Aquaponic Gardening

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what should i use for starting seeds for floating raft for commercial use?

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Sorry guys, I looked at my local Lowe's and Home Depot and could not find it.  Can you give some more details and specifics where i can find it.  What's it called exactly - HCI, KCI?  Who manufactures it? Is it liquid or solid granules? Would a pool chemical store have it?

HCl is hydrochloric acid, commonly called muriatic acid, and used for pools and etching/cleaning concrete. It is for sure at every hardware store. At my home depot, it is outside in the garden center, near (but not exactly with) the pool/spa chlorine and shock. It is a cardboard box containing two milk jugs of yellow liquid, about 15% concentration, $11 for the box of two. At Ace hardware it is available in the paint/solvent dept, and about $8 for a single gallon of 31% acid.

KCl is salt (potassium chloride), granular, and sold in 50 lb bags right next to NaCl (sodium chloride), at every hardware store. It is used for water softeners, as a non-sodium alternative. At my HD, it is on an aisle end, about smack in the middle of the store near lumber. At OSH, it's on a call tag hanging in line at the register. After you buy it, you drive thru a pick up warehouse and they load it for you.

KCl and HCl are used in Aquaponics for very different reasons. HCl is an acid, and used only to adjust pH down, and be careful, it is strong (especially the Ace brand). KCl is salt, and does not influence pH at all. It is not typically recommended for anything in AP except by me. Salt, NaCl, is commonly added as a treatment for sick fish, including fin rot, and Ich. I use KCl as a potassium supplement, a source of chloride for general fish health, and as half the salt (teamed with NaCl as the other half) for treatment of fish ailments.

This is not common advice. I learned that the "chloride" component of salt is what is measured in "salinity", not the sodium. I reasoned that KCl should then be just as effective as NaCl, and the K is much more appreciated by the plants than the Na. So I couldn't find much info on the subject, except that KCl is indeed used as a K source, or at least a partial source, in many hydro nutes. I dosed a tank of visually healthy fish (except that I seemed to lose about one tilapia per month for no apparent reason), with 3 ppt of KCl. Since then, tomatoes have taken off, and no more fish deaths. I can't be certain that the KCl helped the fish, but I'm sure it didn't hurt, and the tomatoes thanked me. Ever have tomatoes flower but not set fruit? Try a boost of KCl. In all tanks now I salt to 1 ppt using half NaCl and half KCl.

Right on Jon. I'm glad you were brave enough to try out the KCl. I'm thinking this might become common practice in AP as more brave souls try it out and report back. You can be as certain or not certain, that it (KCl) helped the fish as you can be with NaCl. As far as mitigating nitrite toxicity, they're both based on the same science and same working mechanism of 'competitive inhibition'...As far as the question of slime coats goes (from a while back in one of the other KCl threads), I've been thinking and reading on this lately... as best I can figure if it is the salinity that somehow helps the glycocalyx they should both work the same. And both Na and K are needed to regulate osmotic pressure so using a NaCl/KCl combo seems like a wise choice (not just for the plants) which may also play a role in slime coat rejuvenation/development. But really someone like Rupert could still shed more light on this particular subject (slime coats).

Man, I'm excited that you are doing this as well. I've dumped about 0.5ppt of KCl into my system both for the plants (and just to prove it works...I'm working on getting a nitrite spike so that I can prove this point without NaCl) and fish. Guess you've sorta confirmed that it at least doesn't seem to be harmful in any way. Thanks.

Jon's right. This is KCl thing has not been sanctioned by the AP gods. But the gods are slow (and maybe to busy selling bibles to notice)'s the logic/thinking behind this for anyone who wants to try this...

Theres some KCl stuff in this one too (as well as how to Mg dose with Epsom salt...

Thanks guys. I found the HCL (muriatic acid). I wasn't expecting it in a brown cardboard box. This appears to be a good bit cheaper alternaitve to help slowly bring my top up water's Ph down before adding to the system. And thanks for the other tips too.

you may be better off using phosphoric acid. you can get super concentrated 85% from chemical companies for $30-50 a gal. and that will last a long time at that concentrate level. u need to use a business name to purchase.

John and Vlad,  what are you using to detect/measure the amount of KCl in system?  I would like to add some to a 3k gal system.


Arik, Now this is just an opinion of mine, so I'm not saying you can't use phosphoric acid or anything...but IMO HCl is a better choice for AP use. The reason I feel this way is that your fish are creating plenty of phosphates adding more (once the acid dissociates) long term has the potential to create conditions conducive to an algae bloom. Might not happen for years, but why risk it when you can use HCl? HCl will dissociate into some chloride ions and a little bit of hydrogen gas (please don't confuse chloride with chlorine...the chloride ions released can only do the fish some good)...So on one hand you have a substance (H3PO4) that may help create an algae bloom, while on the other hand you have a substance (HCl) that releases a soothing tonic for the fish (albeit a very small amount...but still).

You'll need to do some math and familiarize yourself with some basic principles of salting a system how/why answer your question. I mean I'm sure Jon or I could just say "add X amount to your 3,000 gal system"...but seriously brushing up on this topic's (salting) reading list will help you understand why you are doing what you are doing. Which in the long run I think is immeasurably more helpful and fulfilling than someone just saying "do this, this way"...

This is a very good link by TC about how to, why to, and how to figure measuring NaCl to salt a system...

...and this one should give you an idea of the basic differences and similarities of KCl (weight and otherwise)

It's not rocket science, and I'm certain both Jon and I will be happy to answer any questions you might ask away. I would just feel more comfortable giving someone some background on the topic first, rather than saying "do this...or that, like this..." ....I think in the long run it is of more help to the know the whole 'give a man to fish...teach a man to fish'... and all that jazz


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