Aquaponic Gardening

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Vegetables that don't work well together in the same system? Aquaponics in cold climates?

Does anybody know where can I find information about vegetables that grow well together? Or I can just try to plant anything?

Beisides, has anybody tried to grow rice? I was reading this interesting article about rice-fish farming in Bangladesh..

Moreover, what people do in cold climates to keep their aquaponics alive during winter? I am located in Germany..!



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The gunk from the filter pads of a mature aquarium will provide a nice inoculation of bacteria to get you started.  Worms are great for grow beds but there won't be much for them to eat right away and I don't know that the worms themselves are really what provides the inoculation of beneficial bacteria, when I added worms to start my grow beds they usually came with a hand full of nice worm castings from the worm farm they came from and worm castings are a great source of beneficial bacteria.  My grow beds were all filled with gravel that had been sitting outside so there were some leaves in the grow beds from the beginning so I figured the worms could eat those if they were hungry enough.


Good Luck

TCLynx, I have news and I would appreciate again some help.

I could not find ammonia anywhere but I have found refrigerated nitrifying bacteria at the aquarium shop. So, I thought: great,maybe cycling will take even less time! Indeed one week afterwards I have about 15 ppm NO3 and 1 ppm NO2. I guess that's a good sign, right?

The problem I have is the PH. The first time I tested it, before putting anything in the water, was about 7,6 but now it appears at about 8,6! I was just reading your post about tap water, that is not directly what it shows to be and that makes sence! So what do I do now to drop it? Only Cycling will work? I though cycling is only for the nitrates to appear and establish. I have also used a bio water conditioner for heavy metals and toxins, but I guess that has nothing to do with that.

Moreover the GH is also in "Caution area": >21 d



Some of those "water conditioners" are really not meant for food systems so you might want to get your hands on the MSDS sheets for the stuff you used to see how you fell about eating food from a system using it.


It is not uncommon for the pH to go up but that is a bit extreme.  Do you have any algae growing in the system?  You might want to test your pH at or before dawn and then test again in late afternoon to see if there is a major difference to know if your pH issue is due to algae or not.


I don't really understand GH well personally. I'm also at a bit of a loss as to why your pH would go up if your hardness is way low?  Or is it high?  I don't know what the 21 d means since I'm used to things being measured in ppm.


I might recommend taking some of the system water out and try adjusting the pH with some acid


Perhaps Nate or Rupe or some one else with a better grasp of chemistry can help out.

What are the MSDS sheets? This is the product I ve used but it's in german (I am sending you a picture with the english text)...I dont see anything about MSDS.

I don't see any algae. The test I ve run it yesterday afternoon. I can do one more now (afternoon) and the one in the night.

The GH  is too high, not too low.

What is Nate and Rupe? I think I might have the same problem finding them as with ammonia. Can I use simple vinegar perhaps?


oh oops.  I'm not sure what they would be in german.  MSDS stands for materials safety data sheets and they are required for almost any chemical or material that might be used by a business that has employees here in the USA.  Basically they are sheets that list the safety information about materials.


Nate and Rupe are other members here with far more knowledge of chemistry that I have and they might be able to provide more help that I can.


Ok so if your GH is high then it is the calcium carbonate in your water probably keeping your pH way too high.  You might want to put some of your system water into a separate container and then use some acid to try adjusting the pH.  Unfortunately, vinegar doesn't tend to have a long lasting effect.  You will probably add some acid, the pH will drop but the next day the pH will be back up again.  Sulfuric or Muratic acid may do a better job but still may take several doses before the pH stops coming back up.  Basically you have to dissolve away all the calcium carbonate in the water.  There is some talk over in another discussion about using RO (reverse osmosis) filters to remove the carbonates from tap water before using it in the aquaponic systems.

hhahaha, Ok I ll contact Nate and Rupe and read the dicussion.

Ok, I see. I do a trial in separate container with small doses of acid every day (?) and then I do the same for the big tank. How long after every dose can I test the PH?

Well actually my recommendation would be to use the separate container to figure out how many doses of acid is needed to get the pH to come down and stay down.  Then using that information you can treat your tap water in a separate container down to a lower pH (like perhaps 6.5) and use that lower pH water to top up your system to slowly bring down your system pH to around 7.  You don't want to shift your system pH too fast and adding acid directly to your system will cause the pH to bounce until all the carbonate is dissolved away so that isn't very good for the system and would set back your new cycling.


Now if you can collect some clean rain water, that might get you away from having to deal with water conditioners or adding acid to the tap water.  You will just need to learn to manage the system pH with an acidic water source instead.


Here is a

link to the pH level and crop discussion


Well, we have a lot of waterfall these days here, so I guess that is possible.Let me repeat to see if I understood well. You mean to change a part of the system's water (=alcalic) with rainwater (=acidic) to balance it out?



Great, I ll give a try first with that:)

Thanx TCLynx! I ll keep you posted

Here are a few things to consider with fishless cycling.

Nitrfiers prefer a pH of 7.5 and a temperature range between 68 and 77 F

Nitrifiers feed on the unionized form of ammonia (NH3) and not the ionized form (NH4+)
At a pH of 9.5, the ammonia is about 50% NH3 and 50% NH4+
As the pH drops so does the NH3
If you start with a fairly high ammonia concentration, the nitrifiers are able to tolerate a lower pH than they would if you started off with a lower concentration.

Alkalinity is important because it provides the inorganic form of carbon required by nitrifiers.

Nitrification works best with a KH (alkalinity) concentration around 100 mg/L (as CaCO3) and can become problematic as the concentration drops below 70 mg/L

There's no need to lower the pH when your cycling without fish. In fact, by doing so, you run the risk of reducing your KH concentration and depriving the nitrifiers of carbon. The only adjustment I would make is to add additional alkalinity if it starts to drop below 70. 

Once your system has cycled, then you can adjust the pH as needed.

Hello Terri, thanx for your reply.

My system is running already for two weeks. The only thing I have added is a bacteria product, I could not find ammonia. I have some low indication of nitrites and nitrates. First of all, when will I know that the system is cycled? When I have 25 ppm nitrates and 0 nitrites?

Back to the PH issue, the KH is between 6 and 10 degrees. I could not figure out how to convert this in mg/L, but according to the test kit it is in the "OK" area. My system is outdoors in germany, so that means the temperature varies..


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