Aquaponics Tank Question

heatherleeufc

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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

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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

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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!
 
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heatherleeufc

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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

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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

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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 )
 
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heatherleeufc

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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!
 

bitseriously

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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.
 
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