How it all Started, 5 Pump choices

Another Aquaponics disaster strikes when on April 19, 2008 the pump quit working. Now this was an old above ground pool pump that the Cook’s (The cook is my other half and we call him the cook because he is a great one) parents gave us when they quit bothering to fix their above ground pool and had it removed.

So, I had turned off the pump while I was moving catfish up to the waterfall tank and I had managed to move about half of them but I decided to pump more water out of the big tank to make finishing the job easier but when I went to turn the pump back on, it did nothing. ERRR This is what we in Aquaponics often call a HSM (heart stopping moment.)

I wasn’t too worried about the 22 fishes in the waterfall tank because I had bubbles going for them. The other 24 fish in the big tank that now had no bubbles and no circulation had me worried. The plants in the 4 grow beds were also not getting anything (those beds were sitting full since I had turned the pump off.)
Off the cook went to get a replacement pump………… Well the pump picked up was not even close to the same configuration and we needed more bits to get it hooked up, back he went for needed bits. Even after the second trip, the new pump was not quite right. Long story short, the 24 fish in the big tank spent the night with only one GB being fed by one of my little tiny submersible pumps.

Come morning, they survived. I managed to make the not quite right big pump function enough to fill/flush all the grow beds a few times and we then drained off more water from the system and managed to catch the rest of the fish and put them up in the salted waterfall tank water. I was able to confirm my count from when we got the fish. I now have 46 catfish. We lost only the one to pump fatality. It is impressive how many bones the pump was able to suck out of that one poor little fish. (when backflushing the sand filter, we found lots of little fish bones.) The Sand filter was also a fee item from the Cook’s parent’s pool (Which we no longer use.)

New Pool Pump

New Pool Pump


After getting all the fish up into the waterfall tank, we headed off to the pool store to get a replacement pump for the one that died. We were able to get one similar enough that it fit into the plumbing. This pump is pretty nice and the one that wasn’t quite right is being returned. System now running again and being topped back up with water.

Now Fast forward a little bit. I got the electric bill from when we started running the old above ground swimming pool pump! EEK it was high. I started looking at the watts the pumps used and doing a bit of research. That new pump we had purchased didn’t cost that much, only like $150 and it delivered way more water than we really needed but dang, it was NOT an energy efficient pump, I can’t be running a pump that uses 1300 watts all the time!

Efficient Pump

Efficient Pump


Just because a pump is inexpensive, don’t count on it saving you money. After a bit more research I went out and spent over $400 on an energy efficient pump so that I could save $1000 a year.

For those who wish to go read the detail version check out my original system thread. BYAP System Thread Pages 34-36 (April 19-25, 2008) are the time frame for this Blog post.

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