Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm a new member ....so greetings to all.

Can I use river water to fill my system initially?  Have rainwater as an alternative, and high alkalinity well water,  but feel like either the river water (fresh)  or the rain water would be best. 

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Welcome Mark,

I wish that the first thing I would have purchased before starting my system was the water test kit. I started with community well water that was 8.4 pH and have been having lots of trouble bringing it down below the 7.8 range. If I would have had the kit I could have tested all of my available sources and then chosen the one with the lowest pH. When I started changing out the water slowly and got it below 7.8 then the plants really began to take off.

That is just my personal opinion.

Good luck with your system, I have found this site to be a great source of information.

Thanks Jim,

I will look at the pH of all three sources.

Is pH the only factor? What about disease or pathogens in River water?  Or, is the slimier the better since we want to introduce bacteria? 


Jim Enterline said:

Welcome Mark,

I wish that the first thing I would have purchased before starting my system was the water test kit. I started with community well water that was 8.4 pH and have been having lots of trouble bringing it down below the 7.8 range. If I would have had the kit I could have tested all of my available sources and then chosen the one with the lowest pH. When I started changing out the water slowly and got it below 7.8 then the plants really began to take off.

That is just my personal opinion.

Good luck with your system, I have found this site to be a great source of information.

I use rainwater in my indoor system and it's been good so far. (I'm 3 months in to my system)  It was around 7.6-7.8 pH if I recall.  I guess I would be hesitant to put river water in my system just due to not knowing what is in the water, but then again the closest river to me is the Missouri and I grew up with horror stories about it's water so I'm probably scarred somewhere on the inside ;)  But to be fair, rain water could hold the same risks, for example if you claim it from a drain from runoff from your roof it may have heavy metals in it, or who knows what from the tar on the shingles.  To be honest I took a chance with rain water and it's working so I use it.

Hi Mark:

All things being equal, I would go with the river water as long is from a basically non-polluted source -- i.e. fish consumption is not regulated by the state fish and game dept.

Getting a jump on the bacteria is huge and sweet natural water that has NOT been "improved" by man is a distinct advantage too. 

While you're at the river, pick up a few slimy river rocks too. Watch for the little beetle-ly looking bugs running around in the shallow gravel that have "wings" from the center of their body.  They "run" away when you enter the water; they are actually tiny shrimp called gammarus or scuds as they are known in some areas.  Gammarus are great for cleaning up after your fish. The fish will make a meal of them if they get a chance so put a couple hundred (really) of them in the sump and grow bed to begin with so they won't all get eaten right away.  You will still want to add compost worms in the media bed.

(danger Will Robinson, don't go there!)

IMHO the pH of the water is highly over emphasized here...  My cement pond based (it won't work) AP system is 4 years old.  I added the AP GB only to clean the fish pond I inherited at this new house not knowing the pH would be uncontrollable due to the lime leaching or that it was even an issue.  When I finally gave up and quit pouring pool acid in everyday, the GB took off and finally started to grow as advertized.  pH is at 8.3...  Just make sure you have an over abundant mineral source and you shouldn't have a problem with high pH.  (Oh no! here come the nay-sayers; duck!)

All the best,

Jim

Awesome answer Jim. I had a feeling that Nature knew what it was doing better than a tinkering man, and I'm willing to test that belief.  Thanks for the detailed response.

Jim Troyer said:

Hi Mark:

All things being equal, I would go with the river water as long is from a basically non-polluted source -- i.e. fish consumption is not regulated by the state fish and game dept.

Getting a jump on the bacteria is huge and sweet natural water that has NOT been "improved" by man is a distinct advantage too.  While you're at, pick up a few slimy river rocks too. 

The little beetle-ly bugs running around in the shallow gravel that have "wings" from the center of their body that "run" away when you enter the water are gammarus or scuds as they are known in some areas.  They are great for cleaning up after your fish. The fish will make a meal of them if they get a chance so put a couple hundred (really) of them in the sump and grow bed to begin with.  You will still want compost worms in the media bed./

IMHO the pH of the water is highly over emphasized here...  My cement (it won't work) AP system is 4 years old.  I added the GB to clean the fish pond I inherited at this new house.  When finally gave up and quit pouring pool acid in everyday, the GB took off and finally started to grow as advertized.  pH is at 8.3...  Just make sure you have an over abundant mineral source and you shouldn't have a problem with high pH.  (Oh no! here come the nay-sayers; duck!)

All the best,

Jim

My pleasure

Keep us informed regarding your new addiction, Mark 

Jim

Yeah, check upstream for potential sources of pollution. Big dead animals lying in the water, mysterious workings secretly dumping garbage cans of nuclear waste into the river, you know, stuff like that.

Jim Troyer said:

Hi Mark:

All things being equal, I would go with the river water as long is from a basically non-polluted source -- i.e. fish consumption is not regulated by the state fish and game dept.

Thanks Alex,

All the nuclear waste is at least 1 mile upstream, so I assume it is dissipated by the time it gets to this area. And if there is a slight contamination glow, it might be easier to find my fish at night.

Mark

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