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Meir Lazar got me thinking...pee-ponics philosophy...

When he asked how to add P or K to his pee-ponic system(s) for his flowering fruiting plants, I gave him a "standard" answer coming from a organic hydro perspective...Rock of Phosphate, Bone meal blahblahblah...but suppose you were a vegan? Or, the idea of using an unsustainable post peak mineral did not appeal to you? OR, you really were trying to stay within the bounds (of an as of yet non-existent) "pee-ponic philosophy"...Many of us choose not to do things that we are 'philosophically' out of tune with...or at least do them less, and attempt to choose when and why we do them, wisely...

Dosing your system with (N-P-K 11-1-2) humonia in order to get the 'required' or desired phosphates for flowering just isn't an option because of the massive amount of N you would be simultaneously introducing. I'm sure everyone is well aware of why this is bad and whatnot, so we wont get into that here...But, if you could extract all those phosphates, without all the N... that would seem like a mighty fine addition to you arsenal of effluent. It turned out that this wasn't a 'new' idea or anything (but what is these days?), this is what I did...

After researching why my cat gets bladder stones, the idea came to me...I added Mg in the form of Epsom salt (MgSO4-7H2O) to humonia, stired, strained. The white gunk I strained off is drying in the sun. That white stuff is NH4MgPO4-6H20-ammonium magnesium phosphate and is called stuvite (it's the stuff that bladder stones are made of). It is basically a phosphate precipitate. Like the whitish grey gunk (Calcium Phosphate) that builds up in your mineral hydro system over time causing you to have to flush the media...only instead of CaPO4 this is MgPO4...and 'ya made it yourself..!

According to the Swiss, this struvite should have an N-P-K value of 6-29-0 (Mg-10). AND...

...the effluent (liquid) that is left over from the process has a lowered N value, very little to no P value, and a high K value. Seems like a match made in heaven. This should really open up your fertilizing options while sticking to using 'sustainable humonia'...A 3 part hydro nutrient all from humonia. Whoopie!

Struvite dissolves readily in even slightly acidic environments, and slower in slightly alkaline environs. (might be a nice slow release fertilizer for the garden too). [edit. since writing this, I've used the MAP crystals in both the garden as well as in a couple of small bio-ponic test systems. The phosphates appear to be immediately bio-available to the plants (unlike say, bone meal). The potassium rich leftover looks promising, but the weather has precluded me from being able to test that out much on cultivars that are real potassium hogs...So more to come on that next spring/summer.]

I pretty much just did this last night and this morning and am still testing out some details, but it looks promising. I'm keeping notes of weights, measures, time...and should have some conclusions soon. If Meir or any one is interested I can post a 'how to' with details, measurements, and pictures. I'm building a 12 litre 'struvite reactor' out of galvanized sheet metal and pipes I have lying around (cuz I have lots of humonia to process and building stuff is 'fun'). But really all you need is a bowl, a stick, and a piece of clothe...

(and no explosions or highly caustic stuff with this one either...and 'skill level' is as easy as it gets. If you can make sugar cookies, you can pretty much do this. For now, just getting to the idea, seemed harder than executing it).

For the (so far) theoretical math there is this thread...http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/group/chemistry-math-and-aq...

And for some other struvite stuff there is this... one...http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/forum/topics/humonia-and-st...

I'd like to keep this thread (hopefully by culling some of the cream of what comes out of those other two) about how to make and use struvite and the results when used to grow plants...

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Ok, I'll chalk this one up to yet another "this appears to dot dot dot..." since it's yet another one of those things that by nature of humonia, is full of way too many variables, no-one else seems to know, it's not Google-able, and is in a mojo-voodoo way sorta-kinda intuitive, and definitely can do no harm to the process even if it very well IS NOT the reason for the recent rash of higher yields of struvite. ...Everything else I'm doing is the same, the weights, the measures, the using of mixed light and dark humonia...

The only thing I've (as it would at least appear) been doing differently is giving the humonia a good whirl in the reactor taking the lid off quickly and pouring in the Epsom while the humonia is swirling. I don't know if its the agitation/motion at the moment of crystalline inception that is giving me higher yields or what (or that no/less Epsom can sink to the bottom of the cone), but 37.6 grams per 8 litres seems to be the average 'norm' for the last 3 days.

Either way, this is the manner in which I'll be adding the Mg from here on out. Call it a case of 'correlation does not equal causation', superstition, whatever... but since it's 'un-find-about-able' at the moment and 'appears' to give results, I'm gonna stick with it 

If this 'swirl while you add Mg' thing keeps up, giving better yields than I got at first, I'm gonna cut a hole out in the reactors lid and just pour the Epsom through there since that might be an easier way to do it...

Vlad, I wonder if it might have something to do with the materials the Reactor is made of?  By having it swirling when you add the Epsom salts perhaps you are keeping the galvanized metal from interfering as much with the reaction or something?

