Aquaponic Gardening

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I have a system that has been cycled since December. My PH has been high the last few weeks. I use well water to top off the tank. The PH out of the well is usually about 7.6. My PH had maintained around 7.2-7.4 until just recently. From reading other blog posts, I'm gathering it's probably my water, but I'm looking for advise, or troubleshooting ideas on how to determine that.

It may be a coincidence, but, the PH started rising after I added a plecostomus fish. I also added red wiggler worms two weeks ago.

I have several plants and herbs (kale, chard, buttercrunch, mesclun, micro greens, cilantro, basil, sage, oregano, thyme, and chives) All the plants are growing, but I'm noticing this week some of the leaves are starting to yellow. Is that the start of nutrient lock-out?

The fish seem to be fine. I have 16 tilapia, 150 gallon tank.

Another note, a few weeks ago, I had cleaned the pump. I have control valves on each grow bed that I turn off during cleaning. I had failed to turn one of the valves back on after cleaning. So, one grow bed was not filling for an entire week. None of the plants died, but I'm wondering if this could have caused the PH to spike.

I would like to add new plants soon, but I want to figure out the issue before I do.

Thank you for your time!

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Well, by "worm tea" I'm not talking about using the leachate from worm composting. Brewing worm tea involves taking a bag of worm castings, soaking in water (with some added molasses or other sugar) and heavily aerating it. Aerating the castings knocks a lot of beneficial microorganism off of the castings and into the water, which then feed on the sugar and create a microorganism "soup". Take that soup and apply it as a foliar spray or dump the contents into your system water to introduce beneficial bacteria and fungi to your plant leaves and grow media. It's a good way to foster biodiversity in your system. Bought an air pump recently, and I'm planning on building a brewer soon.

Maxicrop supplies a lot of nutrients that are often missing in aquaponic systems. Magnesium, iron, manganese, etc. But I'm just using up the leftovers from cycling my system by adding a couple tablespoons every week or so.

Sonja Martin Young said:

Alex tell us more about your idea with using worm tea and maxi crop. How much and are you using it in your water or as a foliar spray? My worms are making a lot of tea and I would like to use it the best way possible. Thanks

Alex Veidel said:

pH down works great. Unfortunately, I have yet to uncover a long term solution...

You can buy chelated iron to add to your system. Sylvia sells some on her site:

Personally, I think I'm gonna start playing around with Maxicrop (liquid seaweed) as a temporary solution for missing nutrients (mostly 'cause I've already got it). My long term solution for nutrient deficiencies looks something like worm tea....

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