Aquaponics Tank Question

heatherleeufc

So I recently purchased and cycled a 3.5 gallon aquaponic tank for a Betta. I’ve never had an aquaponic tank before and I wonder if they require more water changes than just weekly changes because the plants are the filtration? My nitrate levels have been increasing over the past week even with weekly changes. My tank has live plants in it and gravel as the substrate so it’s not an option to use a gravel pump because of the space and plants getting disturbed. Does anyone have any experience with a small Aquaponics tank?
 

Thunder_o_b

Greetings and welcome to Fishlore

I can not help you with that one.

The smallest aquarium I keep is 10 gallons with a HOB filter.

Hopefully someone will be along shortly that can be of more help.
 

Joyii

I have a Topfin 5 gallon aquaponic tank for my betta that I got about a month ago and asked a similar question here. I was told by another user that how often the water should be changed depends, but should still be done as often as necessary. That and, you'll probably still want to vacuum up the poo and food scraps that may fall on to the gravel before they build up!

I have lucky bamboo as my plant as well as gravel, and I currently do one 30-40% water change weekly, topping off the tank every other day. My water quality has been okay, and my betta looks a lot healthier than he did in his Petsmart cup, which I take as a good sign!

This probably isn't the help you were looking for, but I thought I'd share my experience so far anyway. Hopefully, you get a better answer and good luck on your tank!
 

smee82

You should be fine with a weekly water change
 

heatherleeufc

I hadn’t been topping of my tank every other day so maybe I’ll try that as well and see if that helps. I have some lucky bamboo in mine but it’s mostly water
I have a Topfin 5 gallon aquaponic tank for my betta that I got about a month ago and asked a similar question here. I was told by another user that how often the water should be changed depends, but should still be done as often as necessary. That and, you'll probably still want to vacuum up the poo and food scraps that may fall on to the gravel before they build up!

I have lucky bamboo as my plant as well as gravel, and I currently do one 30-40% water change weekly, topping off the tank every other day. My water quality has been okay, and my betta looks a lot healthier than he did in his Petsmart cup, which I take as a good sign!

This probably isn't the help you were looking for, but I thought I'd share my experience so far anyway. Hopefully, you get a better answer and good luck on your tank!

I haven’t been topping off the water so I’ll try that. I have some lucky bamboo but I also have a lot of stem plants and they don’t seem to do so well being disturbed. I thought about putting a bubbler in the gravel before a water change to stir up waste before a water change. Ideas on that?
 

Joyii

I hadn’t been topping of my tank every other day so maybe I’ll try that as well and see if that helps. I have some lucky bamboo in mine but it’s mostly water


I haven’t been topping off the water so I’ll try that. I have some lucky bamboo but I also have a lot of stem plants and they don’t seem to do so well being disturbed. I thought about putting a bubbler in the gravel before a water change to stir up waste before a water change. Ideas on that?

My tank has some openings along the front and back edge, so I think my tank may be evaporating faster than yours. I have a little plastic betta leaf that's suction cupped on to the side of my tank that I use as a kind of "measure" to see how low the water has gone. I keep the water an inch and a half above the leaf at all times since the leaf acts as my betta's bed!

I'm not sure on the bubbler though, I use a siphon for my water changes so I directly vacuum the gravel. Though I actually just googled it and apparently bubblers would still be beneficial to both of our tanks because they'll oxygenize the water, which is more important for tanks that don't have a proper filtration system. Now that I know this, I'll probably invest in a small bubbler for my own tank haha
 

Sean Smith

So if it’s just the plant doing all the filtration . It typically can’t take care of all the gunk that is made . Therefore larger amount of nitrates . As long as ammonia and nitrite are zero . Then I recommend getting a quick growing plant to help absorb the nitrates and cut it down to the size you like when it grows too long . ( typically faster growing aquatic plants absorb and use nitrates faster )(couple examples . Anarchis . Duck weed )
 

Aquilist

Is that the "Back to the roots" aquaponics tank?
 

heatherleeufc

So if it’s just the plant doing all the filtration . It typically can’t take care of all the gunk that is made . Therefore larger amount of nitrates . As long as ammonia and nitrite are zero . Then I recommend getting a quick growing plant to help absorb the nitrates and cut it down to the size you like when it grows too long . ( typically faster growing aquatic plants absorb and use nitrates faster )(couple examples . Anarchis . Duck weed )


