Aquaponic Gardening

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I started an Aquaponics grow in August using a 55 gallon plastic barrel as the tank and a 9 inch deep concrete mix tray for a grow bed. This is my proof of concept test grow. I have built a greenhouse (8x12) around it for the winter months and hope to make it through without loosing fish.

I have been networking with friends and have managed to come up with the next phases fish tank, a 300 gallon Rubbermaid tank (for free) plus 2 fiberglass bathtubs for grow-beds. The price was right for these (also free), and the way the test is working out, the next phase should yield a much bigger grow area and I will build a 18x30 greenhouse to house it and grow like a madman.

I'm also starting to collect heirloom seeds, (just as a side note), which I'm excited about.

Anyways, the only problem I'm having at the moment is PH. I have to add vinagar everyday to keep it down. It want to stay at 7.6-7.8. I knock it down to about 6.4 daily to keep the plants happy. It hasn't hurt the fish any, at least that I can tell.

Thanks for listening.

Stan

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Hey Stan, We have a lot in common. Where abouts in TN? I am in the Great Smokys near Bristol raceway. I started last Jan and have it 80% complete in a 20d x 24w GH. 5 bgds and 3 ft so far. Ck my final plan and photos at my page.  I'll send a friend request. Ain't that Sandy a bitch! Raked 6" of snow off 4 mil roof today. Tricky:-)

Have u done the vinegar test on your media?

Stan - I believe your problem is your concrete grow bed.  Concrete is alkaline by nature.  Your GB will continue to raise your pH; hence you will have to pH down it everyday.  Fish generally get stressed if you move the pH in any direction more than .3.  I'd recommend either buying a new GB or buying a pond liner and lining your concrete GB so it no longer leaches into your water.  Your pH problem should then end.

I believe that 9 inch deep concrete mix tray is made of plastic, not concrete:-)

BTW Stan mine is hovering around 7.6 but everyone looks happy so I have not shocked it. Just keeping an eye on it. What is your weather like? We are still under Blizzard Sandy for one more day here. Fun. At least we own the only 2 snowmobiles in Shady Valley:-)

Roger Emmick said:

Stan - I believe your problem is your concrete grow bed.  Concrete is alkaline by nature.  Your GB will continue to raise your pH; hence you will have to pH down it everyday.  Fish generally get stressed if you move the pH in any direction more than .3.  I'd recommend either buying a new GB or buying a pond liner and lining your concrete GB so it no longer leaches into your water.  Your pH problem should then end.

Also Stan, don't forget about IBCs for tanks and GBs. I get them for free to 25.00 ea and they are so versatile. They come in 275 and 330 gal and the cages are great. Very easy to work with. Ck out our IBC group and download Back Yard AP's pdf book on system designs. A good place to start. Ck my page for my design which is working out great. Just click on my avatar to go there. Lots of help to be had here. Best forum on the net. Here is my plan as it is being built. With IBCs you can grow one bed at a time as long as you build your GH to enclose the final design. I have 5 GBs built and will build 5 more next year. That's maybe 12.00 for 1/2 IBC, 9.00 for gravel, maybe 12,00 for support system (per GB). I will do a complete analysis of my sys this Winter.

Thanks Roger. The growbed itself is a plastic tub that is designed for concrete and the media is river rock. Sorry for the confusion. I still have the ph sticking around the 7.6 range...I'm just trying to be patient and wait it out. The bed IS quite young and I the weather is changing. 

Roger Emmick said:

Stan - I believe your problem is your concrete grow bed.  Concrete is alkaline by nature.  Your GB will continue to raise your pH; hence you will have to pH down it everyday.  Fish generally get stressed if you move the pH in any direction more than .3.  I'd recommend either buying a new GB or buying a pond liner and lining your concrete GB so it no longer leaches into your water.  Your pH problem should then end.

Hey Jim,

I hail from Middle TN, about 30 miles from Alabama line, or 90 miles from Nashville. However ya wanna look at it...It's a narrow state...lol.

We didn't get much weather here, temp just dropped.

I can't wait to check the plans on the greenhouse...I'm saving up for materials and getting as much as i can for free.

Thanks for the post,

Stan

Jim Fisk said:

Hey Stan, We have a lot in common. Where abouts in TN? I am in the Great Smokys near Bristol raceway. I started last Jan and have it 80% complete in a 20d x 24w GH. 5 bgds and 3 ft so far. Ck my final plan and photos at my page.  I'll send a friend request. Ain't that Sandy a bitch! Raked 6" of snow off 4 mil roof today. Tricky:-)

Have u done the vinegar test on your media?

Hi guys - I'm in Memphis, and just got my AP system setup this summer as well. 1 IBC tote cut for a fish tank/grow bed and two more grow beds made from cutting 1 55gal barrel in half lengthwise.

 

My PH has been slowly rising also - went from 7.6 several weeks ago to about 7.9 yesterday. I plan to use some PH down to reduce this some, but I think my tap water is about 7.5, so it may be difficult to keep it any below 7.5. My plants are just starting to show signs of some stress/deficiency, but at 7.6 seemed to be ok. My bluegill are happy regardless - and seem to eat well as long as the water temp is above 60 degrees.

Stan - do you know what your tap water PH level is?

 

Glad to know others in TN are getting into growing AP style!

Just a thought of something to check on??? what was in those IBC totes before you got them?? Also goes for what was in the 55 gal barrel??? Also what is your water source for the system, city, well, rainwater ect??/

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