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I am in central Texas and built a raft system based on Friendly Aquaponics instructions.

Water temperature is up to 92

ph 7.7

ammonia 0.5

nitrate 10

nitrite barely above 0

Seed starting bed

Plant Problems

Tomatoes originally looked like Iron deficiency and I added iron, then it just started getting light green all over

Pumpkins that are now completely dead

Cucumber with same type issues and it's roots

Okra - left 3 are a week or two older then the ones on right

So any thoughts or ideas on what to do to get this going? I'm looking for a good low cost d.o. meter. I'm also wondering if putting them out in full sun in just frying them.

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Hi Devoid....I just got through cleaning out my green house rafts this this past weekend. Whew, what a mess that was. Our winter was so darn cold I just let things that were growing well go. I had basil roots everywhere. Anyway put in some new pepper plants and going to put in some tomatoes next weekend. Not sure what tomato blight is but even the tomatoes I put in the ground outside sometimes get funky looking lower leaves. You sure are doing some intensive growing in that one raft. How are your nitrate and nitrite levels and pH doing? 

I pulled the plastic off a week before these rain storms so everything is extremely diluted, doh. I also put a screw into my foot while taking it off, stepped on a board with it sticking up. 

I think that's 18 plants per 2' x 4' raft. I have no idea what density they need, I can start chopping them out if I need. I'm cutting off all the suckers so they grow more like a vine than a bush.

My California Wonder pepper plants from last year have been doing well. My serrano plant from last year grew so tall it fell over. 

Spent the last week and half pulling out spent plants and roots myself. 

I'll have to go look what test strips I have left, need to add iron for sure. Just added calcium after all that rain. 

What kind of peppers and tomatoes are you going with?

We are growing Big Jim chili peppers, some Baby Bells, and Baron Bells. I decided to go heirloom this year with my tomatoes. Arkansas Traveler, Ozark Pink and Rutgers. I also have a couple of hybrids of Large Cherry and Solar Fire. I did get some of the mini melon seeds but have not started them yet. Not sure if I will put them in the greenhouse or not. We have a very large outdoor garden area that I might put my melons, cucumbers and squash in. Going to also try some heat resistant lettuce in the aquaponics room although I don't hold out much hope for that with our summers. I expect my main goal will be keeping the pesky white flies at bay in there. Our Talapia are doing great in spite of the fact that we can't seem to get our pH up. I have found that they are quite adaptable fish which is a good thing for me. LOL

I went to Hatch, NM on a tour through parts of New Mexico a year and half ago. I fell in love with green chili peppers. I've got a  whole jar full of seed I want to plant out, but hadn't ever got my soil garden going.

I'm thinking I need buckets like hydro guys use for pepper plants, they really take up too much space to put in my rafts.

I have seeds for Rutgers but skipped them in favor of Brandywine this year. Now that I see how long Brandywine take, I should of put in some Rutgers to tide me over until the Brandywine ripen. 

The large spreading stuff would probably be better where you have a lot of room for them. 

I bought a number of heat resistent lettuce seeds, we'll see how it goes. I ordered a 40% white shade cloth to put over the hoops (plastic is off). Hoping that helps with the lettuce.

What are you using for pH? Friendly Aquaponics uses calcium carbonate as it's organic, but says it also has a long term buffering effect if you put in enough. Meaning it brings it up to a certain pH and then holds it there as long as there is some undissolved in the system.

Had a guy at the hydro shop tell me he thought the pics were showing a deficiency of calcium or magnesium. 

Today's update

Attachments:

I am looking at the pictures, how deep are you float beds and what material is the casing. In the picture it looks like metal and very shallow , if so both these are factors to cause the water temp to get high. you mention 4000gal system, how big is the main tank.  I agree with others posting that the temp seems too high and if this is running by the roots 8=hours a day that cab be a problem.  Deeper Raft 10-12" and some aeration system is my recommendation, Be sure your Nitrate levels are high but with those temp you could be killing your good bacteria-let me know and good luck

The troughs are a foot deep and use duraskrim liner. 

4 troughs that are 4ft wide x 47 ft long at a foot deep.

