Aquaponics – System collapse :-(

Last couple of days had been probably the most challenging time we went through since we started aquaponics three years ago.

My wife walked up to one of our fish tanks to feed fish yesterday morning and there were about a dozen dead fish floating in the tank. Some of these were fish we had since over two years. Water pump was not working, so no water circulation. Water quality looked terrible, almost coffee brown.

Occasionally we find a dead fish in the tank, which is normal in any system and we usually toss it out for the cats and birds. But now we have too much fish to throw out, about 7kg (15lb) with a couple of them weighing about one kg. So I had to burry them.

The pump went off because we had frequent power outage during night due to a storm. When power was restored, one of the three phases was still out which unfortunately turned out to be the phase the pump was on. We didn’t realize this.

We brought the pump back up and added some fresh water. Water quality looked like is improving and there were no more loss of fish until late evening. Today I walked up to the tank and there were another dozen dead fish, which left with just a handful of smaller fish in the tank.

We had a couple of dead tomato plants on the growbed which I shouldn’t have kept for too long. There are two cabbage plants near the dead tomato plants that are almost ready to be harvested. If I pull out the roots of the tomato plant it will hurt the cabbage plants. So I thought I will wait for another week for cabbage to be ready for harvest. BIG MISTAKE!

The rotten roots have degraded the water quality considerably. This is usually not a big problem as far as water circulation is peoper. Now without the water circulation, ammonia level must have shot up and dissolved oxygen must have dropped, wiping out the fish population 😦

I emptied the fish tank and moved the remaining fish to another tank. Cabbage are now harvested (quite expensive harvest! 😦 ). We are heading for a full growbed clean up before bringing this system back up again. There is a lot of mint, a couple of tomato plants and a brinjal plant left on the growbed, but all that have to go away 😦

Growbed to be cleaned up 😦

Dead tomato plants

I consider this as more of a negligence than just a lesson learned. Very sad!

5 thoughts on “Aquaponics – System collapse :-(

  1. Really sad to hear about the disaster, but sincerely hope that everything will be back to normal soon, in sha ALLAH… All the very best!


      • Thanks Riyas.

        Yes, we should bring the pumps under the inverter. We have kept the fish density in the tank loe enough so that in case of a power outage fish would still be safe for at least 8-12 hours. But the bad water quality due to the rotten root was the real culprit.

        I have made some changes in another growbed on an experimental basis using growbags filled with gravel kept in the growbed container. So if needed we can remove the growbag instead of pulling a plant out of the growbed. Also growbed cleaning will be easier. I hope to implement that soon in this growbed as well… will post on that with some puctures.


  2. Hi, I tried out with gold fish, some died, now it is Karp, My tank setup is small one IBC tank , in the grwo bed not much plants, I have 20 medium carp. When Fish dies you get very much disappointed, felt very sad when my gold fishes used to die


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