My system got way out of balance a few weeks ago. My plants didn’t die but they stopped growing. I lost a good part of the front spagetti plant and a few other plants. All the stuff in the blue barrel 1/2 ‘s stopped growing too.
In this particular case, I knew why it was out of balance. The Nitrates had gone to 0. Plants need nitrates. I waited too long to take corrective measures and that’s why things stopped growing.. I got another 8 goldfish and added them then waited. Still no nitrates. Next corrective measure was to eliminate a few of the flowering plants. Squash, eggplant, and a tomato were all flowering a the same time. The tomato plant was done, no more buds or tomatoes so that came out. The eggplant kept getting buds and loosing them, that came out. The biggest nitrate user was the squash plants. There was one of them that wasn’t a large as the front one and didn’t have any squash starting. That came out also.
I did a water test a couple days later and the nitrates were up to 40. I waited a couple of days and things started to green up again. What you see in the pictures below are the second growth of the front squash plant.
The picture below is of an avacado plant started from a seed. They grow fast and straight. Not too sure what I am going to do with this, guess will just have to wait and see.
Bev and I finally got the A-frame NFT system up and running. Man what a 2 1/2 day headache. We tried a few different configurations of plumbing. When probems popped up, we made changes to take care of the problem. Then another problem showed. (Those StartTrek fans will remember Loll and Data and cascading system failures) That’s what I felt like, failure, fix, another failure, fix and you get the idea.Well we finally hit on a solution that actually worked with all components involved. (Nothing flooded or ran dry). Here come the Pics:
In an NFT (nutrient film technique)which is really a Hydroponics technique but works very well for aquaponics.
I have more pics and more info to share, but that will be tomorrow. I am working on a video that isn’t finished yet that I want to get up also, sooooo, till then take care and come back.
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Last week I added another 12 little goldfish to help keep the Nitrate levels where they needed to be to accomadate the plants that were flowering. The levels finally got to where I was comfortable with them. Then the pump problems started.
The little pump I have that has been running 24/7 for a year, finally started giving out. In the process, it was still pumping, but it was not pumping enough water up to the grow bed to keep up with the standpipe drain. So I was loosing water in the growbed and not realizing it. It’s sorta hard to tell due to the fact that the standpipe is set to keep water level at about 2 inches below the gravel. When I realized what was happening, I added fresh water to keep levels in the grow bed and not let the roots dry out. By adding new water, I was diluting the system water without realizing it.
I did a water test and it was all out of wack, Ph was pretty much ok at 8.0-8.2 ammonia was .50+, nitrites were off the scale and very dangerously high. Nitrates also very high at 160.
I let them go for a day hoping they would settle down but keeping a close eye on the Nitrite levels. If those levels stay high for extended periods, you will start losing fish. It affects their gills and they will die. I hooked up the new pump and added a 3/4 in. bar with 1/4″ holes in it for added air and DO (disolved oxygen) hoping that would help with the high levels. This pipe was placed across the FT for max aeriation, and the fish loved it.
I took a water sample this morning and thankfully, all readings were pretty much back to normal. I was getting nervous though. Here are a few pictures for your pleasures 8)
New plumbing again
Some new pictures for today. Been pretty busy with it as things are starting to grow and I am watching them pretty closely. I am having a couple issues with the water, and in the process of correcting it. (I think) Something ate the leaves off a sweet potatoe slip that was planted in the dirt. I put it in the AP system and there are new leaves sprouting. I will leave it in there untill the roots get strong and then put in the ground. It would probably do great in the system, but there is not enough depth for the taters to grow properly. Now for the pictures. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them for a better view.
pic of lettuce and the sweet potatoe start
second picture is the water test taken today and shows pretty much the way it should.
third and forth pictures are of the growbed from both sides showing the veggies growing.
If you are the least bit interested in Aquaponics, go to http://diyaquaponics.com/forum/ and register for free. Then grab a cup of coffee (or whatever) and set down in a comfy chair and read till your hearts content.
I can finally see some progress on my system. Fish are doing super fine and are happy. Plants are continuing to mature to the point that there are flowers on the Tomato, Jalapeno’s, and Strawberries. Yaaa.
The new pump arrived last week and gonna have to wait till I get more growbeds connected to the system. It is a 700 GPH pump and I’m afraid it blow all the plants out. Need to re-plumb and add more growbeds. I have some more strawberry plants and would really like to get them into towers but still figuring how to do that in a green house in the confined space that I now have.
I am going to fashion a stray bar and put across the top of the fish tank to help take up some of the pump pressure before it gets to the growbed. The fish should really like that. After the seedlings get out, I will have more room to build a rack to hold the tubes. I have a few strawberry towers I’d like to get going also and running out of time for those, but there again, where to put them. Hanging would be the logical approach, but with a plastic greenhouse, that is sorta touchy.
There was a trailer fire down the road from us again couple days ago and they cut the power for about an hour. I went out and added an batter operated air pump. They did great, and was playing on the bottom of the tank. No losses.
I will get some current pics today and get them posted.