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    Two things sprang to mind... An elevated Ammonia level in the water will make it cloudy, or some people over do it with seaweed extract when first starting out.
     
  10. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Good looking water. Nice window JBC.
     
  11. Wee

    Wee New Member

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    Hi Murray, my system took on the same appearance about 4 weeks after I introduced earthworms. They have multiplied and I am wondering if the colour could be due to worm tea?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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