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Thread: Hydroponics and koi ponds - Who is doing this!!

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    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
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    Hydroponics and koi ponds - Who is doing this!!

    One of the emerging topics being tossed around is hooking up a hydroponics component to a koi pond. Is anyone doing this? Please post photos and describe your experience good or bad.

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    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayJordan View Post
    One of the emerging topics being tossed around is hooking up a hydroponics component to a koi pond. Is anyone doing this? Please post photos and describe your experience good or bad.
    Interesting post Ray. I also am interested in finding out successes in this area. I was thinking along the line of aquaponics though, as hydroponics involve the use of synthetic fertilizers. What has kept me from going into it is that the pond water, even with the presence of nitrates, hasn't really given me a thriving crop of watercress, or water celery. I feel that it could be the pond water pH not being conducive to the absorption of iron by these plants, which becomes a limiting factor. I considered adding iron chelates to the pond water, but feared that adding it might affect the development of koi. Have heard anecdotes of iron causing shimmies, for example.

    I'm going to have to do a test on an aquaponics setup with my 75-gallon aquarium first, and see what effect it would have on koi. It would have to be a long-term test though.

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    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    There is a thread on another board about setting up an aquaponic system for a backyard garden using pond water. I did not follow it closely. There were multiple tubs for raising garden vegetables set up, with pond water flowing through them as part of the filtration system. It seemed like a lot of plumbing, work and expense. More sensible to me are the commercial aquaculture operations where plant crops can be grown simultaneously to maximize revenue per square foot.

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    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    It would be nice if we could figure out raising show koi using aquaponic filters, partly or wholly. Since we spare no expense on care for our koi, it would be a nice side benefit to have some strawberries and lettuce at our dinner table. But that would be a stretch. Ok, pond koi, not show koi.

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    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    I have started setting up an aquaponic system, but have not installed the plant portion of it yet. My father currently has a system that is connected to his small pond system, but his water quality for his koi is not something that I would be happy with. His supply of vegetables are great though. Green onions, lettuce, mizuna, basil, etc. Even golden tilapia perch has been harvested (in separate water areas).

    For me, my thinking was not necessarily to connect the system to my pond system, but to Re-Use the water that I dispose of when doing water changes each week. I just wanted to see if I could minimize the amount of water wasted to the lawn and bugs and worms. In the process, try and get something back from the koi in the form of fresh vegetables (like my pops). I've kind of stalled on the grow beds because my 400 gallon system has been such a great QT system for some koi put-outs (pond too small), hahaha. I thought about farming tilapia to eat, but I think I'll enjoy growing out the tateshita more. The so called "aquaponics" system is piped to be a stand alone, I can transfer pond filter chamber water to the first stage filter chamber for the QT system, and then the secondary J-Mats, biological filter and UV before it gets to go back into the "aquaponics" pond. I need to figure a way to run the water through the grow-beds and then into the tank area. I'm not sure if the biological system I already have in place will strip too much of the nutrients out of the water for the plants. As it is, with the filter system on the QT, my water is testing out at zero, zero, zero...I guess I'll need to stock up on more fish...

    I'll have to try and find time to get my grow beds in place before the end of November so I can have freshly grown Mizuna for my New Years Shogatsu. Ozone for all!

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    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Akai-san, so good to know we share an interest in aquaponics. The good thing is that your system is mechanically filtering off the waste solids before reaching the grow bed. This is a lot better than most of the aquaponics videos and lessons I've seen. It keeps you from having to clean the grow bed of gunk, and keeps it from harboring unfriendly bacteria that would harm your koi.

    Since you have the bio-filters also, I'm thinking that your grow bed is only getting nitrates and that it's doing a great job cleaning up the nitrates. So you need more Koi to feed the plants is what you're saying. Great! How are your plants doing? Is it getting enough iron though? I ask because I have problems with my plants yellowing, although I'm only talking about my experience with watercress on my veggie filter pond, which isn't a grow bed used in aquaponics. I'm kinda stuck not wanting to proceed setting up aquaponics since I don't know how to deal with the iron deficiency. Putting iron chelated on the pond water may work, but comes at a possible cost of affecting Koi development.

    I have the same idea as yours of using the QT pond for aquaponics. For one, it's a good starting point. Your main pond isn't affected, and this keeps you from risking your most prized koi. Secondly, the QT tank gives you a pilot system to test some ideas. You put a smaller scale effort, you get some ideas tested, and when you've sorted it out, you can scale up.

    One thing I thought you could try before adding more fish is to remove the bio-filter to see if the grow bed can do better just taking in the ammonia. And another thing to try is to try out this anoxic filter within the grow bed to add absorbable iron to the growbed: Backyard Aquaponics • View topic - RSG Filter Construction

    BTW, my would-be QT tank is a lot smaller, just 150 gallons. And I'm still figuring out how to incorporate aquaponics into it.

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    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post

    I have the same idea as yours of using the QT pond for aquaponics. For one, it's a good starting point. Your main pond isn't affected, and this keeps you from risking your most prized koi. Secondly, the QT tank gives you a pilot system to test some ideas. You put a smaller scale effort, you get some ideas tested, and when you've sorted it out, you can scale up.

    One thing I thought you could try before adding more fish is to remove the bio-filter to see if the grow bed can do better just taking in the ammonia. And another thing to try is to try out this anoxic filter within the grow bed to add absorbable iron to the growbed: Backyard Aquaponics • View topic - RSG Filter Construction

    BTW, my would-be QT tank is a lot smaller, just 150 gallons. And I'm still figuring out how to incorporate aquaponics into it.
    I don't have any grow beds in place yet with my QT. Just playing with water for now. I have been doing some reading on the anoxic filters within the grow bed, but not sure if the media is any cleaner or less cumbersome as the volcanic rock chips. One of the items in question is the space requirements between the two. I live on an old extinct volcano so lava rock is cheap and readily available. I'm kind of thinking of upgrading or adding to pond size instead......

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    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akai-San View Post
    I don't have any grow beds in place yet with my QT. Just playing with water for now. I have been doing some reading on the anoxic filters within the grow bed, but not sure if the media is any cleaner or less cumbersome as the volcanic rock chips. One of the items in question is the space requirements between the two. I live on an old extinct volcano so lava rock is cheap and readily available. I'm kind of thinking of upgrading or adding to pond size instead......
    What do you mean by "space requirements between the two?"

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    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    What do you mean by "space requirements between the two?"
    I just think one requires more space then the other. Trying to determine the best and most efficient use of square footage. I have my sights on a 800 gallon QT now so I can start stacking the grow bed on the 300 gallon QT

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    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akai-San View Post
    I just think one requires more space then the other. Trying to determine the best and most efficient use of square footage. I have my sights on a 800 gallon QT now so I can start stacking the grow bed on the 300 gallon QT
    How is the setup for the 300gal QT? Submersible pump from QT to filter (mechanical+bio) to grow bed and back to QT using a bell siphon?

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