Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Is there a comprehensive chart that lists the "normal" range for the different water tests.

I am ready to start the cycling of my system. The system currently consists of two 4' x 8' grow beds in a flood and drain configuration (future expansion to 8 grow beds) and three 300 gal. fish tanks. Before I put fish through the torture of my lack of knowledge of water chemistry I would like to find a chart of what the norms should be for the critical aspects of maintaining the correct balance. 

I have done a lot of reading on the subject and there is a lot to comprehend. I am not looking for the science behind the different elements since that information is available from a wide variety of sources. I think a chart listing the different specific tests and the normal range for each would allow a system operator to quickly identify and research a solution to a potential problem before a catastrophic event occurs.

There are a ton of very knowledgeable people on this forum but not all of us are chemists or bio-majors and we simply need the facts from those that are chemists and bio-majors.

Thanks,

Don

Views: 386

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It can be species dependent but this is where I like to keep things.

Ammonia < 1 PPM

Nitrite < ..5 PPM

Nitrate 20 - 80 PPM

PH 6 - 7.4

During fish-less cycling bring your ammonia to 2 PPM initially until you get your nitrite spike

I am not a chemist or bio-major so take this info with some NaCL

I appreciate the input. I hope no one gets offended by the post I really do appreciate help this site has been. Everyone is very helpful and it is an amazing resource. It's just sometimes you can get buried in the details before your ready for them.
Thanks again,
Don
Maintaining any system is all about the bacteria. Bringing the bio load up slowly is critical. Stock light at first and feed sparingly. Feed once a day or once every other day until you get through initial cycling. A fresh and clean new system will take about a week for the ammonia level to reach its peak. Then the nitrite will begin climbing. The bacteria that consume nitrite are a little more touchy. They can take another week to begin trailing off. They can also stumble and stall easily if they are pushed too hard. Keep the load light, 10-25% of your planned fish load. Bacteria breed better in the dark, so keeping the light limited can help. After a month you can double your fish population if the ammonia and nitrite levels have zeroed out. I have been an aquarist for thirty years and worked in aquarium stores and maintenance for much of that time. This is the way I've always cycled aquariums. It's the same thing here in Aquaponics. If the levels ever get too high and I fear for the fish (determined more by how the fish are acting or if they are dying) I do 30% water changes daily for a few days and reduce food. You can't starve your fish to death in the short run, it takes no food for quit a while before harm is done through starving. If you can seed your filter you will speed through the cycling process. I use old and dirty filter media from another tank to inoculate a new tank with good bacteria. If you know someone with any kind of freshwater system and you can get some dirty sludgy muck from them you're good to go. You can even add a handful of garden soil. These bacteria are everywhere, even airborne. I understand your where looking for more concrete numbers, but the levels aren't so important. You can cycle blindly just fine as long as you build up the load slowly. I've led hundreds of customers through cycling without ever testing. there is also a documented nitrite blip at about 120 days out. It suggests to me the first generation of bacteria are probably dying off. If you actually catch this happening with testing, just hold tight and it should pass without incident. I hope this was a help.
Once you're through the cycling process I expect ammonia and nitrite to remain at zero. If either of those levels are up I look for a reason. The causes are either I've lost some of the bacteria or I've added more ammonia/nitrite to the system and the bacteria haven't caught up. Ways to lose bacteria are over cleaning filter media, cleaning filter media with chlorinated tap water or power failure to the filter or pumps. Causes for a sudden jump in input are an addition of a too many new fish at once, a substitute feeder (my fish sitter over fed while I was out of town), auto feeder is dumping in food, or dead fish that haven't been removed from the system. Chronic ammonia/nitrite levels suggest either overfeeding or inadequate filter sizing.

Alkalinity 50-250 ppm

Ammonia 0-.4 ppm

Carbon Dioxide 0-30 ppm

Chloride 0-5000 ppm

Oxygen 3-10 ppm

Nitrite 0-.8 ppm

pH 6.3-7.2 ppm

Calcium 40-70 ppm 

Jonathan, Matt, Michael,

Thank you very much for the help! The layman explanation and straight forward numbers are perfect.

There is no substitute for experience. It's people like you that make this site work.

I couldn't agree more Don. My father and I were handed a giant commercial system just over a year ago. At that time I'm not sure we could have SPELLED aquaponics lol. We have been all over the web in search of a site like this where things can be discussed in a straight forward manner, and not in a way that uses all the scientific verbiage that you could only know if well, you were a scientist. You will find that a lot of times people worry more about being right and/or sounding like they were Dr. James Rakocy himself rather than giving helpful, easy-to-comprehend information. I to am very thrilled about this site, and I appreciate your kind words. Thank you.

