Aquaponic Gardening

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Hey Everyone, First off great DVD by Murray it really helped me out and a shout out to Sylvia and Alan for a quick ship!

Title says it all.. everything's running smoothly thus far.. I have a few concerns though...

I put the plants in about a week ago and I'm just a little nervous about adding the fish, I'm most likely going to use Rainbow trout or Yellow Perch because I cannot get my hands on any Tilapia around here.. I understand how to cycle the system it's just taking a lot longer then my smaller systems so I don't want to kill 50 fish.

Also, I have a good feeling that the gravel I purchased has some lime in it!? I'm pretty sure I asked for 3/4 inch clear.. anyways, i tried hammering it down with muriatic acid a few times but it just goes back up to the mid 7's!

is there a way around this, do i have to just wait till it settles or do I need to change them up?

you can check out all the pics on my blog!

thanks eh


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Take a hand full of your gravel (trying for a good mix of the types of stone there) and drop it in a jar of vinegar.  If it fizzes big time, then you may be in trouble.  However seeing as you say your pH is popping back up to only the mid 7 range, that gives me some hope that you are not dealing with major limestone and perhaps just some residual calcium carbonate buffering from your water or dust from the rocks.  Most really problematic limestones will buffer over 8.  I've got shells in my system and I'm lucky they only buffer to 7.6 so I am still able to grow many things in my big aquaponics system.


So, with my hard well water and starting up my 300 gallon system which I made sure had no shells in it, It took me about 3 doses of sulfuric acid to get the pH down to 7.6 from over 8 which my well water is buffered to coming from a limestone aquifer and then while fishless cycling the pH did then drop below 7 and it then required me to add some calcium carbonate back in.  During the dry season here my well water is easily able to buffer my system pH up over 7.6 when the biofilter is not being heavily pushed by fish load.  During the rainy season (since my systems are out under the sky) my pH will come down and could even require buffering in the systems without shells.


Hope this example helps.  I expect you just need to finish cycling up, patience.  You say you put the plants in a week ago but you are worried that it isn't cycling up quick enough?  When did you start the fishless cycling process?  Even though it may happen quicker in some situations, cycling can take 6 weeks.  Please don't start freaking out at week two because even those who talking about cycling up really quick, still allow 3 weeks before the spikes come down under optimum conditions.


Hang in there.

Just visited your blog. Nice setup. I enjoyed feeding the fish. THEY JUST KEPT EATING AND EATING.

Thanks for sharing.

thanks for the tips!

What is the metallic material that is wrapped around your tank and grow bed?  Is that provide insulation?


Your blog photos are great. I really like your approach to setting up your system. This again shows how versitile one can make an AP system.


thanks Jon!


the wrapping is an aluminum bubble wrap.. kinda expensive but worth it for the longevity of the system

Are those all IBC Totes wrapped in that stuff?  It is not only functional, but a very clean / professional look.
they sure are! thanks Lonny!

Lonny Harper said:
Are those all IBC Totes wrapped in that stuff?  It is not only functional, but a very clean / professional look.

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