Very interesting finding in any case.

That sounds as reasonable as anything I could come up with TC. But, the reason I might be inclined not to think so is that all the interior surfaces of the reactor have been covered in a hard crystalline layer for a good while now. Not the soft, small, white, powdery type crystals that are harvested, but a (for now) thin layer of hard, somewhat translucent 'Superman's secret cave' type crystals (only much smaller of course :)

The process started the very first time I used the reactor and by the third time or so, took on the coated appearance it has today.  

Well it definitely indicates to me that something highly reactive is going on between the metal and something in the reactor.  I wonder how much those crystals grow each time as it drys out?

They don't really seem to grow much, but they do a bit...then I rinse the reactor out and it goes back to a small thin coating of tiny, tiny snow flakes... and I'm pretty sure it's just basically struvite. Some of the studies/experiments I've read since starting this, let the struvite form  nice big 'crystal crystals' for days and weeks before harvesting...using the small powdery crystals I'm harvesting as seed crystals. While others harvest and use the small powdery stuff...

And I personally wouldn't say its anything highly reactive going on...in (I believe near Sacremento) Ca, they've had to replace 5 or 6 kilometers of pipe because of the struvite crystals growing on the walls and clogging the up over time. It just seems like they like to stick to metal surfaces and then grow (if you let them)...they don't seem to effect the inside of the pipe walls in any way reported...just a surface to stick to...but again, who knows...this is only according to stuff I've read, and the little bit I've seen while doing this. I'm thinking that layer might keep stuff from corroding? (like solder or where metal was cut and not galved anymore)...

I've no patience nor need for the larger crystals, since this is a small reactor and my filter material does just fine with this design. It seems like the bigger and more complicated the reactor design, the more stuff gets gummed up or whatever which is where it seems this bigger crystal size thing becomes necessary/desirable...

The other possibility being that Miljan, a woofer friend from New Mexico is my struvite 'lucky charm', as these yield increases started happening about the day he showed up :) At this point in time, this is as plausible (and more importantly, provable and explainable) as any other idea I have related to the sudden increase ...

I've even been processing the struvite at the same time of day because of temps and all...

I've been trying to read up on motion/agitation in terms of crystal inception/formation...who knows though...seem like a ok avenue to explore for now, but they all are at the moment...

I expect the yields to drop just as unexpectedly at some point..? As the old humonia factory pumps out product with 'un-reliable' consistency...

How long must you store humonia before it starts to turn into ammonia.  I saved some for two days and it still did not test positive for ammonia.

Bottling pee and waiting for the enzymes to turn the urea content into ammonia can take a while.  In the Liquid Gold research I did a while back I found sources that said to bottle the urine until the pH got over 9.  This was usually the indication that the urea had converted to ammonia.  How long this takes can vary but 3 weeks seems pretty common.

If you use the urine sooner, like perhaps you have it bottled for only 5 days or something, you may test and get an ammonia reading but that reading will only be telling you how much has converted (not how much may be left to convert) so if you were to dose your system with minimally aged pee, the ammonia levels could continue to rise after dosing and this could make figuring out your next needed dose difficult.

Great read guys. Thanks! esp to Vlad

Sorry to come late to this discussion, but there are ways to do this that involves some math (warning: what I'm about to suggest is over-kill). Ok, so the "cheap" way is to take a small sample of the pee you will use and put 3g of Mg in it (I just pulled that out of my a**) then see how much you got. The precipitate will be Sturvite and Mg. What you can do is separate it by weight and such... 

Or, you can test for the P (see what I did there) and  use the Humonia appropriately. All you need to do is find the percentage of each salt and do the math from there. (I'll explain when my brain is not being useless.) 

Or, you can go all out and test the color of it (with some lab equipment I can't remember the name of), and/or smell of it. I would go with the first one.

Eric, you sound high

What? This idea came to me as I was reading this thread. Then again, I knew it was a bit crazy. Anyways, at some point I'll mention this to my AP Chemistry teacher next year, she might be able to understand what Vlad's trying to do. At this point it is way "above my pay grade".

Jon Parr said:

Eric, you sound high

Yeah Eric what gives? Trying to understand what I'm doing should be a cake walk for you. Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate (Struvite) will continue to form until one of two things happen 1) Magnesium runs out or, 2)Phosphorous content is depleted.

The content of humonia is pretty variable, so I purposely overshot my threshold Mg amount that way I don't have to fuck around with 'magically' testing the phosphate content of each and ever bottle of humonia. Weather its a strong orange-y bottle or, a weak yellow transarent-ish bottle, all the phosphate will be extracted with an 'over shot' Mg amount. Only difference will be either a little more, or a little less 'free'-unused Mg left in the effluent. But, that is not a problem since plants wont mind anyhow...make sense?

How I came to my 'threshold amount' to begin with is described in the other two threads...I forget which exactly...prob in both...

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