Aquaponic Gardening

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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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I hoped that would be the effect of the comment.

Laughing is good medicine.

not sure if this the right thread to ask this question but .....

So I have a few bottles of aged pee, about 2 weeks old, that I'm planning to use for fish-less cycling and might go peeponics all the way. there are "white substance" forming at the bottom of the bottle. 

Do I shake the bottle and use that too or strained the "white substance" before using the aged pee ?

What are the required procedures or methods in using/doing peeponics ?

Yes, shake the bottles and use that too. Those white substances are mostly phosphate precipitates (calcium phosphate, and magnesium phosphate...both are quite plant beneficial). They are forming because the urea is hydrolyzing (turning into) ammonia...and hence the pH is starting to rise. Once the pH starts to rise much above 7, complexes of essential elements star to precipitate out of solution in the form of those whitish cloudy crystals. They will eventually dissolve again due to bacterial action and being in a lower pH environment...where they can then be used up by your plants.

The methods for cycling with humonia are the same as ammonia dosing i.e dose to between 2-4ppm while cycling.

200 to 300 ml of humonia per 1000 liters of system water should bring NH4 levels up to about 2ppm.

thanks for the quick reply. I was hoping that you are the one to reply because I have not seen any details of peeponics from other forums.

would it be safe to assume that the fish waste is essentially same or similar to humonia in regards to what the plants can used out of it ?

or is there something the fish waste by-product being produce that the humonia does not ?

without testing the ph of the humonia what is the ideal ageing of the humonia before it should be used ? 

is 2 weeks enough ? 3 weeks ? 1 month ?

if I do decide to straight out do peeponics, what level of ammonia/humonia I should be maintaining ? same as if I'm cycling @ 2-4ppm ?

Thanks for the assistance .....

Yes, that would be a very safe assumption looking at things in terms of essential element content. There are about 25 elements essential to animal life, only 16 of which are essential to plants. 3 of those elements are 'structural elements', and you can't really do much about those 3...Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), and Oxygen (O) is just the 'stuff' all living things are made from...well at least life as we know it...

Elementally speaking, I don't believe their is much difference at all. You will still probably need to supplement with iron (Fe) though. The less processed crappy food that you eat (less sodium and other undesirable things), the better your humonia will be for your plants...and the better off you will be yourself

I don't believe their is an 'ideal aging', but 3 to 4 weeks has always been plenty enough time in my case.

No, you probably would not want to maintain a constant 2-4ppm level after cycling...much of that will depend on how much you are growing, and what kind of plants. As to a rough average starting point might be dosing 1-2ppm a few time a week...keep an eye on your nitrate levels, as that would be a good parameter to follow in order to get an idea of dosing frequency...

No problem, happy to help...

so I was reviewing a couple of videos regarding. essentially it was saying that keeping ammonia and nitrite to 0.5 ppm and nitrate @ around 50 to 75 ppm.

I guess give a dose of ammonia if the nitrate level swings below 50 ppm.

Is that a good level of nitrate @ 50 to 75 ppm ?

What do you suggest keeping the nitrate level ?

Yes, 50-75ppm of NO3 would be good.

I shoot for 40-60ppm, but the difference is negligible.

Just keep the bacteria alive and the plants happy...that's pretty much it... 

thanks for the valuable information. 

@vlad Couple of more questions. hope you don't mind.

as far as storing the humonia.

1) is there an "expiration" on how much aging before it needs to be discarded ?

2) I have the humonia on a small water bottle and the cap is snugly closed BUT not too tight that some "gases" can air out. And then I have it stored 10 humonia water bottles on a 5 gallon container with the lid snugly closed. The container is kept outside the kitchen porch which has a diffused roofing. No direct sunlight. Weather here right I would say in the daytime around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, evenings under 70 and early morning around 60 or so.

Is this acceptable way of storing humonia ?

3) How do you store humonia ?

Thanks again in advance.....

No expiration date.

Feel free to close them quite snugly. No gasses will 'expand'...quite the contrary...the air will be used up and you may notice your bottles slightly "crumpled" due to used up gasses. (So you don't have to worry about them wanting to 'explode').

Yes, totally acceptable IMO. 

Just try to keep them out of the direct sunlight..the darker the better (no UV light) IMO.

No problem...glad to be of some help...

well since it is only snugly close it could be "sucking" up outside air continuously. would this be alright or i'm better off closing the water bottle cap tightly or maybe it does not matter and I'm just over thinking this whole peeponics ;)  

can;t help over thinking. I've been a computer programmer/analyst for over 3 decades.

so putting the water bottles inside a 5 gallon container was a "lucky break" for me. :)


however, it is a food grade white container. this should be sufficient as far as "..the darker the better (no UV light)" is concern. right ?

Yeah...u mit3 b 0vr thnkng ths 1 

Opaque is good. Though I doubt that in such an application such as this one that it's "super" important...but working with microbes and other things, I've learned that sunlight can often degrade, or hinder process's...you could always just throw an old blanket or tarp over your containers if you are worried...but I wouldn't worry too, too much about it.

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