I have some water wisteria and it’s doing great in the tank and seems to be growing fast and some small grasslike plant that is starting to spread but I was worried about having too many plants in the tank because of its size and then decreasing the space for the Betta. The tank does a have a built in pump that is supposed to pull water from the tank through a cylinder in the tank to the roots of the plants in the top and then back out again. I’m just not sure if it’s working effectively. I’ll try to get some anarchis though and grow it and just move the excess to my 55 gallon tank. Thanks!
 

emerald6

Once you get the money and/or space to do so, buy a 10 gallon tank for your betta and turn the 3.5 gallon tank into a shrimp tank!
 

bitseriously

In order to get the best out of this concept, you need a air-growing plant in the top chamber, and you need it to be growing well. Submerged plants simply won't capture enough nitrogen to really affect water chemistry here. Pothos is one that is known to do this well, others are things like sweet potato vine, and arrowheads. But you might try something like anubias, just recognize that what you buy from the fish store might lose all its leaves before new ones that are adapted to out-of-water growth emerge. And it might not be as fast growing as you want.
But ultimately, your water change schedule should be based on nitrate levels. For your fish, you should keep nitrates at 20ppm and lower. How long does it take to get to that level? I don't know. Do you have a test kit? Also, the answer to this may change over time; as the plants both in and out of the water grow, they will use more nitrates, and you might be able to stretch you water change interval. But again, it should be based on testing.
In theory, you could probably change your water almost every day, and still have enough nitrates to fuel plant growth. Just so long as they never fall to zero.
But will this type of tank take the place of good aquarium practices, including regular water changes? No.
 

txunamy

HI there,
I'm new to keeping a freshwater tank, and have had this tank running for about a month. I'd like to introduce some shrimp, maybe start with some ghost shrimp so I'm not spending a lot while I learn, and eventually get some cherry shrimp or blue dreams. I have live plants, moss balls, and 3 nerite snails.

The tank seems to be cycled, its been running for about a month. I've done 3 water changes (about 30% each time). I've attached some pictures of my tank, it's a 3 gallon aquaponics tank from Back to The Roots. There's microgreens growing out of the top, and the roots act as a biofilter. The aquatic plants are all doing well and putting on new growth and roots. I have: Bolbitis heteroclita (has formed new little baby plantlets on the leaves!), Alternanthera reineckiI mini, Ludwigia arcuatea, lacey javafern, Abubias microcarpaea minima, and a few moss balls . I add Flourish drops for micronutrients (6 drops every other day or so) for the plants. And when I do water changes I use aquarium salt (1/2 tsp/gallon). I'm going to get a couple oak leaves tomorrow, boil them and add to the tank.

Before I get shrimp, is there anything else you all think I should do? Anything you'd recommend with keeping shrimp/snails in this tank?

Thanks for your feedback, looking forward to your thoughts here.
 

Attachments

  • 20200323_142521.jpg
    20200323_142521.jpg
    68.7 KB · Views: 62
  • 20200323_142540.jpg
    20200323_142540.jpg
    61 KB · Views: 60

Blueberrybetta

Shrimps need atleast a 6month old established tank to fully thrive, make sure a nice biofilm is available for them to eat and to make sure the tank is fully cycled. Shrimps are very, very very sensitive, more sensitive than fish. You will have to drip acclimate them, not just float or pour them in. Also if not already , you'll need a gh/kh test too as its more needed for shrimp, any gh/kh swings can kill shrimp. A newly set up tank can also stress the shrimp put and cause death. Just a heads up though. But while you do wait for your tank to establish, you can read more into the care for shrimp !
 

yeti79

Everything Blueberrybetta said is good advice. I would recommend starting with cherry shrimp because ghost shrimp are usually in poor condition due to being consider just feeders. If you start with 6 you'll have a tankful in a couple months. Do you have CO2 and high water flow? Bolbitis heteroclita is difficult to grow submersed, most do not have success! Maybe add some chollo wood and alder cones to your tank a bit before you add the shrimps. Might want to make a rock cave or put in a decoration for them to hide in too
 

txunamy

Oh wow, 6 months is long time! Blueberrybetta , I had no idea. In all the research (reading and videos) I've done no one has said a shrimp tank needs to be run that long before adding shrimp. Yikes.

The tank has a nice biofilm. I'll get the gh/kh test.

yeti79, I don't have added CO2. Is this something that's necessary? I don't think the water flow is high, necessarily...not sure how I would measure this? I'll make some more spots for the shrimp to hide. If I'm putting oak leaves in, do I also need to find alder cones...don't they do similar things with adding tannins and conditioning the water?

Thanks for your help you guys!! I'm a plant scientist so my focus has really been the plants, but excited to learn more about the invertebrates.

