Aquaponic Gardening

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This is the place for comments on and any discussion of the "Rules of Thumb" document on the home page.

I can't promise that I'll make suggested changes - this has been through some strong vetting already - but I'm certainly open to hearing your thoughts and suggestions...or maybe just sharing that you find it useful!

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hallo sylvia your rules of thumb are not bad but if you ceicle are ai new system below 18 ce.it wont work the bacteri
is inactive and i believe if you got worms in your growbeds the wormcasting will supply the plants with sam extra
nutrition and you can grow more plants

manfred
So maybe adding this snippet that Sylvia wrote in the 17 Nov 2010 Urban Garden Magazine:

"Whether using fish or fishless cycling, it is important to use a test kit to monitor the system daily so that you always know what part of the ammonia cycle the system is in. Be sure to keep the pH between 6 and 8 (at 8 or above the cycling process stops and the ammonia becomes highly toxic) and the water temperature above 50°F/10°C (80°F/27°C is optimal)."

After watching the Murray Hallam videos, I can't help but read pH as "p haitch."


Manfred Wille said:
hallo sylvia your rules of thumb are not bad but if you ceicle are ai new system below 18 ce.it wont work the bacteri
is inactive and i believe if you got worms in your growbeds the wormcasting will supply the plants with sam extra
nutrition and you can grow more plants

manfred
Hi Linda. Glad it helped. Here are my thoughts on your questions
- I recommend an API Freshwater Master Test Kit. It has what you need to do all the most important aquaponics tests (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate).
- I actually recommend starting with plants vs seeds because you want to start pulling nitrogen from the system. I would further recommend not starting with plants that require high nutrient levels (I'm thinking large fruiting plants like tomatoes and cucumbers here) because it is going to be a while before your bacteria base is dialed in enough to provide sufficient nutrition for those. If possible, start with salad greens, braising greens or other foliage plants.
- The rule of thumb for that is the fish breed you chose controls the temperature of the water in the system. The easy rule of thumb for thinking about plants in a home / hobby growing system (and this comes after years in a plant lab) is if you are comfortable, your plants are going to be fine. Beyond that, you are getting into optimizing production and it depends on the variety of plant (sorry for all the "it depends"!). Tomatoes can handle a higher upper end temp than lettuce, for example. But since you are creating an environment, I'm assuming you are growing indoors. In my greenhouse I let it drop to 50 at night before the heat kicks on, and during the day the roof vents open up at 80 to let heat out. Has worked great for a huge variety of plants for years.


Linda McCargar said:
Very helpful for me, with my start up project. Thank you for this effort to help us beginners. I do have a few questions....
--You talk about the importance of testing the ph, but not how to test it??
--We are to add plants once we have system cycling, should these be plants we already have started in other beds that are well established, or can we just start seeding the beds??
--Temperture is important for this eviroment we are creating, is there any Rules of Thumb for that??
Manfred, I'm sorry but I don't understand what "are ai new system below 18 ce." is referring to, but Meg seems to have figured something out so ...whatever Meg said :D


Manfred Wille said:
hallo sylvia your rules of thumb are not bad but if you ceicle are ai new system below 18 ce.it wont work the bacteri
is inactive and i believe if you got worms in your growbeds the wormcasting will supply the plants with sam extra
nutrition and you can grow more plants

manfred
There is no way to avoid the inevitable Sylvia. From this suggestion by Kobus , which by the way is most appropriate, you've got some work cut out for you. To teach AP, means you'll have to go into all things AP, a great but noble commitment. No worries, I know you'll have able assistance from the likes of Kobus and TCLynx lol! dedicated souls!

Kobus Jooste said:
I keep seeing references made to people struggling with siphons and suggesting timers. Now that will be great to begin with, but I hate the idea of timers from the point of view that it is one more thing that can fail, you are constantly switching a pump on and off - max draw at the start and I'm sure putting much more strain on it than just letting it run (can experts on electronic equipment comment here please). While I have no issues with the suggestion, I think you may put in a link to videos or drawings of people's siphons that work properly in order to calm the nerves of newbies that want to build one. Affnan's (linked by Meg in a blog) and quite a few others could be considered. Not required in your rules of thumb doc, but somewhere in the starter's advice section.
Oh, I shall mightily resist the inevitable :D. Eventually I'll come up with a deeper level document, but for right now I think that deeper needs to be the article series I'm doing for Growing Edge and then perhaps a book. This document needs to stay at the level of the most basic info possible for someone to succeed in media based AP.
Perhaps the compromise on the siphons or timers would be a quick note that the other option to the timer would be siphons and direct them to a link with more info about about balancing flow rates and sizing of siphons etc. Just gotta find the link you want to use for that. :)
I'll probably do something like that, but I just had the perfect example of why I want to be careful about adding any unnecessary complexity to the Rules. A couple of students from the local Buddhist university, Naropa, just came over to get supplies for the bathtub system they are putting in this weekend and we started talking about siphons and they both looked at me with panic, like deer in headlights. I said "let's just get this up and running and we can talk about siphons later" and you should seen the look of relief on their faces! :D . We sometimes forget how much there is to learn in just getting an AP system up and going for the first time...
Oh yea, Definitely give them an option that is spelled out and easy, then the *for more info about other options, you many, go read here* Those who are prepared my then do so while those who are still overwhelmed have something to get going with.

Sylvia Bernstein said:
I'll probably do something like that, but I just had the perfect example of why I want to be careful about adding any unnecessary complexity to the Rules. A couple of students from the local Buddhist university, Naropa, just came over to get supplies for the bathtub system they are putting in this weekend and we started talking about siphons and they both looked at me with panic, like deer in headlights. I said "let's just get this up and running and we can talk about siphons later" and you should seen the look of relief on their faces! . We sometimes forget how much there is to learn in just getting an AP system up and going for the first time...
:)
Hi Sylvia,

What is the bi-tonal sound for that happens when i log on to Aquaponic Gardening?

Homefire
is it when you log in or does it sometimes happen for no apparent reason? If it happens for no apparent reason, then there are people probably using the chat function down at the bottom of the main page. Join in if you like.

Homefire said:
Hi Sylvia,

What is the bi-tonal sound for that happens when i log on to Aquaponic Gardening?

Homefire
I have to say your "rules of thumb" gave me an answer I couldn't find - So two thumbs up from me! I I need to get some help with a pH that is higher than AGI's High pH range test goes. And now I just learned that this is keeping my 8 week system from actually cycling??? I guess I'm lucky that everything just looks ill and isn't already dead! Always good to review the basics!


:P

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