4x47x1=188 cubic ft per trough

188x4=752 cubic ft

7.48 gallons per cubic ft

5,625 gallons in troughs

2 fish tanks that are 6 ft diameter and 3 ft deep

3.14 x 3(squared) x 3= 84.78 cubic ft x 7.48 = 634 gallons x 2 = 1,268 gallons

Total of 6,893 gallons

I have a TL-40 airpump and a D.O. meter to check the dissolved Oxygen 

Do you have a source that talks about water temps? I can only find them in relation to keeping the fish alive. Need to look into that more. 

Those plants are growing great and nothing in the system shows nitrogen deficiency. The older tomato plants I keep having to hack back because they overgrow the aisles.  The squash plants are beautiful green and putting off large fruit. 

I forgot to add more calcium today.

I just got some heat tolerant lettuces in the mail yesterday ;) What kinds did you get? From Johnny's Select Seeds?

Devoid said:

I went to Hatch, NM on a tour through parts of New Mexico a year and half ago. I fell in love with green chili peppers. I've got a  whole jar full of seed I want to plant out, but hadn't ever got my soil garden going.

I'm thinking I need buckets like hydro guys use for pepper plants, they really take up too much space to put in my rafts.

I have seeds for Rutgers but skipped them in favor of Brandywine this year. Now that I see how long Brandywine take, I should of put in some Rutgers to tide me over until the Brandywine ripen. 

The large spreading stuff would probably be better where you have a lot of room for them. 

I bought a number of heat resistent lettuce seeds, we'll see how it goes. I ordered a 40% white shade cloth to put over the hoops (plastic is off). Hoping that helps with the lettuce.

What are you using for pH? Friendly Aquaponics uses calcium carbonate as it's organic, but says it also has a long term buffering effect if you put in enough. Meaning it brings it up to a certain pH and then holds it there as long as there is some undissolved in the system.

Had a guy at the hydro shop tell me he thought the pics were showing a deficiency of calcium or magnesium. 

Today's update

I'll post a photo of the packets when I get home. I know Jericho romaine and slo-bolt for sure. I forgot where I got the lettuce, not Johnny's but I'm looking at putting in an order to them shortly.

I'm in Texas and waiting for the 40% White shade cloth to come in, can't get here soon enough. I planted out 16 trays of 40 x 2inch pots the last two nights of various lettuce.

Lol, waiting for shipments is annoying. I recommend getting an Amazon Prime account for anybody who is really passionate about aquaponics, particularly when they are in the inventing/construction phase of it all. Getting packages in 2 days makes it really great for dealing with emergencies and it makes mistakes like ordering products that don't work out the way you hoped way less painful.

I'll be planting my new lettuces as soon as I get some free time after work. I'll have to let you know what works for me :)

Devoid said:

I'll post a photo of the packets when I get home. I know Jericho romaine and slo-bolt for sure. I forgot where I got the lettuce, not Johnny's but I'm looking at putting in an order to them shortly.

I'm in Texas and waiting for the 40% White shade cloth to come in, can't get here soon enough. I planted out 16 trays of 40 x 2inch pots the last two nights of various lettuce.

Wow, I must have totally missed your post from February :/ The completionist in me wants to answer your question, so hopefully this can still be of some help.

Most germination problems come from either bad seed (sometimes it gets too old) or from a moisture problem. Too wet, too dry....Honestly I don't have any beneficial info as far as how to get lettuces to germinate well; I've always just brushed some media aside and sprinkled the seeds. Never had a better germination rate in my life.

Tips for lettuce? Well, once they've sprouted in a media bed, make sure you have adequate lighting to create strong, young plants instead of thin, straggly ones (if gardening indoors) and thin out your lettuce patch really good. I've had a few too many batches of lettuce die out on me because I left too many plants in there. If they're overcrowded, it'll cause molds and rot to spring up and kill them all off.

Gena said:

Alex, we are doing floating raft. I've been starting my seeds in the house and transferring to the raft. Right now I'm 50/50 on my lettuce germination. Maybe it's the seed or my media is too cold or they got too wet, but I'm trying several different types of lettuce. Which ever ones germinate, those are the ones I'm sticking with. Do you have tips on lettuce? I bought butterheads from a local nursery last year and they did well in the rafts. But I really want to start my own. 

Better late than never. Here's some that I bought

There are some others that I'll have to get the names of in a little bit.

Had a mechanical timer on my water faucet fail on me. Several days of tap water. sigh. Fish seem ok. System is sparkling clear. Going to have to let them build up ammonia and get new inoculate. Hopefully the tomatoes will be ok.

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