FAQ

  • 1. Fish
  • 2. Plants
  • 3. System
  • 4. Water
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  • 1. Where can I buy fish for my system?
     

    Local hatcheries are a good choice because they are convenient and can be a good resource on fish related questions.  More and more hatcheries are offering shipping, this means you can find and buy

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  • 2. Are there regulations on fish that I should know about?
     

    Each state and even counties have different regulations.  Contact your local department of fish and

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  • 3. My fish are dying - What do I do?
     

    Start by narrowing down the cause by checking each variable.  Look at the fish in detail to determine if it is a disease or pest.  Check the fish to see if they have any characteristics that are not normal to their

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  • 4. When can I harvest the fish?
     

    The context in what you are doing with the fish is a big factor in harvest weight.  Fish species, harvest

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  • 5. How many fish can the system support?
     

    There are a lot of discrepancies on the internet regarding this question.  A safe range is 1 pound of

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  • 6. What do I feed the fish?
     

    Most species of fish have a specific food that is available in the market place.  Warm water fish i.e. tilapia

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  • 7. What fish can I put in the system?
     

    Many types of fish have been successfully grown in aquaponics systems.  The type of fish depends on what you want to do with them.  Are they going to be used as a food source or just as the fertilizer for the

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  • 8. How long can the fish go without food?
     

    Fish can handle several days without food, but in the aquaponics setting the fish food is the only input into the system.  This input is what supplies the fish with food and the plants with nutrients.  Bacteria

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  • 9. Can I use fish that didn’t come from a hatchery?
     

    Disease and pest free fish are key to a sustainable system.  Getting fish from hatcheries is the best way to reduce the risk of disease and pests from getting into the system.  Look for hatcheries that are certified

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  • 10. Can I put fish in the system right away?
     

    Depends on what is meant by "right away".  Typically, tap water is used to fill the system and tap water contains chlorine.  Chlorine concentration can be dangerous, to the fish, if it is too high with in the

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  • 11. Why can’t I use antibacterial treatments on the fish?
     

    Typically, antibacterial treatments use a blanket approach and are not targeted to specific bacteria species.  In turn if you use antibacterial treatments you will be killing the bacteria that are processing the

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  • 1. What types of plants can I grow in an aquaponics system?
     

    Most plants can be grown aquaponically.  Limitations arise due to the need for stability.  Float

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  • 2. Do some plants grow better in the float or media bed?
     

    There are a couple factors that go into this.  First, stability of the plant will dictate what is possible.  Some plants will just be too top heavy for the float bed to support i.e. tomatoes and peppers.  Second,

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  • 3. Can I use pesticides?
     

    It is not recommended unless there has been research on the product and it is listed for aquatic use.  The reason being is many of the pesticides will be harmful to the fish and bacteria.  Aquaponics is the

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  • 4. How do I control and/or fix a bug problem?
     

    Exclusion is the best preventative action.  This is done with a combination, depending on setting, of insect screens on all openings, reduction of insect habitats around the growing site i.e. weed control,

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  • 5. Do I need to add nutrients to the water?
     

    Aquaponics

    More than likely, yes, supplemental nutrients will need to be added to the system. The reason being that fish food is the only input to the system. The fish food does contain

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  • 6. Can I grow root vegetables?
     

    Root vegetables can be grown in the system. They tend to be smaller and misshapen.

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  • 1. Does it have an odor?
     

    There is an odor but it is neither strong, off putting nor fishy.  There is a slight hummus or fresh compost smell but it is very subtle.

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  • 2. Where can I buy more water test kits?
     

    Easy! We will carry consumables like the water test kits and air stones in stock. You can check out our list of available items online at www.stuppy.com or by calling and speaking to a rep at the office.

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  • 3. How long can I use the air stones before they need replacing?
     

    They should last for quite some time.  Pull the air stones up to the surface of the water so you can see the bubbles coming out.  Is the air coming out evenly from the stone?  Try to remember when you first put them in the water, is the amount similar to when they were new?  If the amount of air coming out is significantly less it is time to replace.

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  • 4. My pump isn’t working - What do I do?
     

    Check the power source, safely.  Check to see if the filter plate underneath is clogged.  Check the piping from the pump to the float bed to see if it is clogged.  If this all checks out a new pump may be needed.

    We recommend having a spare on hand in case a situation like this arises.

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  • 5. I bought the system - When will it be ready for fish and plants?
     

    When the water has nitrates present fish and plants can go into the system.

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  • 6. Can I add more beds or tanks?
     

    Additional beds and tanks can be added, as long as the gravity fed movement of the water is uninterrupted. Additional tanks also mean an increase in water volume. If adding tanks, be sure to slowly add fresh water or the bacteria, plants and fish could be shocked.

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  • 7. If the power goes off what does that mean for my system?
     

    The system is a single pump, gravity fed system. If the power goes out all the tanks will balance out and the water will stop moving. This is the good news, there will be no overflowing water from the tanks. The bad news is the air pump will also shut off if the power goes out. When the air pump is shut off the system has very little time before loss starts to happen. Fish will be the first component affected and in just an hour or so, they will have depleted the oxygen in their tank. Secondly, the bacteria that also use oxygen generated from the air pump to live and convert nutrients will stop converting their process and the ammonia levels will increase. Lastly, the plants will suffer if an extended period of time passes without an influx of oxygen.

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  • 8. I have an algae growth, should I worry?
     

    No, unless the system is starting to run slower due to the algae plugging up the plumbing. Algae will be in the system in some areas where water is exposed to sunlight. The great thing about this system is that there is very little exposed water due to the media bed and float bed.

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  • 9. What type of power do I need to run the system?
     

    The system comes with two pumps which both use single phase, 120v power.

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  • 10. Can I use all float or all media beds?
     

    The Stuppy system is a combination of a media bed and a float bed. You must have the media bed as it is the filter for the whole system and houses the bacteria. With serious renovations you can have two media beds but never two float beds. We do not suggest altering our design in this way. Our engineers have professionally calculated each component of the system to work as is.

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  • 11. Do I ever need to clean or replace the floating rafts or media?
     

    The floating raft over time may need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear. The media shouldn’t need to be replaced.

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  • 12. What do nitrifying bacteria do?
     

    In aquaponics systems, fish waste is converted from the waste form of ammonia to the plant available nutrient, nitrates, by nitrifying bacteria.  Ammonia is converted to nitrites by nitrosomonas bacteria and then converted from nitrites to nitrates by nitrobacter bateria.  This conversion is done by the bacteria oxidizing the ammonia and nitrites which leads to production of nitrates.

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  • 1. How often do I need to add water to the system?
     

    Keeping track of the water level in the sump tank is important in knowing when to add water.  Because the media bed fills then drains to the sump tank, the best time to check the water level is when the media bed is finished draining.  If the system is low, slowly add 2-3% per day until you are at a good level.

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  • 2. Do I need to heat the water?
     

    Heating the water is necessary when the water temperature drops below the optimal range for the type of fish that are being grown.

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  • 3. My PH level is high/low - What do I do?
     

    Over time as the system runs the pH will adjust on its own.  It will be a constant battle if you try to adjust it with additives.

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  • 4. Does the water need to be changed at any point?
     

    Generally, no.  If ammonia or nitrites get out of hand at the beginning some dilution may be needed, draining some water off and replenishing with fresh.

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  • 5. Can I use salt water?
     

    No, not in the sense of salt water/sea water. The plants wouldn’t survive.  There may be time to add some sea salt to the system to reduce stress on the fish but it will need to be a very low dilution, 1-3 parts per million (ppm).

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  • 6. When do I test the water?
     

    A couple times a week at the beginning. A couple times a month when the system is becoming seasoned then once a month will be sufficient.

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  • 7. Do I need to add nutrients to the water?
     

    Aquaponics

    More than likely, yes, supplemental nutrients will need to be added to the system. The reason being that fish food is the only input to the system. The fish food does contain

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    Viewed 856 Times
  • 8. Will I have a problem if my area has hard/soft water?
     

    When first starting a system pH can hinder the progress. pH will affect plant uptake of nutrients and what nutrients are available. Most water will be in the high range. The system as it cycles and ages will lower the pH on its own as more and more bacteria work to process the fish waste. Let the system correct itself.

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  • 9. How do I control the water temperature if it gets too hot or too cold?
     

    Cooling the water temperature is harder than heating. Shade is the cheapest and best way to cool the water down. Also be sure your greenhouse is properly ventilated. A big part of the water temp is from the greenhouse environment. Heating the water can be done with an inline heater and Stuppy can help with these.

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  • 10. Is it normal for the water to turn green?
     

    No. Green would typically be an algae growth. Water movement should keep algae from being a nuisance, but if it does pop up shading may be needed over the problem areas. Typically you won’t see the water turn green but see green algae on the sides of the tanks. Over time the water will have an amber color to it and this is normal and a good thing. This means the bacteria are processing the fish waste nicely.

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  • 11. Does it matter what my water source is?
     

    It does matter. Water from every source including the tap has trace minerals and nutrients. Water from ponds, creeks and rivers have even more “stuff” in them. It could be anything from fertilizer or petroleum products from run off to pesticides, pests and diseases. A clean and trusted water source is ideal in order to start off with a clean system and let the bacterial and fish work their magic.

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  • 12. The water is cloudy and odorous-what does it mean and how do I fix it?
     

    The first recourse is to test the water and depending on the readings, first try not feeding the fish for a few days. This will stop ammonia from continuing to build up in the system. Test the water daily to check the progress. If the reading is above 3 PPM of Ammonia or of Nitrites, try draining 1/3 of the water and then topping it off with fresh as a last resort.

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