Aquaponic Gardening

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My First Home Aquaponics Experiment Questions:

Is it good or bad for me to have an additional sponge filter in the tank? I know many larger aquaponics set ups have swirl filters and things so it seems like a good idea to me.

Is it right that the helpful bacteria is on the sponge filter? What about the sponge filter I have in the growled since it gets more light?

Am I right in thinking that a better way to grow lettuce would not be in grow media but in floating rafts?

Why are not more of the flowers on my pepper plant fruiting? I must have seen 20 of them at least and just one pepper.

Is the moss or the orange fungus going to hurt my strawberries?

What is the best soil mixture for germinating strawberries? It seems my coconut fiber mixture was overkill.

Why do I have different leaves on my strawberries if the seeds were planted from the same packet?

If my chelated EDDHA iron says it's 4.8%, how much should I put in once a month for a 110 liter tank?

How do you save a spanish ribbed newt, or any aquatic salamander, that gets white cotton fungus on it? It is very hard to find info on this online.

Should I cut those little things off my tomato plant growing where the branches meet the main stalk?

NOTE: I did also upgrade the filter and now the siphon kicks in quickly.

What is the best time rate to allow your grow bed to fill and empty? It seems like that would be a very difficult thing to manage with this small of a system unless I simply set up a timer.

The problem however with a timer is what if your pump turns off before the siphon has kicked in? Then your plants are just sitting in water for a long period of time. I have heard 15 minutes of flood and drain and 45 minutes with the pump off. I used to turn it off at night. Now, I just turn the lights off at night and let the pump run 24/7.

What is the best grow light cycle for fruiting plants?

When do you know when to transplant your strawberries into the grow bed? It seems mine are about ready.

Thank you so very kindly for any help you can provide! God bless your day!

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Thanks for your responses!

I am not sure what a duel root zone pit is, but I will google it.

By "best soil mix" I just mean what is the best combination of peat moss, coco fiber, soil or whatever for germinating seeds.  I am sure everyone has a different opinion about this, but as I am pretty new to this I have few opinions - just tests.  :)

I should have taken the poor newt to the vet.  I'll get some peroxide handy.



Steve R said:

You can add black worms to your grow beds to dramatically reduce the sludge buildup. I usually try to stir my beds after harvest while I'm digging out the roots but now thats iv switched to potting most of my plants in my system i haven't had any where near as many issues with that either. 

Sponge filter is pointless in AP because you already have overkill amount of bacteria to handle your water because of all the added surface area in teh grow beds.

Lettuce will grow fastest in a raft system.

Replant your peppers in a duel root zone pot and they will fruit constantly.

Moss wont hurt i have moss on my hydroton in my system at home as for the other one im not sure.

What do you mean best soil mix? Do you mean wicking bed setup or a duel root zone?

Leaves are highly variable depending on photoperiod, available co2, soil composition, magnesium level and many other issues

I dont use that form of iron

as far as your newt friend peroxide is your best bet. If you go to a higher end pet store or a vet tehy can also give you an oral liquid but its hard to properly dose for amphibians. Peroxide is your best bet just make sure its diluted and pout it on a qtip and dab the infection.

Prune your plants to not block light from teh rest of they plant and any leaves that are shaded more than 80% are fine to cut because they are taking more energy they they are making.

I have my grow beds on timers systems on a 30 mines off 15 on and the bell siphon systems are all 5- 7 times per hour or so. 

For fruiting plants its best to put them on a 16 on 8 off cycle with a few exceptions

As soon as they have roots big enough to anchor the plant.

I tried to answer them in order.


Great answer, and interesting...thanks!


Glenn said:

Fish waste solids in grow bed media, removal or left to build up over time, is still an interesting question. Knowing and understanding both popular answers will probably help you decide what's best for you and your system.

link: http://www.microponics.net.au/microponics/aquaponics_aquaculture/my...

Here's the quick review, "Bio-filters (including grow beds) function more efficiently when solids are removed.

  • The digestion of large volumes of solids diminishes dissolved oxygen levels.  Fish, plants and nitrifying bacteria all do best when dissolved oxygen levels are optimised.
  • Built up fish wastes (or other sediment) create pockets of anaerobic (without oxygen) activity resulting in denitrification.
  • Denitrification causes the pH of the system to rise.  Ammonia in the presence of high pH levels is toxic to fish.
  • Removal of the solids, and their subsequent mineralisation, is a simple (and far less risky) thing to do.
  • The question of balance in an aquaponics system is more about productivity and sustainability and less about accommodating dogma."

I hope this helps.

Aha...so if you start a hospital tank you should stick some bacteria in there to keep ammonia levels down.  I guess thats what your saying.

Good thinking.

Scott Roberts said:

I'm a big fan of sponge filters. There's no such thing as too much biological filtration, and a sponge filter can always be moved to a tub to form an instantly cycled quarantine/hospital tank.

This can be easily solved by adding a variety or worms. I use red wigglers, earthworms, and blackworms to make sure all size particles are being broken down.

Glenn said:

Fish waste solids in grow bed media, removal or left to build up over time, is still an interesting question. Knowing and understanding both popular answers will probably help you decide what's best for you and your system.

link: http://www.microponics.net.au/microponics/aquaponics_aquaculture/my...

Here's the quick review, "Bio-filters (including grow beds) function more efficiently when solids are removed.

  • The digestion of large volumes of solids diminishes dissolved oxygen levels.  Fish, plants and nitrifying bacteria all do best when dissolved oxygen levels are optimised.
  • Built up fish wastes (or other sediment) create pockets of anaerobic (without oxygen) activity resulting in denitrification.
  • Denitrification causes the pH of the system to rise.  Ammonia in the presence of high pH levels is toxic to fish.
  • Removal of the solids, and their subsequent mineralisation, is a simple (and far less risky) thing to do.
  • The question of balance in an aquaponics system is more about productivity and sustainability and less about accommodating dogma."

I hope this helps.

Just like your main system, a hospital or quarantine tank needs to be cycled. That means either keeping the hospital tank running all the time with some goldfish "patients" to keep things running, or having a spare sponge filter that's already cycled from the main tank. 

Jacoby said:

Aha...so if you start a hospital tank you should stick some bacteria in there to keep ammonia levels down.  I guess thats what your saying.

Good thinking.

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