Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi all,

   My name is Dan and  I'm new to this aquaponics thing so I thought I would introduce myself, show you all what I have started and get some pointers or sugjestions from the group. I just learned about aquaponics back in march and new right away I had to give this a try. I started by building a small greenhouse. 12' X 8'. My FT is a 100 gal. stock tank burried half in the ground , 2 plastic bins from Wal-Mart for the first GB and 21 bluegills from my lake for my first stocking. I want to raise yellow perch but decided to go with the bluegills untill I've learned enough to risk money on the perch. I have since built a 4" PVC continuous flow tube and a new GB I finished yesterday that's 7' X 2' X 12". I have a second 4" PVC pipe under construction that I need to move away from my first one. I didn't leave enough grow room when I was designing. I still have enough room for a couple of vertical grow tubes so I want to give that a try also. So far I have green beans, peas,onions,carrots,peppers, (2 kinds) cantalope, lettuce (yellow and purple leaf) and tomatos growing and have just planted parsley,basil,oregano and cilantro. Here is a link to my latest You Tube vidio.

The one thing that I am concerned about is my PH 8.2. I can't seam to get it down. I'm in my 5th week and have seen the ammonia spike then drop and the nitrites spike then drop then spike again then drop again and the nitrates go to 80.0 PPM. Any words of advice?

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Hi Dan,

During the 5 weeks what were your temperatures like? Did you cycle the system before putting in fish? What if any, supplements have you put in the system?

This spring in Pennsyvainia the temperatures have been up and down. I only recorded my water temps. but they are in direct relation to the outside temps. Whan it was hot out the water temps went up and when it got cold the temps. went down. I started the system around the 22nd of april but didn't have a test kit till may 5. That's when I started to record the data.

5/5/2013 8.2 8 5 20 68
5/6/2013 8.2 4 5 20 72
5/8/2013 8.1 0.5 5 5 70
5/9/2013 8.2 0.25 5 5 72
5/10/2013 8 0.25 5 7 70
5/12/2013 8.2 0.25 5 5 58  2 cups vinegar
5/13/2013 7.6 0.25 5 5 58  
5/14/2013 8 0.25 5 80 52
5/15/2013 8.2 0.25 0.25 80 70
5/16/2013 8 0.25 1 80 73
5/17/2013 8 0.25 2 80 75
5/18/2013 8 0.25 1 80 64
5/19/2013 8 0.25 2 80 74  1 cup vinegar
5/20/2013 8 0.25 5 80 78
5/21/2013 8 0.25 5 80 84
5/23/2013 8 0.25 1 80 71 added 25g water
5/24/2013 8 0.25 0.5 80 56

I used the bluegills to cycle my system. I figured if they died I could turn them into fertilizer in the garden and go catch 20 more. No money lost. The only thing I have added besides lake water was some white vinegar. It brought the PH down a little then it was right back up the next day.

Hi Dan,

Looks like your system initially cycled by/on the 5/15. The Nitrite spikes after this( 20/21) could be due to testing too soon after feeding. Testing to see the capability of an AP system is usually done 24 hours after feeding. The reading on the 5/23--5/24 indicates that your system has complete levels of bacteria in it. The high PH is coming from your source water which has carbonates. The easiest way to deal with this type of source water problem is to incorporate a Reverse Osmosis water treatment system for top up water.

Some people leave the PH the way it is and over time allow the Nitrification process to acidify the system water and bring the PH down naturally. In an early system the PH usually swings all over the place before settling down to an average workable reading. It makes no point for you to try manipulating  the PH with acid as it will be absorbed and rebound by the next day.

Working with varying temps are important also. On days with low temps reducing feeding will prevent spiking readings.

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