Aquaponic Gardening

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Hello everyone! Question: is earth juice ok for aquaponics? Has anyone used it? My friend will be using it to help his ph... Thanks!

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I'll have to check out Chris's story to see what happened there... was he using it to correct the pH?

And yeah Justin, sorry for the off-topic details... although I think that's common here :)

Molly, Puff, and myself are doing fine.  We've added a new member since then as well.  She likes kale.

She's gorgeous, congrats Jesse. I'd sure like a link to any pro or con info on citric acid. I too have always accepted it as anti-bacterial, and at least for the present I'll refrain from passing judgement. Personally, I use HCl only. Cheap, easy, available, and no residuals.

Justin, I've got nothing for you on Earth Juice, except that I'm way to cheap to buy anything marketed to the weed growers, and I always want to know what I'm adding, not some "proprietary" BS.

I looked up the MSDS for Earth Juice... but all it told me was that it is.... Earth Juice...

Interestingly the MSDS did state that it was "incompatible with time release fertilisers"...

Yey the promotional blurb itself says...

Use in conjunction with other organic fertilizers as a soil drench or foliar
feed. Natural enzymes, hormones, vitamins, amino acids, nutrients, sugars, plant
acids and surfactants encourage compact growth, nutrient uptake, increased
yields, and enhanced flavors. Derived from oat bran, kelp, wheat malt, molasses
and yeast

 

Not much different from Maxicrop.... kelp.... and molasses.. which many use anyway.. ie TCL...

The bit that worries me is the unspecified "surfactants"

@Jesse... too much of ANY acid.... will kill your bacterial population... or your fish.. or your plants.... or all three... one way or another...

Gina Cavaliero said:

  • Best methods for lowering pH, in order of preference, if it goes above 7.6
    • Acids like nitric or phosphoric as the plants can use the nitrate or phosphate produced.
    • Other acids, such as vinegar (weak), hydrochloric (strong), and sulphuric (strong) – last resort as directly adding these acids to your system could be stressful for your fish.

 

I've no idea who compiled that list... or what info it was based on... probably some aquaria or hydroponic hangover...

But it's wrong.... Hydrochloric Acid is both the cheapest, most effective... and preferable... pH "down" buffer to use...

99.99% of aquaponic systems don't need any additional "nitrate or phosphorus" inputs.... and high levels of either actually have a potential negative effect on plants.. or humans, when consumed...

Likewise with sulphates as a result of using Sulphuric Acid...

Besides the potential Calcium, and/or Potassium lockouts that too much Phosphorus can cause... it will potentially also cause algael blooms...

Citric Acid, or vinegar... although weak, and generally ineffective... by that very nature are less likely to "be stressful for your fish"

The others, being stronger... may be "be stressful for your fish"....

Using ANY acids... "may be stressful for your fish".... if you use too much.. and move your pH too quickly...

 

Yeah, Chris was using it to correct his pH, if I recall correctly (I'm pretty sure that I do). Hey Jesse, I don't have a facebook account, but when I tried the link from my wife's laptop it said currently unavailable...so I'm not too sure who (or what :) the new family member is.



Jesse Hull said:

I'll have to check out Chris's story to see what happened there... was he using it to correct the pH?

And yeah Justin, sorry for the off-topic details... although I think that's common here

Molly, Puff, and myself are doing fine.  We've added a new member since then as well.  She likes kale.

Here's the post from Chris regarding his use of Citric to lower pH.  It was in the thread "Rookie Mistakes You Should Avoid"

Reply by Chris Smith on April 14, 2011 at 6:33am

In a new system I used straight citric acid to lower pH after using many gallons of vinegar. Within a week the water was brown and rotten along with all the plant roots. After a little research I was horrified to discover that citric acid is an antibacterial. I crashed my system trying to lower pH!
@ Justin - sorry bout the hijack!
Yuck. It looks like he's growing spleens.

JON, LOL but  EEEWWWW! 

Jon Parr said:

Yuck. It looks like he's growing spleens.

Yeah, it does look pretty disgusting. Thanks for digging that up Gina. 

Lots of good info here. Thanks for the help everyone!

His Ph is high because it is water from his well. It came out that high. He just started cycling without fish.

And please Vlad, no apologies, discussion is good.

Hey Rupert, from the description you copied and pasted ("incompatible with time release fertilisers"), I believe you found the MSDS for Earth Juice 'Catalyst'.  This is a specific part of their product line that I've used in the past to jump start compost or hydro-organic systems and it is not advisable to use with granular synthetic timed released fertilizers.  

I don't actually use EJ Catalyst anymore  -that was at a time when I was getting the product for free.  


RupertofOZ said:

I looked up the MSDS for Earth Juice... but all it told me was that it is.... Earth Juice...

Interestingly the MSDS did state that it was "incompatible with time release fertilisers"...

Yey the promotional blurb itself says...

Use in conjunction with other organic fertilizers as a soil drench or foliar
feed. Natural enzymes, hormones, vitamins, amino acids, nutrients, sugars, plant
acids and surfactants encourage compact growth, nutrient uptake, increased
yields, and enhanced flavors. Derived from oat bran, kelp, wheat malt, molasses
and yeast

 

Not much different from Maxicrop.... kelp.... and molasses.. which many use anyway.. ie TCL...

The bit that worries me is the unspecified "surfactants"

Wow Gina, thanks  -and indeed, yuck.  But honestly, I'd like to see more info than what was given.  What I read is that after dumping gallons of vinegar (mainly acetic acid), Chris added citric acid and a week later everything went to pot.  

My guess is that the system was on the verge of crashing before the citric acid, as acetic acid is also a very weak acid which probably resulted in the system's pH yo-yo'ing ("many gallons of vinegar"!?!  -over how much time, and how big was the system?).  

Goes back to what I said earlier:

"...because citric acid is so weak, and therefore you'd have to use much more of it more often than stronger acids, the other anti-bacterial components of citric acid might build up to the point of being a concern..."

Best guess on such little data is that the system (micro-biologically speaking) was struggling on the edge, and then citric acid was added and kept spiraling further out of control or perhaps was the final nail in the coffin.

Half of this discussion is beating a dead horse though, since no one here suggests using citric acid (nor would I recommend vinegar for that matter, unless you're just needing to use something temporarily in a pinch) to maintain the pH of an AP system.  That said, it's non-empirical information like this that troubles me.  In this case it places citric acid in a "bad for aquaponics" category that keeps others from experimenting with something that has a lot of useful properties when used correctly.  

It's like the safe-for-aquaponics insecticidal spray that Sylvia recently started marketing.  It does not so great things when use in sunlight (as do most sprays), so therefore don't use it in the greenhouse or anywhere where plants are growing, since plants need light.  Never mind that fact that plants aren't in the light all the time.

Does what I'm saying make sense to anyone? 


Gina Cavaliero said:

Here's the post from Chris regarding his use of Citric to lower pH.  It was in the thread "Rookie Mistakes You Should Avoid"

Reply by Chris Smith on April 14, 2011 at 6:33am

In a new system I used straight citric acid to lower pH after using many gallons of vinegar. Within a week the water was brown and rotten along with all the plant roots. After a little research I was horrified to discover that citric acid is an antibacterial. I crashed my system trying to lower pH!
@ Justin - sorry bout the hijack!

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