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(Sorry, forgot the text part)

My system is up and running for the last 6 months. I have good numbers all around in terms of temperature, PH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. I am supplementing my system with iron and maxicrop powder sea weed. I have also just started worm tailings which I will try adding to the system tomorrow.


The fish appear to be doing great, there is almost no ammonia reading when tested.


Now the real problem, the plants appear to be growing strong and healthy, and then they start getting yellow spots on them or the leaves start turning yellow, and then they start dying. My basil went from a small 3 inch plant to almost 27 inches tall and now the leaves are turning dark then black, and falling off. I included several pictures of the plants and the new seedlings I just planted.


I had a small aphid infestation which just affected one grow bed. I used a mixture of organic dish soap and a water sprayer which took care of the problem. I only had to spray one bed, the others were not affected. I have inspected the leaves and plants, I don't see any critters or bugs doing any damage.


I am getting frustrated with this system, my plants appear to be stunted in their growth, although it might be a little impatience too.


Please Please Please help!!!!


Thanks so much for everyone's help and time.

Can you explain the most recent water chemistry parameters?  Maybe, we would get a clue out of that.  Also, what filter do you have in your system?

Please indicate the amount of iron you are putting in along with size of tank and number of fish
I add around 1/2 of a tea spoon every week. There are 25 tilapia currently. The system is about 550 gallons. I don't have a filter, I have a fill and drain system. I use a suction tube to clean fish waste every other week. I'm at work, but I'll get the numbers for the water tests when I get home. Thanks for helping!

basil is trying to go to seed...

what kind of lighting are you using?

have the plants affected been sprayed with anything?

did you notice an iron deficiency before adding iron?

have you salted the system?  i see what looks like a salt buildup on some of the media - could just be calcium, but salt affects cukes pretty quickly

Great pictures, by the way. Since I'm not in the room, I can't completely tell, but it looks like spider-mite or thrip damage on most of your plants. Do you have problems with lots of really tiny gnats (I'm talking REALLY tiny) and does your leaf damage have a silver glint to it? You could have a thrip problem. OItherwise, I'd put my money on spider mites.

Either way, spinosad is a good way to deal with the problem temporarily. Spinosad is a bacterial ingredient that is used for organic insecticides.

Or is that all aphid damage?

Agreed that it looks rather like insect damage, at least for the spotted dead bits... spider mites likely. And having that level of mineralization so quickly might be a pointer: was your water pretty hard to begin with?

The water doesn't seem to be very hard, I have a filter system to help with the whole house water system. I sprayed all the plants with a mixture of luke warm water and organic dish soap to kill the aphids about 2 months ago, completely worked and haven't seen any aphids since. I am not sure about the white stuff building up on the pellets and PVC pipes, I have never salted the system, must be mineral build ups like you said. I started adding iron when the leaves started turning yellow to help with that. I appreciate the advise, I will try spraying with the spinosad and see if that helps. Thanks for the help!

Oh, a couple months ago...that's not residual aphid damage. Your problem is definitely spider mites. Spinosad should take care of the problem, if you're okay with the idea of using organic insecticides. It's safe for fish too, and although I wouldn't pour it into your water, you don't need to be concerned with overspray like you would with something like neem oil. It also won't affect any beneficial insects like predatory mites. You'll need one application and then maybe another one two weeks later. Oh, and that kind of damage won't really reverse itself, so the leaves will stay scarred, but you should notice that the damage will stop increasing.

If you like the idea of using beneficial predatory insects, I've had a good experiencing with n. Californicus as a prevention method. They're slow eaters and can last a really long time without food (they live on flower pollen when there are no spider mites around to eat), so they're nice to have around to keep the numbers in check once you've got things under control. (I also recommend Green Methods as a distributor)

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