Also, if there's other/better options for other critters to have in this tank in addition to the nerite snails I'm all ears. Other snails? Maybe shrimp aren't the best option? I'm a little hesitant to get fish, I don't want to kill them, and the tank isn't very big so not sure they would be very happy.
Thanks for your advice and thoughts!
 

EbiAqua

Six months is pretty long, but shrimp tanks do need some time to mature. I allow my shrimp tanks to cycle and establish plant growth, then give them another 4-6 weeks before adding my shrimp. This seems to be enough time for the tank to balance and for biofilm to accumulate.

Shrimp are very rewarding, and cherries will thrive in almost any water parameters provided their water is kept clean.
 

wisecrackerz

Woah, I have a similar "back to the roots" brand aquaponics tank, but always struggled with the lack of inner lighting. What are you using? Looks great.
 

yeti79

@yeti79, I don't have added CO2. Is this something that's necessary? I don't think the water flow is high, necessarily...not sure how I would measure this? I'll make some more spots for the shrimp to hide. If I'm putting oak leaves in, do I also need to find alder cones...don't they do similar things with adding tannins and conditioning the water?
You do not need to add alder cones at all. They do look nice, add tannins to the water, and will do the same as the oak leaves. Shrimp will enjoy grazing on the biofilm on the cones too. For the Bolbitis heroclita everything I've found growth is optimal by supplying a current, CO2 and soft, slightly acidic water. So high current was a bad way to word it should have said good water flow in your aquarium. Bolbitis Heteroclita is more suitable to be planted emersed in paludariums rather than submerged in an aquarium. Hopefully you have success with it and if not java fern trident and Bolbitis heudelotiI would be good similar alternatives.
 

txunamy

Woah, I have a similar "back to the roots" brand aquaponics tank, but always struggled with the lack of inner lighting. What are you using? Looks great.
Thanks so much! For the aquarium light I'm using an 18cm blue/white waterproof LED. You can find it here: . I wish it was brighter, and was thinking of getting another one, but it's good for now
For the lights over the plants on top I got these bendable white LEDs: Amazon.com : Giixer LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants, 15000Lux Sunlike Full Spectrum Grow Lamp, Professional for Seedling Growing Blooming Fruiting, (Dual Head Full Spectrum) : Garden & Outdoor

You do not need to add alder cones at all. They do look nice, add tannins to the water, and will do the same as the oak leaves. Shrimp will enjoy grazing on the biofilm on the cones too. For the Bolbitis heroclita everything I've found growth is optimal by supplying a current, CO2 and soft, slightly acidic water. So high current was a bad way to word it should have said good water flow in your aquarium. Bolbitis Heteroclita is more suitable to be planted emersed in paludariums rather than submerged in an aquarium. Hopefully you have success with it and if not java fern trident and Bolbitis heudelotiI would be good similar alternatives.
Thanks! The Boblitis heteroclita is doing great, good color, new plantlets on 5 leaves, and it's put on 3 new leaves coming from the base since I've had it...so I'd say it's very happy , not worried about it at all. I have good water flow and my pH is 7.0-7.2. I mounted it on a shell, it's not planted in the substrate, and it has new roots as well. Yay!
 

magentatooth

:/ so I just move my amano and ghost shrimp between tanks with just a few media from another tank, I haven’t lost any and moved them three or so times.

So I think they can live without a biofilm and six month setup.

I would suggest though to reconsider a no lid tank (no experience of this directly but advised they can crawl out)
 

txunamy

:/ so I just move my amano and ghost shrimp between tanks with just a few media from another tank, I haven’t lost any and moved them three or so times.

So I think they can live without a biofilm and six month setup.

I would suggest though to reconsider a no lid tank (no experience of this directly but advised they can crawl out)

Glad you've had success with your transfers. Did you do a drip acclimation? My tank has a lid, so all good there. The nerite snails I have also will find their way out if I didn't have a lid. Sneaky little guys.
 

magentatooth

The first three moves I did them in a freezer bag for temperature, a few cupfulls over half an hour then release, the latest move I just netted them over (it was a Covid move so I had to move all my tanks asap in a day (I have four and 78 fish), couldn't save any water for any tanks, but everyone has survived (so far) even though they all had a 95-100% water change in a day.
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
3
Views
318
Beermann
Replies
4
Views
535
skilletlicker
Replies
24
Views
2K
fa4960
Replies
1
Views
671
Zigi Zig
Replies
4
Views
739
Al913

Random Great Thread!

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom