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OK, I did a total rebuild this weekend (long story-will post pictures tomorrow)  and I am ready to add water Tuesday after the glue dries.  No fish, no bacteria, but a 9 pack of cabbage from Lowe's this weekend!  So the amateur biologist in me gets thinking.....

If I was to add some "worm tea" from my vermiculture beds, perhaps this could get the system going sooner, adding nitrogen, bacteria, and other stuff.  No prospects for fish until next weekend.  Has anyone tired this?  

Thanks!

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We job started our system with a fishless cycle innoculated with worm tea which seems to be doing its job. The tank holds 360 gallons and we added 1 gallon of worm tea about 3 weeks ago. It has definately got things going as we haven't stocked yet, but do have plants in the gravel media, and a nitrate level of 5.0ppm. I should also note, that this is a growing power style system, so the plants are in pots surrounded by gravel. We have 60 yellow perch coming in next week, so we shall see what happens with the amonia and nitrites after they are added to the system. The one downfall of worm tea is that the water turns brown. It was completely clear before the worm tea was added and had been running through the gravel so we know that it was the worm tea that changed the color. This may not be what you are looking for since it doesn't seem to clear or settle out.
Interesting topic, Greg, and how great that Tawnya is already in the midst of doing this. I'm wondering if the worm tea is causing the system to cycle - i.e. establishing a colony of nitrifying bacteria - or if the worm tea is actually adding Nitrates directly to the system? In other words, when worms "excrete", is it ammonia like fish and other animals, or is this part of the magic of vermicompost that the the bacteria is sort of built into the "system"? I'd find it pretty easy to believe that with worms you get ammonia, nitrates AND nitrifying bacteria...does anyone know?

Tawnya, are you using the Growing Power potting solution of 1/3 each vermicompost, compost and peat?
In Murray's video he shows that you can add an organic seaweed extract product to the water and it will support the plants until you get the fish producing enough waste. The exact product is not available in the US but I did find a similar product. You can see the aussie product Seasol at this link. http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/shop.html?page=shop.product_detai...
When I go home today I will check what it is I bought and send a link.
By the way Murray says it turns the water brown but clears up when you stop using it.
This is what I am going to use until my fish can support the plants. This might solve various peoples problems with not enough fish to plants.
What have the rest of you guys used?
We have a bunch of different potted plants, which are mostly from garden centers as they were brought into Growhaus by various people. That being the case, there were not planted with a specific soil mix. Also, we have a 2.5-3" deep pea gravel base in each of the beds. Its a good question about the worm tea with amonia and nitrites. I tested the water for these yesterday and they both read 0ppm. So based on timing, it could be that the worm tea initially produced both the ammonia spike and then the nitrites and we just don't catch it in a water sample. All I know is now there are nitrates which is what we are looking for. I will keep you posted after the addition of fish, with closer water testing to determine how these elements change over the next few weeks.
Hey Michael,

The U.S. equivalent is a seaweed extract product called MaxiCrop (http://www.amazon.com/Maxicrop-Liquid-Seaweed-32-oz/dp/B000COBUQC). I've used it for exactly the reason Murray was talking about and I really liked it. And it did clear up after a couple weeks...which will probably happen with the vermicompost.

Michael Cosmo said:
In Murray's video he shows that you can add an organic seaweed extract product to the water and it will support the plants until you get the fish producing enough waste. The exact product is not available in the US but I did find a similar product. You can see the aussie product Seasol at this link. http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/shop.html?page=shop.product_detai...
When I go home today I will check what it is I bought and send a link.
By the way Murray says it turns the water brown but clears up when you stop using it.
This is what I am going to use until my fish can support the plants. This might solve various peoples problems with not enough fish to plants.
What have the rest of you guys used?
Sylvia: Could you start a thread about Maxicrop Seaweed and what others might be using to supplement the fish water. since you have used it. I am sure there are lots of folks on here that have a fish to plant ratio problem or just too big of a fish tank for the number of fish and plants. Maybe Murray will chime in on how much to use also. This might help Daniel Murphy also. Did you use the product with iron on not? I tried this last year for just Hydroponic Vertigro but it keep going anaerobic due to the heat. I even tried using a Dosatron pump but still had problems. All heat related. Tell us how you used it and how much etc.
Hmmm, I have a small batch of worm tea brewing, I think I better check it before adding to the system.

Great questions Sylvia !

Sylvia Bernstein said:
Interesting topic, Greg, and how great that Tawnya is already in the midst of doing this. I'm wondering if the worm tea is causing the system to cycle - i.e. establishing a colony of nitrifying bacteria - or if the worm tea is actually adding Nitrates directly to the system? In other words, when worms "excrete", is it ammonia like fish and other animals, or is this part of the magic of vermicompost that the the bacteria is sort of built into the "system"? I'd find it pretty easy to believe that with worms you get ammonia, nitrates AND nitrifying bacteria...does anyone know?

Tawnya, are you using the Growing Power potting solution of 1/3 each vermicompost, compost and peat?
Done!

Michael Cosmo said:
Sylvia: Could you start a thread about Maxicrop Seaweed and what others might be using to supplement the fish water. since you have used it. I am sure there are lots of folks on here that have a fish to plant ratio problem or just too big of a fish tank for the number of fish and plants. Maybe Murray will chime in on how much to use also. This might help Daniel Murphy also. Did you use the product with iron on not? I tried this last year for just Hydroponic Vertigro but it keep going anaerobic due to the heat. I even tried using a Dosatron pump but still had problems. All heat related. Tell us how you used it and how much etc.
Thought I'd interject my two cents- worm teas rock because they essentially innoculate your system with tons of beneficial soil microorganisms. worm guts contain millions of awesome decomposers. if you're using worm castings anywhere really, you'll end up with nitrifying bacteria as well as tons of other beneficials. earthworm castings are usually pretty low in ammonia and preinnoculated with nitrifying bacteria (depending of course on what they're eating. . .). I really want to try out some worms in my towers, but that might have to wait for a while. . . : (

Tawnya Sawyer said:
We have a bunch of different potted plants, which are mostly from garden centers as they were brought into Growhaus by various people. That being the case, there were not planted with a specific soil mix. Also, we have a 2.5-3" deep pea gravel base in each of the beds. Its a good question about the worm tea with amonia and nitrites. I tested the water for these yesterday and they both read 0ppm. So based on timing, it could be that the worm tea initially produced both the ammonia spike and then the nitrites and we just don't catch it in a water sample. All I know is now there are nitrates which is what we are looking for. I will keep you posted after the addition of fish, with closer water testing to determine how these elements change over the next few weeks.
I jump started mine by adding a few potted plants to my grow bed by partially submerging the pot in the medium and a little General Organics Diamond Black (humic acids) for the bacteria to eat. I let it stay in there a week. The potted plants were very happy and I had beneficial bacteria :)


Michael Cosmo said:
Sylvia: Could you start a thread about Maxicrop Seaweed and what others might be using to supplement the fish water. since you have used it. I am sure there are lots of folks on here that have a fish to plant ratio problem or just too big of a fish tank for the number of fish and plants. Maybe Murray will chime in on how much to use also. This might help Daniel Murphy also. Did you use the product with iron on not? I tried this last year for just Hydroponic Vertigro but it keep going anaerobic due to the heat. I even tried using a Dosatron pump but still had problems. All heat related. Tell us how you used it and how much etc.

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