Aquaponic Gardening

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Some information about my IBC based system 

Fish Tank = 175 gallons

Grow Bed = 80 gallons with automatic siphon working well. 1/2" tube with valve for water circulation with 300 gph pump setting. (cracking the valve half open LOL) Pump is rated for 594 gph.

Hydroton media

Air pump with 2 outlets working well.

Water Temp maintained at 76F with immersion water heater.

Chlorine already removed before putting fish in with chloramine.

Also put API  brand nitrifying bacteria 8oz.

All this was accomplished 2 weeks ago.

PH=8.2

Ammonia = 4.0

Nitrite = 2.0

Nitrate = 40

GoldFish are doing well - active, hungry and finish whatever little I put in within 2 minutes.

Additional comment - water seems clear - starting to see brown lining around the edge of the grow bed.

Nothing seems to grow - some seedlins sprouted but seems to be not growing. Put a couple of small flowering plants after washing with rain water a week ago. Seems to be withering.

I know it's driving me nuts not to see any growth. But I know patience and time needed. How long should I wait before changing anything. I don't want to make too many changes (learnt this from tuning PID controllers) for slow responding systems.

Any comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated.

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George said:

If you don't mind, how does a sponge filter add oxygen to a system?

Cris Meeks said:

Seeing as how you run a sponge filter using an air pump you kind of have to add O2 to the water when you use one.  It's just basically an air stone wrapped in a sponge.  It uses the Venturi principal to pull water thru the sponge & filters it producing a bunch of bubbles in the process.  They are excellent bio media & can be moved into a new tank to cycle almost immediately.  You can get them in varying sizes up to (I think) a 200 gallon size & they're very easy maintenance.  I've never used one in a really heavily stocked tank but with normal stocking rates you just put them in & forget them for a few months, then just rinse them out & forget them again.  

Status update - April 10, 2016.

Yayy! I think my system has completed the proverbial and mystical "cycling". LOL.

Nitrite(almost zero) and nitrate around 40. Ammonia around zero.

Pesky pH still 7.8 - had prematurely dozed system with potassium bicarbonate and KH arund 14. Yeah insert newbie joke.

 

But overall plants growing well and fish doing great. Trying to slowly reduce pH by adding 30ml of 29% phosphoric acid daily to 110 gallon fish tank level.

No complains - system seems healthy - algae showing up a little.

Just a BIG THANK YOU to ALL who answered questions and supported me.

Again a healthy dose of gratitude from me.

Update April 27, 2016.

System running on all cylinders. Lone Catfish survived. Goldfish all fine.

Grown tomato, lettuce, hot pepper, cauliflower, eggplant, strawberries, cucumber, mint, and coriander.

Added some iron chelate as new leaves were turning yellow.

Now I can't check PH with regeant from API. Have to buy a PH tester.

Once the system cycles, life gets easier for sure. LOL.

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