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OK, so here is my major blunder. I just need some help getting back on track. I cycled my system whiteout fish which took about three weeks. Everything was going great! Even all my fruiting plants as well as my greens were growing like crazy. (Didn't know I wasn't supposed to add fruiting plants for the first year or so). oh, well, I went with it. I added 130 tilapia fry. I was on top of the world. Life was good. No fish loss occurred.  

Then disaster struck. I left my chlorine off gassing tank running all night and injected my system with about 780 gallons of straight chlorinated water from the tap. I figured I would lose all my new fish. Its been two weeks since the disaster and I haven't lost one fish. I've lost a few plants and quit a few plants have turned yellow. I started over by adding microbe two days after event and then adding 2 quarts maxicrop. I'm still getting great growth from plants and the fish have doubled in size. It appears that I really don't have any problems. Except, after two weeks, I have 0ppm on everything. How is this possible? I've been feeding the fish daily (four times a day in fact) and still no ammonia which would make since if I had a reasonable nitrate level. But, my nitrates are at 0ppm also. 0ppm on nitrates and my PH is rising even higher than it was. 

Please take a look at my tracking sheet. Let me know if you see something that I'm missing. 

  • 600 gallon system
  • 130 tilapia, 3 inches
  • consistent temp at around 80 degrees F
  • 208 plants, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, peppers, squash, kale, strawberries, lettuces, collards, artichokes, herbs, swiss chard, sweet peas, green beans, corn, radishes. 
  • 6 grow beds, 6'x3'x12", 3/4" gravel

Any feed back greatly appreciated. 

Regards,

Dan

My System


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Ahaa...I wasn't aware GrowMore manufactured a cold cell burst technology auxin and cytokinin extraction product...which is what MaxiCrop is. MaxiCrop has almost no N-P-K value at all. When you buy MaxiCrop, you are paying for auxins and cytokinins (plant hormones) extracted from some of the fastest growing plants on the planet Earth (kelp)... the nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and Potassium content are stripped away and your left with bottled trace elements, the composition of which is similar to that of seawater...and of coarse the plant hormones...which is what that product is all about.

Are you quite sure the GrowMore product isn't just a run of the mill liquid kelp meal type product...with a whole hunk-o-burnin' NPK value..? That would be what they call 'apples and oranges'.

OK, because your missing water quality parameter input values from 4/23 to 4/26...nor do your 'additional notes' indicate that you were dosing NH4 to 1-2ppm and were back down to zero on the NO2 and NH4 for those missing 3 days...So I had thought that you saw your nitrites fall to zero for the first time and that you figured you were done cycling, and put fish in the very next day. 



Dan Lieder said:

I added the fish the next day after I ordered them. GrowMore is a seaweed extract liquid much the same as MaxiCrop but better I think. It's definitely made my plants grow more! My system cycled on 4/24/13 so thats why I stopped adding the ammonia plus I put the fish in also. 

http://youtu.be/9uK60aBUv90

Vlad Jovanovic said:

A couple things I'm wondering...

1) When exactly did you add the fish (out of curiosity, since it's not noted...only that you had ordered them)? 

2) What exactly is the "Grow More" product that you've regularly been adding?

3) Why did you stop adding ammonia before being 'completely' cycled? Nitrites falling to zero doesn't exactly qualify. When you can dose 1-2ppm ammonia and have both ammonia and nitrites back down to zero 3 TO 5 DAYS IN A ROW consistently, you can consider your system fully cycled...

Until those flowering/fruiting plants...well...flower and fruit, they are little more than glorified 'greens'. You can grow all the tomato, cuke, pepper etc...seedlings you want...in plain tap water...by candlelight, and they'll do just fine...for a while of course. Bringing them to fruition is a 'whole nother matter'...



nimrod bash said:

any chance to c the GrowMore product label ?

if it's 20-20-20 fertilizer that will explain aaaalot ...

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Vlad Jovanovic said:

Ahaa...I wasn't aware GrowMore manufactured a cold cell burst technology auxin and cytokinin extraction product...which is what MaxiCrop is. MaxiCrop has almost no N-P-K value at all. When you buy MaxiCrop, you are paying for auxins and cytokinins (plant hormones) extracted from some of the fastest growing plants on the planet Earth (kelp)... the nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and Potassium content are stripped away and your left with bottled trace elements, the composition of which is similar to that of seawater...and of coarse the plant hormones...which is what that product is all about.

Are you quite sure the GrowMore product isn't just a run of the mill liquid kelp meal type product...with a whole hunk-o-burnin' NPK value..? That would be what they call 'apples and oranges'.

OK, because your missing water quality parameter input values from 4/23 to 4/26...nor do your 'additional notes' indicate that you were dosing NH4 to 1-2ppm and were back down to zero on the NO2 and NH4 for those missing 3 days...So I had thought that you saw your nitrites fall to zero for the first time and that you figured you were done cycling, and put fish in the very next day. 



Dan Lieder said:

I added the fish the next day after I ordered them. GrowMore is a seaweed extract liquid much the same as MaxiCrop but better I think. It's definitely made my plants grow more! My system cycled on 4/24/13 so thats why I stopped adding the ammonia plus I put the fish in also. 

http://youtu.be/9uK60aBUv90

Vlad Jovanovic said:

A couple things I'm wondering...

1) When exactly did you add the fish (out of curiosity, since it's not noted...only that you had ordered them)? 

2) What exactly is the "Grow More" product that you've regularly been adding?

3) Why did you stop adding ammonia before being 'completely' cycled? Nitrites falling to zero doesn't exactly qualify. When you can dose 1-2ppm ammonia and have both ammonia and nitrites back down to zero 3 TO 5 DAYS IN A ROW consistently, you can consider your system fully cycled...

Until those flowering/fruiting plants...well...flower and fruit, they are little more than glorified 'greens'. You can grow all the tomato, cuke, pepper etc...seedlings you want...in plain tap water...by candlelight, and they'll do just fine...for a while of course. Bringing them to fruition is a 'whole nother matter'...

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Very cool Dan. You're absolutely right, that GrowMore product is very similar to MaxiCrop. 

I would guess that your bacteria didn't get sterilized by your tap water top up.  I don't know how your top up is configured but if it worked out that you were topping up into a system that didn't need a whole heck of a lot of water and alot of that water just flowed in and back out the overflow, then you may not have gotten too terrible a chlorinated water change as you thought.  A well cycled up system can handle 5-10% water top ups with treated water without too much stress, it is when you leave the hose running in and the system layout is such that it essentially causes a 100% water change that people run into terrible problems.  Also, some water supplies have worse levels of chlorine or chloramine in them than others.

Anyway. I expect that your system wasn't sterilized if you saw no fish deaths and no ammonia spike after the incident and you have been feeding the fish all along.

So, your plants are just sucking down all the nutrients as fast as they are being produced.  What sort of feed are you giving your fish?  High protein feed meant for fish in recirculating aquaculture will give you the best nutrient balance for your plants.

My top off tank sits right above my fish tank. My fish tank overflows into my sump. My pump is in my sump tank that takes water to my fish tank and my grow beds. My grow beds drain into my sump. When I got up in the morning the sump had overflowed over the sides because the ground was soaked. The water was crystal clear in the morning which indicated to me that all the water had been replaced. I could be wrong though. Everything seems to have recovered. I'm just concerned that I have 0ppm on all readings and my PH is almost 9. I'm feeding the fish the AquaOrganics fish food from this website. I don't know what the protein content is but I'm assuming its at the correct ratio. Right? 

Dan

Here's a  couple videos that shows my layout somewhat. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTwYHo507wk&feature=share&li...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uK60aBUv90&feature=share&li...



TCLynx said:

I would guess that your bacteria didn't get sterilized by your tap water top up.  I don't know how your top up is configured but if it worked out that you were topping up into a system that didn't need a whole heck of a lot of water and alot of that water just flowed in and back out the overflow, then you may not have gotten too terrible a chlorinated water change as you thought.  A well cycled up system can handle 5-10% water top ups with treated water without too much stress, it is when you leave the hose running in and the system layout is such that it essentially causes a 100% water change that people run into terrible problems.  Also, some water supplies have worse levels of chlorine or chloramine in them than others.

Anyway. I expect that your system wasn't sterilized if you saw no fish deaths and no ammonia spike after the incident and you have been feeding the fish all along.

So, your plants are just sucking down all the nutrients as fast as they are being produced.  What sort of feed are you giving your fish?  High protein feed meant for fish in recirculating aquaculture will give you the best nutrient balance for your plants.

Relax then, you just have plenty of plants and a brand spanking new system.  And you have gotten past your first HSM without any immediate fish deaths.

Keep an eye on your water tests and feed those fish as much as they will eat in 10 minutes or so 3 times a day if you can.  getting them fish to poop more is the best way to bring the pH back down.  If you want to get the pH down sooner, be sure to close off the prep tank and aerate it and adjust the pH of the top up water and let it stabilize and use the lower pH top up water to top up your system in the future for a while to slowly bring the pH back down.

Remember to set a timer to keep you from forgetting the water is flowing in the future.  Or set it up with a float valve or something.

Thinking about your numbers wearing my "biologist hat" now. An input of even 8 teaspoons of fish food per day to growing fish will translate into far less than a one teaspoon dose of ammonia added directly. I figure that in that 8 teaspoons of food is roughly 2 tsp of protein (I estimated that much of the floating food is low-density material and trapped air, so about 6 tsp of granular, air-free matter, and 33% of that is protein). Much of the protein is going to be catabolized directly into fish protein without being deaminated, and of the fraction that is processed only a small part of that is ammonia.

Basically your biofilter is getting far less ammonia through fish food than it was during cycling, and that's the reason your plant growth has dropped off: 80 ppm NO3- on 4/24 and down to zero not long after you put the fish in and stopped the ammonia. Yeah, the unintended water change didn't help, but I think it's likely that you would be getting into a nitrate-starved situation anyways, given the absence of NO3- buildup you're seeing with your fish presently. You have a lot of plants with relatively little fish biomass.

Hi Jeffrey,

I agree. With the smaller amount of Nitrogen being introduced compared to when we are cycling. That is why it is a good idea to start with less demanding plants, later on when the fish grow we can add the more demanding plants. Then there is the variable of the operator adopting ad hoc plant densities to contend with! I find that the some of the demanding plants do grow eventually but never achieve their full potential as when they are planted six months down the road. Then there are the usual limiting factors of climate etc. To mitigate the initial low nutrient, I usually start a system with double the number of fish and harvest the first batch at !/2 lb each. I've stocked at four times the number of fish but find it involves just a little too much work

well 32oz of grow more is a lot of NPK ...

it look's lake a grate balance of nutrient's for a young aquaponic system in my aye's

since it's really heavy on potassium u will use sum phosphoric acid with most water source's to handle PH any way's

and fish pu translate to mostly nitrogen at the first 6-12 months ... 

no big fan of bombarding an aquaponic system with plant available nutrient's

but i do enjoy it as a learning tool more then the actual yield...

what am still fascinated abut is haw well thees plant's grow

in PH of 8-8.7 every time i tray that i fail  ...

sum thing there is mitigating the osmosis effect but what ? S:

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