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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 just downloaded The Humanure Handbook. It'll give me some good reading  just prior to going to bed...probably give me some weird dreams... I just read this whole peeponics article and at first I thought "You gotta be kidding" but it was really interesting. My wife is gonna think I've finally lost it when I tell her that I need to pee in a bottle. At one point Vlad said you may have to add iron for your plants but what would happen if you were taking iron pills? My wife has to take an iron supplement. Has anybody tested their pee after eating certain diets to determine the differences? My wife just read some of this blog and she thinks we have potty mouths. I guess she's sorta right when you think about it...Lol.

I just found this book about the history of pee: Life of Pee: The Story of How Urine Got Everywhere: Sally Magnusson: 9781845135904: Amazon.com: Books - http://www.amazon.com/Life-Pee-Story-Urine-Everywhere/dp/1845135903

The Humanure Handbook is a good read...I still keep a copy in my bathroom (hehe)...ehem...anyways...

Iron (Fe) is a rather tricky element (almost as much so as phosphorous). It is one of the 'Transition Metals' in the periodic table of the elements...so it comes in 'two flavors'...Iron (II) and iron (III), also called ferrous iron, and ferric iron respectively (and also written as Fe2+ and Fe3+).

Plants can use ferrous iron (Fe2+), ferric iron (Fe3+) is pretty useless to plants...when the (even ferrous) iron in your humonia hits your well oxygenated systems water it transitions into plant useless ferric (Fe3+) in a matter of seconds. It's a redox (reduction/oxidation) chemical reaction that only takes seconds (literally). It may transition back into ferrous iron in an anoxic, or anearobic environment with the help of anearobic microbes...but that does us no good since our systems water is a highly oxygenated environment...it's a vicious 'Ferrous Wheel' 

So even if you are taking iron supplements, or eat an iron rich diet, it will not help the situation much...unfortunately.

Ferrous iron needs to be bound to a ligand (chelate) in order for it to remain bio-available in our growing systems..but all of the common synthetic chelates (EDTA, DTPA, EDDHA etc)...are expressly forbidden by the NOP (National Organic Program) rules governing organic agriculture.

We've been a bit busy setting up the AP/Hydro retail venture, and are nearing the end of registering my microbial formulations of bio-fertilizers with the EPA...So, hopefully real soon we can finish building my small but proper laboratory here in the US. What I hope to work on next is formulating a NOP/OMRI certifiable chelated iron product we could successfully use in AP...we'll see how that goes...



Jack Dunbar said:

I just downloaded The Humanure Handbook. It'll give me some good reading  just prior to going to bed...probably give me some weird dreams... I just read this whole peeponics article and at first I thought "You gotta be kidding" but it was really interesting. My wife is gonna think I've finally lost it when I tell her that I need to pee in a bottle. At one point Vlad said you may have to add iron for your plants but what would happen if you were taking iron pills? My wife has to take an iron supplement. Has anybody tested their pee after eating certain diets to determine the differences? My wife just read some of this blog and she thinks we have potty mouths. I guess she's sorta right when you think about it...Lol.

Thanks Joni...I just read the synopsis. Sounds interesting and a bit humorous :)

I'll have to nab a copy somewhere...

Joni Solis said:

I just found this book about the history of pee: Life of Pee: The Story of How Urine Got Everywhere: Sally Magnusson: 9781845135904: Amazon.com: Books - http://www.amazon.com/Life-Pee-Story-Urine-Everywhere/dp/1845135903

@ vlad since I'm doing fishless, I was contemplating on hanging an appropriate amount of worm casting in a bag and HANG it inside the fish tank as opposed to brewing a tea in a separate 5 gallon bucket. in this case the whole system is treated.

do you think it will damage my aquaponics system ?

Vlad Jovanovic said:

Yes, you can do that Butch.

Butch Pornebo said:

been watching some videos on compost tea and aquaponics.

what do you think of brewing compost tea on a 5 gallon bucket then filtering it before adding a small amount, not sure how much per gallon of tank water ?

good or bad idea ?

or maybe just spraying directly to the plants instead ?

No, doing that should not damage your system in any way. It's been done in both fishless as well as in systems with fish in them.

Butch Pornebo said:

@ vlad since I'm doing fishless, I was contemplating on hanging an appropriate amount of worm casting in a bag and HANG it inside the fish tank as opposed to brewing a tea in a separate 5 gallon bucket. in this case the whole system is treated.

do you think it will damage my aquaponics system ?

Vlad Jovanovic said:

Yes, you can do that Butch.

Butch Pornebo said:

been watching some videos on compost tea and aquaponics.

what do you think of brewing compost tea on a 5 gallon bucket then filtering it before adding a small amount, not sure how much per gallon of tank water ?

good or bad idea ?

or maybe just spraying directly to the plants instead ?

as usual your insights and expertise is highly appreciated.

so my nitrates are over the top and my grow bed is full. should I keep adding my ammonia source or should I hold off until the nitrates drops down to around 80. what will happen to the nitrifying bacterias if I hold off on the ammonia feed ? should I just add bare minimum ? what is bare minimum tho ? I load about 100 ml pee and in 2 days it's all gone. ammonia to 0.25 and nitrite to 0.25

Hi Butch, Yeah, you might want to cut back on the ammonia dosing. It would really with coming up with a 'bare minimum' number, if you could tell us your total system water volume, and your grow bed dimensions 

it's a very small system. 40 gallons of system water volume and 10 bucket system link together. bucket it's about 11" diameter and actual water height based on stand pipe is 8" high. 

thanks in advance.

I was wondering if you had a chance to look over my "bare minimum ammonia" question.

Also, by just using humonia as source for my fishless aquaponics, is there any nutrient deficiency I should be worried about. Like NPK or other minerals. Understand that the plants needs 16 nutrients, 3 of which is provided by mother nature and 13 that we can provide.

Will the humonia provide the other 13 nutrients required by the plants ?

I been adding bi-weekly MaxiCrop with Iron and Azomite. 

Any other supplementation you recommend to provide all 13 nutrients ?

Regards,

Butch P.

 

Hi Butch, I just now saw this...been kinda swamped with stuff lately...

Yes, all 13 plant essential elements are there.

Supplementation will be the same (less actually) as with fish. Iron and MaxiCrop/Azomite is fine.

You might want to cut back dosing to about 30ml twice a week, until nitrates come down a bit.

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