Talk at SSE graduation

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2014 Introduction to Aquaponics Course

IMG_2182It seems there is demand for a repeat of last year’s introduction to aquaponics course – we haven’t really thought about advertising a course, but a few people have been in touch so if we can get together a big enough group then we can afford to run the course again. If you are interested in learning about commercial aquaponics; check out last year’s syllabus here, and get in touch. Bests! Alice and the Bristol Fish Project Team

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Course Starting October

Check out our courses page for more info

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Wanted a good home for 3 ‘Free Tilapia’ fish.

Hi There

As I am now about to stock the fish tank with 200 Koi Fry. I need to take the 3 remaining fish (200-300g ish) & “find a home or I will have to eat them” otherwise they will eat the fry.


You can take just the fish for free or take them with the setup that they are in but I will need £50 to cover the expense of the set up . (This setup is not really big enough for them and was only a temporary home).  However it is a good hospital or fry nursery tank.

Contact me ASAP if you are interested

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The Start Of A New Cycle

I will carry on as best as I can & for as long as I can with Aquaponics here at Bill & Bens HydroWorld.  I will try to keep the blog regularly updated but I am finding it hard to keep on top of my work load at the mo, won’t be this busy forever though!


I have separated the 5 remaining fish into these old loft water buckets I found & cleaned out.  I took a pump with a built in timer so I could fine tune the minutes that it pumps for & worked out it was 7 minutes to fill the top bucket with the plants with water from the fish bucket below.  When the pump stops the water drains back out through the pump.  I do this once an hour.  You can see the fry nursery floating on the top.  Im finding its hard to keep the fry in the nursery as every day I find some escapees?  I think its the older Tilapia crashing down onto it & pushing the top edges under water as one day I found a fish in the nursery however there are less numbers of fry which makes me think they are being eaten by the other larger Tilapia!

This new setup had to be done as you will find out later on.




I cleaned up from the last time I posted to the blog.  I rinsed the clay balls which we grow in & returned them to the grow beds.  Filled up the tank & then noticed a leak, thought I had sorted it & so started  to go through the process of cycling with Maxi Crop (as suggested by Murray Hallam in the book Aquaponic Gardening by Bernstien).  Cycling with Maxi Crop a seaweed based fertiliser (contains Ammonia which attracts the beneficial bacteria) can shorten the cycling time to 2 weeks rather than 6,  and you also have the added advantage that you can grow crops in your set up straight away.   It smells nice to begin with & then starts to stink like rotting veg that been sitting in water for to long & guess what? it leaked all in & under the tent, which wasn’t that pleasant for me or the shop.  I took the system apart again re-sealed the NFT with Aquatic Silicon & so I would like you to wish me luck as I start to cycle again today.

O yea the reason for the separate system?  The clay balls I had returned to the grow bed I believe had absorbed the Permethrin, the ingredients in the smoke bomb I used to get rid of the creepy crawlies in the tent, I believe this is the case as I found many dead worms & on the second clean up.  I don’t really think they had starved to death.

Anyways I replaced the balls & now have no good bacteria left & have to start the process again.  Thats about it for now I hope you can make it to Alice Park in Bristol this Sunday for 2pm where we will be serving a Tilapia Picnic & discussing the future Of The BFP.

Nice One


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End of a project & the birth of a new era!


As we near the end of this chapter in The Bristol Fish Projects life  Its with great sadness that I have to report a catastrophe & at the same time announce a great joy.

Tilapia Harvest


I have managed to kill 40 out of 45 of our Tilapia fish in one go, but all is not lost as the day before I discovered 100′s of baby Tilapia fry!

Tilapia Fry

As some of you may know we were looking at culling the fish in the next weeks for our feast in Victoria Park, Bristol on the 18th August.  At this point there are 3 things that may have caused it (or a combination of all 3?) Before I start to tell you what happened I should start at the beginning of my problems.

Having been heavily infested with Aphids (green Fly) then followed by Whitefly in the grow tent, which is a perfect incubation environment for these types of creepy crawlies I had tried several different applications of pest control.  From home made Garlic & washing up liquid sprays to pressure hosing the blighters off manually.  Then we added 500 predators to the grow space (Aphidius Colemanii ) a parasitic wasp that lays its eggs inside the Aphids body using the pest as an artificial womb, but a combination of a co worker knocking a segment of the 15 minute timer controlling the lights to the off position accidentally & another leaving the tent open at just the right time saw them fly off towards the outdoor light.

Effects of Pests

Effects of Pests

Then I found a good product called Bio Defence from Atami the plants perked up & the numbers of pests went down but as this product is more about prevention rather than cure the numbers of pest started to increase again.  So I decided to take some drastic action & introduce a “Pest Off” Pemethrine 13.25% smoke fumer to the Grow Tent.  I know this product is very toxic to the aquatic environment so I removed the 45 fish into a 200 Ltr holding tank.  The young fry were put into a bucket next to the 200L tank & I emptied the water from the system & let a smoke bomb off in the tent.

White fly in pebbles

White fly in pebbles

When I returned the next morning I was surprised to find one of the larger fish flapping around on the floor of the shop.  It had jumped out but there were not any sign’s of water on the floor, so how long it had been there I’m not sure?  So I picked it up put it back into the 200L  tank (placing a lid on it this time) & it swam off.  Anyways I was busy in the shop & didn’t really manage to address the fish again that day except for the fact that I had spotted more pests in the substrate/clay balls that we grow our plants in & thought I would repeat the operation with the smoke bomb again.  This time I thought I would add a large oscillating fan blowing over the top of the 200L tank to stop any smoke (if escaped from the tent) settling on the water!  Here’s were I made a mistake by placing the fan onto the airline & stopping the airflow.  Would that have killed them in one night? after all they are known for being a hardy drought fish.  I have also heard that when in captivity its possible that when 1 fish dies it puts off a hormone that can kill all the other fish ?  So I arrived at work the next day & the 1 fish (I think it was the same one) that I found on the floor was floating on top of the water dead.  OK I thought & got my net to check the others out & to my horror all except 5 of the smaller ones had also gone.

So here are the 3 things that I believe did it.

1, The Permethrin

2, The Air line

3, Death Hormone

4, All of the above

Still what is baffling is the survival of the smaller fish?

Right now I’m not sure about using the same pebbles again in the set up because of the Pemethrin lingering?  I have added a 2L of of Maxi crop suggested by Murry Hallam to the fresh water to cycle it again within 2 weeks (I know we may have had enough bacteria on the pebbles anyways) but I thought we would be able to grow plants straight away (it smells pleasant at first & now it smells unpleasant & will attract more fly’s & pests I’m sure) but it will give me a couple of weeks to decide what to do & what to stock, possibly Koi? because they look nice in the shop & they might be more of a money crop in the longer run.


Im sincerely sorry for what I have done but feel that one door is closing & another is now opening on The BFP so, please let me know your thoughts?   You can use the form below to contact me or I can discuss what happened at the fish feast on the 18th.


Rob Bryant

Rob Bryant


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Aquaponics intro day and fishy festivities AUGUST 18th in Bristol


August 18th 2pm – 6pm we intend to have a day discussing what happened with our project, celebrating the end of our trial and eating some Tilapia down ‘Victoria Park’ in Bristol (if it rains we’ll go to the pub). Contact Alice with any questions – 07835262968 /

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