Thanks Michael. 40-70 ppm calcium. That was a number I was looking for. I'm at about 140ppm. Do you think I'm in lockout range? I have some deficiency/lockout issues going on. Plants are growing but showing some crumpled leaf. How about iron, magnesium and phosphate levels?

Well, I'm certain my answer isn't going to be as linear as "the chart" that folks were looking for, but...

1). You are not necessarily in "lockout range". 140 to almost 200 can be fine (especially for heavy fruiting plants).

2). Calcium should make up between 35%-55% of the total cations (positively charged plant essential elements) floating around in solution in your system water.

3). All these cations (K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, etc...) must coexist in a ratio'd balance since they behave antagonistically toward one another. So if your K is near 300ppm and Mg near 40ppm blablabla...Ca at 140ppm is perfectly fine. BUT

4). I'm betting if you test your waters K content it will be really low (in the double digits instead of near or above 300ppm) in which case 140ppm of calcium present in solution can be excessively antagonistic towards K as well as Mg uptake and exacerbate lockout issues.

You had asked about:

Mg - near 30ppm

Iron - 0.75 to 2ppm (Iron is the ONE cation that isn't antagonistic towards the others, so too much won't cause lock out issues, but good chelated iron is expensive so being wasteful just hurts the pocketbook)...

Phosphorous and phosphates is kind of a tricky one in a system where plant essential elements are derived from organic waste materials. Most common phosphate checkers can only check for orthophosphates (reactive phosphate) and not organic phosphates (you would have to perform a hot acid digestion test for that)...but look for P in the 3-10ppm range (or higher)...

but again, it's more about balance. Nature provided for a wide parameter of upper and lower limit thresholds for most of these elements so as long as things are somewhat in balanced and you haven't hit a limiting factor, things work pretty well.

Cheers,



Matt H. said:

Thanks Michael. 40-70 ppm calcium. That was a number I was looking for. I'm at about 140ppm. Do you think I'm in lockout range? I have some deficiency/lockout issues going on. Plants are growing but showing some crumpled leaf. How about iron, magnesium and phosphate levels?

OK, this is good stuff!

Vlad, from your reply the two items below state that there is a "antagonistic" relationship between the cations.

Is there an ideal ppm for each K,Ca,Mg,Zn,Mn? 

Is any one more important than any other to control?

Are there one or more of these that if controlled would keep the others in line?

Thanks for your help!

 

2). Calcium should make up between 35%-55% of the total cations (positively charged plant essential elements) floating around in solution in your system water.

3). All these cations (K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, etc...) must coexist in a ratio'd balance since they behave antagonistically toward one another. So if your K is near 300ppm and Mg near 40ppm blablabla...Ca at 140ppm is perfectly fine. BUT

Michael,

I agree with everythjing you said. That is the purpose for this discussion. I would like to create a list of the important basic variables that NEED to be monitored and thier values nothing else.

If you have the base numbers correct there would be nothing to worry about except counting your lettuce.

 

Don I am actually trying to better understand supplementation myself. I want to share what I do know, but it would appear that Vlad is your "go to" guy.

I have a large commercial sized certified organic system (140K gallons) and I am currently trying to dictate the amount of supplementation of Iron and calcium that I should start with when supplementing. 

The products that have to be used in the organic supplementation create a situation where the typical answer given to someone who is using bicarbonates to supplement will greatly differ in comparison. 

Being there are less certified organic facilities of commercial size in the country than you can count on one hand we have a difficult time getting strong answers or suggestions.

We just want to know 1st - what is a good starting point in terms of calcium/Iron to add to our system at first before measuring the effect (two 70K systems/How much per system). For example: Should we begine at 10-20% of supplement to total volume and work up from there? Are we in any real danger of adding too much very easily in a system of such volume? 2nd - Can we add it a little faster than is normally recommended in typical AP systems because of our volume?

If anyone has any general input or feelings about this please reply. Sorry don if I am taking up your topic. Ill move this to a new topic if you want me too. In fact it already is a topic on its own, but nobody replied in 3 days so I wanted to see if anyone from this thread had any input. I dont want you to feel like Im invading your discussion though so please tell me to move my ass if I am hahahaha.

Attachments:

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2019   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service