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Aquaponics Buddha Meditation Tank

Discussion in 'All Questions from Newbies' started by Kayte, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Kayte

    Kayte Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I need some advice to set up my aquarium correctly. I have a 40 gallon breeder tank. I have a friend that is building me a custom stand for it so that I can kneel in front of it and use the tank as a meditation tool. I want to decorate the tank with rocks, a buddha statue (which I already have), and plants. I want to make this tank as low maintenance as possible. So thus I am having my friend build me an planter box that will sit above the tank and use aquaponics to filter the water and also add some green growing plants that again I don't have to do much with. I don't have to worry about watering these plants or fertilizer, etc. And I get the added benefit of filtering the aquarium water. I plan to use lucky bamboo and pathos in the aquaponics box.

    Now here are my questions. I want to keep the plants that I put into the tank of asian origin. I want to plant the tank heavily with plants let it stabilize / cycle before adding goldfish. I like the look of sand. I was initially thinking of doing a dirted tank and capping it with sand. I have been researching how to mineralize soil and I am now thinking it might not be worth the work. I am kinda of getting impatient. It is winter here in Salt Lake City and I would have to dry the soil out in my apartment. Furthermore, I have a tribe of cats that live outside my apartment. I am afraid that if I even do decide to be patient and start this project in the summer so I can mineralize the soil outside in the dry hot air of Salt Lake City, the cats might use the dirt that I spread out on a tarp in my parking space as a litter box. So now I am thinking of using ADA aquasoil amazonia normal or amazonia powder and capping it with black sand. Then I will decor the tank with the buddha a few rocks and a lot of plants and let the plants grow and the tank stabilize for a few months. I do plan on having a cleanup crew of malaysian trump snails and amano shrimp. I plan to add these little guys first and then add the goldfish a few weeks later. I would like to know all you experienced goldfish keepers thoughts on this plan.

    Furthermore, I have been also thinking about buying a canister filter to supplement the aquaponics box filter. What are your thoughts on this? Is it a good idea or do you think in might be overkill.

    I thank all for your responses in advance. I look forward to reading them.

    Cheers,
    Kayte
     
  2. wizard

    wizard Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    if you chose to ADA aquasoil amazonia, please make sure you give atleast 8 weeks before adding fish... ADA aquasoil amazonia release ammonia in the first few weeks to the extent of 6ppm

    Also from my experience, it needs a lots of daily care, like removing old leaves and water change a bit difficult...
    Carpeting plants are very difficult, goldfish tend to munch on them and adding Co2 is very dangerous as goldfish needs a lots of o2.

    here is my setup....
    n8.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
    CaliGold likes this.
  3. Joshua's golds

    Joshua's golds Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2015
    Location:
    St Petersburg, florida
    Kayte, make sure your Buddha statue is fish safe, sold to be placed in aquariums. I had a great Chinese Foo Dog statue to put in my beta tank years ago, it leached a chemical in the water killing my beta... Learned this lesson the hard way, thought I would share. Good luck, I have no experience with planted tanks so can't give you any insight on that.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    I have had a number of dirted tanks and never mineralized - just used sifted, pesticide and fertilizer free soil from my yard. I pick areas that have little organic matter or compost (like not the vegetable garden). I've always had success with this method and feel that the mineralizing craze is itself overkill and unnecessary.
    Have you read Diana Walstads book "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium"? Highly recommend!

    I like your ideas on the meditation tank.
     
  5. Kayte

    Kayte Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Thanks Wizard for sharing that photo. I do intend to let the aquarium and plants stabalize / cycle before adding any animal to the tank. It is good to know that it will take 6 to 8 weeks if I use the amazonia. I don't intend on using carpeting plants at this time. I do know that goldfish like to munch on plants. I hope to have the plants well established before adding the goldfish. I also thought of add some floating plants with the hope that the goldfish will much on them and not the rooted plants. I have also read several articles one setting up an aquaponic system with goldfish. Most don't do lots of water changes; maybe once every few months. There have even been a few youtube videos I have watched where the person creating the video say they have never done water changes. They just add water to make up for what evaporates. Hence why I like this concept. But given how "dirty" goldfish seem to be, I wonder if having an aquaponics system that covers the entire length of the aquarium will be enough to filter the water. That is why I was asking about adding a canister filter to my set up to supplement the aquaponics planter. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    Joshua, I am so sorry to read about your betta. That is just terrible. I do know that the buddha statue that I have is fish safe. I had a fish tank with a betta, some cory cats, various platies, and guppies with this buddha statue. They all were healthy and happy for six months. Then I decided to change it up with this entire aquaponics buddha meditation goldfish tank and I found all those fish new homes. But thank you for the warning. I would have been devastated if I spend all this time, money, and energy and then have my goldfish die on me. That would be awful.

    Ci... I thought mineralizing soil was a craze. I just happened across some articles on the benefits of using mineralize soil. There seems to be a consensus that planted tanks with mineralized soil will have lower algae outbreaks. I have indeed read Diane Walsted book, "Ecology of the Planted Tank". You are right that it is a great book. Maybe I need to go back and read again about algae blooms. Perhaps it is just part of the tank stabilization process? That once there are no more outbreaks and the water quality is good, then it is time to add the fish? Does anyone have thoughts on this? I would love to hear it.

