Aquaponics - Fish death

It's horrible when you lose livestock. It's even more horrible when you have no idea why.

I found this guy on the concrete. Not such a good place for a fish.

It doesn't look like it was dragged out by a cat or anything. And, in fact, looks in pretty good condition.

Apart from being dead.

The day before the fish death, I added a small pinch of potassium bicarbonate to my system to see if it was a lack that was causing my baby spinach to yellow.

Food grade potassium bicarbonate is an additive that people growing aquaponically have been using for  ages. It's used as a supplement if there are insufficiencies in the fish feed. It's also considered safe to add to your system in the doses I used.

I find adding anything to my system to be a really scary pastime, and would prefer not to ever add anything. In this case it changed the surface tension of the water slightly, and created bubbles.

The bubbles collected around the pipes and looked a little like the bubbles you see on the surface when fish are distressed.

A little like those bubbles but not quite the same. These were slightly looser and bigger than the ones I saw during my fish from the poison bush.

But similar enough to make me uneasy, especially when the next day I notice that one of my fish is missing.

I still have no idea what the problem was, and I'm told the bubbles are normal when you add potassium bicarbonate.

It's possible that the fish just had some other issue.

All the others look as happy as they always have.

I have no idea what caused it, and given the level of the expertise of the people recommending I add potassium bicarbonate, I doubt it had anything to do with it.

I hate coincidence.

And problems I don't know enough about to solve.

And then there were ten.



  1. Fish are weird.

    I came home one day and found a goldfish on the floor next to the bench where its tank is... No explanation for it apart from the fish must have leapt out... There were no other animals in the house at the time, and none of the obvious cat mauling marks (which I've seen before!).

    Fish are weird.

  2. It doesn't say much for my eco system if my fish are committing sashimi.

    I'd prefer to think I accidentally poisoned nim, rather than depressed ner to the point that ne offed nerself.

    And yeah, I invented a series of non-gendered pronouns.

    It's still a worry though. I have no idea why it died. I lost half my fish in the early days, because I put the tank under a tree that turned out to be highly toxic, but only to fish, so I'm a little paranoid that I'm doing something wrong.

  3. I don't think a single death is a huge concern. Multiple simultaneous deaths might signal a problem. Perhaps it was just pining for the fjörds!


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