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Starting late this past winter I began to notice a gelatinous substance (clear 'slime') on the roots of the plants in my NFT system.  I posted some photos of the most recent manifestation/infestation of what may or may not be a problem.  In addition, like a previous attempt to grow strawberries in the NFT (they also exhibited the same 'slime' on their roots, a reddish wilt would appear on the leaves and eventually wither them. The basil I planted a recently also began to show the same or similar pathology. 

Anyone have an experience with these problems?  Are they related or two separate issues?  Four photos of the affected plants are in the photo gallery.

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Ooh, that don't look good Bill...Not to be a downer but, that's really not a good sign.

looks like the classic case of not enough pre filter. any solids in an NFT system will cause this issue. not sure if you are running through a media bed first or not. it may be a lack of oxygen at that stage of the system... a result of high heat.

Bill, this is the kind of stuff folks were talking about way back when you were just building your system/getting started (in terms of NFT and the importance of pre-filtering and or stocking densities).

Like Rob says, It may be that your temps are higher so there is even less O2 available now, but you keep tilapia if I recall and your temps are prob always kinda high-ish (but you know being July now and all)...worms in the media bed may help a bit if you don't have them already...

What would CERTAINLY help is a pre-NFT filter of some sort (there are many ways you could do this, or many filters you could purchase depending on what route you want to take). More O2 and cooler temps (temps being the hardest/most expensive thing there to control/add) could only help...

Vlad...   The NFT system is in the basement, mounted above the fish tank.  I take water and pH readings everyday, which are recorded in a Numbers spreadsheet.  Temperature is consistently running 71.5 F  (+/- 0.5F). When the 'slime' problem first developed, I was running goldfish at between 74-78 F.  I have since switched to largemouth bass, which do better at the lower water temperature.  I agree about the need for better filtering.  The water for both the grow bed and NFT come from the same source, the sump tank below the grow bed. There is been little or no filtering up to now, but I plan to address that. For now the NFT system has been shut down, until I can install both better filtering and a way to drain off the debris. 

Just for clarification... this is a single pump system with the pump in the sump tank.  It pumps water into a T joint, where half the stream goes into the grow bed above the sump and half goes either directly into the fish tank or into the NFT and then into the fish tank, depending on what valves are set. In practical terms the only "filter" is the grow bed of hydroton.  I have begun a regimen of daily 'net cleaning' the fish tank: slowing running my fine mesh catch net along the bottom of the fish tank and multiple passes through the stirred up sediment.  I also placed a nylon hose "filter" over the fish tank outflow to catch that debris.  The net sweep has collected a LOT of waste debris in the fish tank, debris that I didn't have with the Goldfish, which shows the difference between the two species.  I wanted the switch over to lgmouth bass to be a learning experience and it is proving every much that.

Good day Bill,

 Without some microscopy work to confirm I suspect Pythium. This fungus loves high temp waters. I had a bit of experience with this in my medical marijuana days and I would use a Hydrogen peroxide wash with limited success. I have attached a Penn State link. http://extension.psu.edu/plant-disease-factsheets/all-fact-sheets/p... .

  If you want to try Tilapia again I have a steady supply of fingerlings. I think you and I are the only auqapons in NE.

cheers,

kenny
 
Bill Moore said:

Vlad...   The NFT system is in the basement, mounted above the fish tank.  I take water and pH readings everyday, which are recorded in a Numbers spreadsheet.  Temperature is consistently running 71.5 F  (+/- 0.5F). When the 'slime' problem first developed, I was running goldfish at between 74-78 F.  I have since switched to largemouth bass, which do better at the lower water temperature.  I agree about the need for better filtering.  The water for both the grow bed and NFT come from the same source, the sump tank below the grow bed. There is been little or no filtering up to now, but I plan to address that. For now the NFT system has been shut down, until I can install both better filtering and a way to drain off the debris. 