    Cheers,
    Kayte
     
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  6. Joshua's golds

    Joshua's golds Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2015
    Location:
    St Petersburg, florida
    Sounds like ur Buddha is safe for the fishes


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Algae outbreaks depend on your soils nutrient content. I try to use soil with minimal organics, as I mentioned, which helps. If you plant very heavily right from the start, algea is often not much of a problem - that is really the key.
    Since it sounds problematic for you to wait and do your drying outside in the summer, just skipping that step is certainly an option, is all I'm saying.

    If you do a Walstad style tank (yes, reread the book and follow her setting up advice!) plus an aquaponics tray on top, it will be a sweet setup. No cannister needed and probably minimal water changes. I never changed the water on my planted tanks, but didn't have goldfish in them - they were very lightly stocked - with goldies, some greater maintenance and care will be needed, I would think.
     
  8. wizard

    wizard Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Yes I do use canister filter. And I feel it is good to have a canister filter and extra filteration is always good and specially with goldfish.
    New planted tanks gets algae blooms, because there are lots of nutrients are present in the substrate and plants are new and not rooted/established.
    Having fast growing stem plants and floating plants helps to remove excess nutrients from water. Goldfish specially generate a lot of nitrates and phosphates which os very good for plants...
    I also have some water hyacinth, which is very good at removing excess nutrients.
    You can add the fish once the tank is cycled, need not wait for the algae to die down...
     
  9. shakaho

    shakaho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Orlando FL
    Aquaponics people say the ratio of plant grow bed to fish tank volume should be 1:1. Of course they stock at high levels compared to what you probably have. Nevertheless, much of what I have seen in aquarium aquaponics systems have very small grow beds and no biofilter. These probably work fine with a tank of little tropicals, but appear underfiltered for goldfish.

    Of course some people brag of keeping goldfish in such systems and not changing water. Well, many people have kept goldfish in 2 gallon bowls with no filter for years and even decades. On the other hand I have advised one woman on her aquarium aquaponics system, which had quite large grow beds (not close to 1:1), and goldfish stocked at aquarium levels. She had illnesses and deaths one after the other, and each time I told her the same thing -- more water changes and a biofilter between the tank and the grow bed. After losing a half dozen fish, she broke down and added the biofilter. I haven't heard of a problem since.

    Yes, use a canister filter, and have it outflow into the plant bed. Plants want the nitrates that come out of your biofilter.
     
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  10. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    There is no such thing as a "maintenance free" aquarium. A large portion of good husbandry, is regular water changes, and filter cleanings.

    Also, when I had trumpet snails, my goldfish kept nipping at them, and they (the snails) seemed scared a good portion of the time. And for the shrimp, they will likely disappear after introducing Goldfish into the aquarium.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
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  11. Kayte

    Kayte Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Fishheadz... thank you for your comments I realize there is no such thing as a "maintenance free" aquarium especially with goldfish. However, I want to set it up so it can be as self contained as possible.

    Shakaho... I want to thank you for your advice as well. I do have a follow up question about the idea of having the outflow of the canister filter into the plant bed. I can't believe I didn't think of that idea in the first place. As I understand a canister filter can do mechanical and biological filtration. Mechanical filtration removes debris from the water column, correct? It won't suck up fish poo. However, if I have the aquarium itself heavily stocked with plants, the fish poo will fertilize the plants, correct? So although I do acknowledge that it might be good to vacuum the tank once in a while I would not have to do it as much if I had no plants in the tank whatsoever, correct? So the canister filter will do biological filtration taking out the ammonia in the water, change it into nitrites and then nitrates. Then I can outflow the water into the plant bed and use the roots to the plants to remove nitrates from the water. I was reading that for the most parts canisters do not have a very strong pump so I am worried that the strength of the pump in a canister filter will not be strong enough to pump the water in the canister up to the plant bed. What are your thoughts on this? Furthermore I had planned to use a bell siphon to aerate the plant roots in the plant bed. I read that it is not necessarily a good thing to have a plants roots constantly submerged. So can you put a canister on a timer like you can with a pond pump? Prior to your comment about having the outflow of the canister to the plant bed, my plan was to have a pond pump on a timer pump water into the plant bed. And then I was just going to install the canister with the outflow directly into the aquarium. Given my questions and thoughts would you still recommend having the outflow to the canister go into the plant bed as opposed to the aquarium?

    I encourage others to answer my questions too! The information people are volunteering is so very helpful!

    Cheers,
    Kayte
     
  12. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
     
  13. shakaho

    shakaho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Orlando FL
    In order to answer some of your questions, I have to know how you plan the set up. How big is your grow bed? Where is it relative to the tank? On a shelf? Resting on the top of the tank?

    If you are growing pothos and lucky bamboo, you don't have to worry about draining the grow bed. These plants will grow with their roots in the aquarium if you give them some support, so they will be fine in you grow bed. As terrestrial plants, they want nitrate as their nitrogen source and use a lot of it. In contrast, if you grew vegetables in the bed, you might need either a fill and drain system, or aeration of the water going into the grow bed.

    I strongly recommend this grow medium. It's super light, holds air and water very well, and, as a recycled product, is "green." You can set your stand pipe 2" below the top of the medium, and the medium will be moist all the way to the top. This allows the plant to keep its roots above the water level if it prefers.

    If you want the nitrate efficiently removed from your water, you want the water with the highest concentration of nitrate -- that coming from your biofilter -- to go to the grow bed so the plants can slurp up the nitrate.

    I'm strictly a pond person, and don't have any canister filters, but I know people put canisters below their tanks and they can lift the water up to the top of a tall tank. Unless you have your plant box far above the tank it shouldn't be a problem.
     

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