Aquaponic Gardening

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Day one was Saturday the 7th

Washed the hydroton the added it to the grow bed.

Funny how the siphon worked differently without the media in place :)

Also learned that the hydroton I bought has some pretty fine particles in it and can clog things up. and that 100 liters wont fill up a 25 gallon grow bed all the way to the top.

So removed almost all the hydroton to clear some of the clogs and redesign the outer 3 inch strainer pipe.

I also reduced the length of the stand pipe to give me about 1 - 1/2  to 1 - 3/4 dry area above the water height.

The hydroton is still damp on the top, not sure if that is normal or its just hasn't dried out from being washed.

My first test from last night

PH - 7.8 - 8 ppm

Ammonia - .25 - .50

Not sure my original baseline test was correct at 1.0ppm on the ammonia, if so it has dropped some for some reason.

Nitrite - 0 ppm

Nitrate - 5 ppm

So pretty much the same as the baseline test other than the ammonia.

Should I had some ammonia? or just let what is already in the system work.

I have a 40 gallon fish tank so when I do have to add some ammonia how much should I add?

Do I need to test daily or just once a week or so?

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you can top up with a little bit of water at a time without messing up the cycling unless your water has a huge amount of chlorine or chloramine.

Well my water has chloramine in it so I guess I will fill a couple of 5 gallon buckets and start getting it ready to use in the system.

What do you think about the PH high test being red / dark red, am I just misinterpreting that color, maybe that is there interpretation of brown?
The regular PH test shows a little darker then the bottom blue, which if I remember correctly is 7.6

Sounds to me like your pH may be really high.

You might want to experiment some with your top up water to see if you can adjust the pH down a bit before you use it in your system while you are dealing with the chloramine anyway.

Thanks, I  will work on that this weekend.

Checked levels last night.
PH in the 8 range
Ammonia 0.25 - 0.50 ppm
Nitrite 4 - 5 ppm
Nitrate 40 ppm

The water level at its lowest point just before the bed siphons now exposes the top of the pump, so I decided it was time to add some water.
I de-chlorimined the water and added 3 - 4 gallons to the system, we will see tonight what that does to the cycle process.
I hope it doesn't affect it, I am pretty amazed at the growth rate of the plants so far.

as long as you take care of the chlorine, definitely a good idea to keep the system topped up.

If you are able to collect any clean rain water (or snowmelt) for topping up, that could help you with the pH issue.

No snow or rain in some time around here unfortunately.
I have a small battery powered pump I bought for my rain barrels, thinking about visiting a small pond in the park :)
I guess I better ask for permission first, you never know what screwy law there might be against taking water from a city park.

and using water from a pond you don't have control of, you never know what will be in the water.

True, I will wait for the rain.

Tonight's test after adding some water last night

PH 8.2 or around that

Ammonia 0 - 0.25

Nitrate 5 or greater

Nitrate 40

Did another PH regular test, that blue may be a little lighter now then it was, these colors can be tricky.

ah when the regular range pH test is that blue, you have to check with the high range test.

Been about 23 days since I added the ammonia.
Last nights test shows the following.

PH - 8.2
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrites 5.0
Nitrates 40 - 80

Nitrates are on the rise since Monday nights test which showed nitrates at 10-20 ppm, so hopefully the nitrites will begin drop pretty soon.
Ammonia has been hanging in the 0.25 range for a few days now, its being quite stubborn about going to zero :)

Still hoping for rain so I can bring down the PH a little, maybe it will drop some once the system gets cycled.

When the nitrites drop (and they may do it quite suddenly) you may also see a sudden drop in pH (not guaranteed but my pH dropped suddenly when my nitrites dropped on my first barrel system.)

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