Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners


Arizona Aquaponics

Helping each other to learn and grow big nutritious plants and fish to help feed the world.

Location: Phoenix
Members: 226
Latest Activity: yesterday


Thank you all for joining my group, I hope to do a lot with all anyone interested. Please
tell me any event suggestions you would like us to do.

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Comment by Bob Campbell on July 20, 2012 at 9:08am

Sheri I spray scale with alcohol.isopropyl or vodka works

Comment by Converse on July 20, 2012 at 8:48am

Greetings Sheri,

    Since I have no personal experience with "scale" or scale insects, I opted to look for the research to see what the respected and reliable sources show. 

I have been checking into research about using Brewed Worm Castings Tea on  Scale Insects.  It took some time to find out an answer that I was satisfied with  because scales are a result of differing insects hard and soft.  If you look at this article ( ) from UC Davis, you can see that this article reveals clearly, the differences, and has treatments, but nothing you’d want to use with an AP system. But do not dispare, this article did not event consider worm casting tea...the thing I wanted to know about its effectiveness.

  According to Dr. Clive Edwards (of Ohio State Univ.) worm casting tea is effective in the battle against such pests as cucumber beetles and sucking insects like aphids, medley bugs, and scale insects,  and against pathogens as Pythium, Rhizocronia, Plectosporium, and Verticullium…  I did find the research article by world-respected Dr. Clive Edwards - and others- that sites this.  In true ‘research-paper style’ the title is very long but descriptive (


And you can find it at:      or you can go to the Ohio State Univ. Soils Lab online research source, and search for this paper there.

In this paper scale insects are specifically mentioned on page 3….I had read this paper before, but I had not remembered the scale insect being specifically mentioned.  So thank you for posing the question.  Now we have both learned something new!

   I certainly hope this news is encouraging and of real help.

-          Converse

Comment by Sheri Schmeckpeper on July 20, 2012 at 7:44am

The Valley Permiculture Alliance (Phoenix Permiculture) is looking for chicken coops for their annual Tour d' Coops in November. This year they're looking for more than coops, though. They're looking for people with chickens who also have other sustainable systems, like composting, aquaponics, water retention, etc.

If you have a coop and are interested in showing it and your other ideas, contact Lisa, the Coops Coordinator at

Comment by Bob Campbell on July 19, 2012 at 10:04pm

@John -  I too use the pond liner from Home Depot so I think you can dismiss that idea.

Comment by Larry in Casa Grande on July 19, 2012 at 10:01pm


You must know all of our hearts are breaking with yours over this setback. Hang in there dude, everyone is rooting for you.

I like the way you found a positive, even in the middle of all that challenge.

So fold that pond liner my friend, and I know you will face the new day with renewed courage and a lot of friends here cheering you on.

Comment by Bob Campbell on July 19, 2012 at 7:16pm

@John - If you take Jim up on his offer to give you a bacteria start, be sure to provide aeration while in transport. 

Comment by Jim Troyer on July 19, 2012 at 7:02pm

Hi John

My suggestion is to pull out all the water, scrub the tank out with H2O2 and fix anything you think might have been amiss and hook up that second grow bed.  Glue down those liner corners so fish can't get trapped there again to eliminate that issue.

Then buy a couple dozen feeder goldfish and throw them in, someone will want them later.  I have a big chunk of "biomass" you can have to get things kick started again.  The "biomass" is a 2'x2' "chunk" of green onions that grew wild and together while my house was being rehabbed after the flood.  I finally separated what was growing in the raft bed with a sawzall to get my system going again and threw a huge chunk back in as plant load while I got other things growing...

So at that point you will have a fresh system with plenty of biomass and bacteria to call it seasoned after a few hours.  Watch it carefully for a few weeks and see what happens before you put tilapia back in. 

I'll bet it was those dead fish caught in the corners.  I have adult tilapia that hide from the bullies and I would not be a bit surprised if one or two fish got caught trying to get away from Leroy

Comment by Sheri Schmeckpeper on July 19, 2012 at 2:44pm

The dead fish could be relatively new and might not have hit the ammonia yet. But if they were there for a bit, yes, it seems like they should have caused an ammonia reading higher than that.

Usually our water will look a little off when the ammonia or nitrites are too high. Also, the fish won't eat when they stop feeling well.

Comment by Kellen Weissenbach on July 19, 2012 at 2:40pm

Okay, so ammonia issues should not have been a problem then.  At the worst case numbers you provided (ph 7.0, temp 83F), .5ppm ammonia would only be about .003ppm toxic ammonia with the balance consisting of the "safer" ammonium.

Comment by John Malone on July 19, 2012 at 2:30pm

@ Kellen

pH was rock solid at 6.8-7.0

Temperature between 78-83F

Ammonia maxed at 0.5ppm,  most of the time at 0.25ppm

Nitrites at 0ppm

Nitrates at ~100ppm.   Nitrates have been high ever since I did fishless cycling several months ago.   The reading has never really dropped.

No fish gasping at the surface.  I've got a very quick siphon cycle with lots of water, and also supplemental aeration from 4 air stones, so I doubt it's O2 related.

I'm puzzled.


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