Just for clarification... this is a single pump system with the pump in the sump tank.  It pumps water into a T joint, where half the stream goes into the grow bed above the sump and half goes either directly into the fish tank or into the NFT and then into the fish tank, depending on what valves are set. In practical terms the only "filter" is the grow bed of hydroton.  I have begun a regimen of daily 'net cleaning' the fish tank: slowing running my fine mesh catch net along the bottom of the fish tank and multiple passes through the stirred up sediment.  I also placed a nylon hose "filter" over the fish tank outflow to catch that debris.  The net sweep has collected a LOT of waste debris in the fish tank, debris that I didn't have with the Goldfish, which shows the difference between the two species.  I wanted the switch over to lgmouth bass to be a learning experience and it is proving every much that.

Hi Ken...  thanks for the feed back.  Actually, we have a local aquaponics expert right here in Papillion by the name of Greg Fripp.  He's been doing it for more than a decade.  Also Kip Edmonds in Gretna is doing it. I got my 'starter' innoculant from him.  

ok thanx!!!

Ok...71.5 F seems alright...Anything above 80 degrees and pythium really seems to dig it...I don't really feel that in this particular case pythium is the primary culprit, not because of the temps you confirmed, but mainly because of the slime layer and solids build up evident in your system...I've never personally seen pythium exhibit a slime layer that I'm aware of (usually that is reserved for bacterial 'infections'), just the tell tale discoloration of the roots and/or seedlings thinning out at the crown and flopping over...but not slime and necrotic lesions on the leaves like in your photo...

Interesting about how different the effluent is between the two species...I take it you haven't switched feeds or anything like that..?


Bill Moore said:

Vlad...   The NFT system is in the basement, mounted above the fish tank.  I take water and pH readings everyday, which are recorded in a Numbers spreadsheet.  Temperature is consistently running 71.5 F  (+/- 0.5F). When the 'slime' problem first developed, I was running goldfish at between 74-78 F.  I have since switched to largemouth bass, which do better at the lower water temperature.  I agree about the need for better filtering.  The water for both the grow bed and NFT come from the same source, the sump tank below the grow bed. There is been little or no filtering up to now, but I plan to address that. For now the NFT system has been shut down, until I can install both better filtering and a way to drain off the debris. 

Just for clarification... this is a single pump system with the pump in the sump tank.  It pumps water into a T joint, where half the stream goes into the grow bed above the sump and half goes either directly into the fish tank or into the NFT and then into the fish tank, depending on what valves are set. In practical terms the only "filter" is the grow bed of hydroton.  I have begun a regimen of daily 'net cleaning' the fish tank: slowing running my fine mesh catch net along the bottom of the fish tank and multiple passes through the stirred up sediment.  I also placed a nylon hose "filter" over the fish tank outflow to catch that debris.  The net sweep has collected a LOT of waste debris in the fish tank, debris that I didn't have with the Goldfish, which shows the difference between the two species.  I wanted the switch over to lgmouth bass to be a learning experience and it is proving every much that.

Vlad... I contacted the Gary Moorman at Penn State, he's the plant pathologist mentioned in the link above.  I sent him a couple photos for his analysis.  I used to live not that far from State College, PA so maybe he'll be willing to offer some advice.

bill

Good deal.

(btw...I really enjoyed the bit EV World I've had the pleasure of reading...nice job).

Bill I use a 5 gal aerated bucket  ,  pump water into the bottom, in the bucket there is screen(plastic,I had a roll of screen) to create a filter, then the bucket overflows into my 2 beds and my 3" lettuce pipe,  I had the same slime problem when I went away and my pump slowed down it was every where even growing in my fish tank.  I washed out my pipe cleaned my tanks and increased the flow rate into my pipe, this seems to be keeping the "slime" Build up to a minimal amt. My pics from today show how I have it set up. some pics 

What chemicals do you add to your system?

u can also Google red or brown slime algae

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