Aquaponic Gardening

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So here it is, the end of February. I still have the same issues with my plants. The main reason why I built this indoor system was so my Tilapia would not freeze to death in my unheated greenhouse. My limited amount of space in my basement forced me to build small. I should have built 2 growbeds on top of the Rubbermaid 150 Gallon Cattle trough.

The system is doing what I built it to do. Fish are doing fine.

I must admit that the system is very consistent.I run the system at:

 Ph runs between 6.5 and 6.0 Supplement with Calcium Carbonate/ Potasium Carbonate to bring Ph back up when it goes down to 6.  It takes about 7 to 10 days to swing down before it needs to be bumped up.

Water Temp Between 65-70F I have a heater that I use very sparingly because the electicity is expensive.

Ammonia .5 ppm

Nitrite 0 ppm 

Nitrate Off the Charts. I have been feeding the fish 1X a day. (25 Tilapia and 3 Goldfish which are about a year old). 

System Flood and Drain Cycle Bell Siphon 3:30 fill 1:30 drain. I could not slow down the cycle. I didnt want to buy another timer. If I slowed the water down, the siphon wouldnt start.

I think I have figured out that my plants are not doing well because there is an excess of Nitrogen. I asked the question before on different forums. People more experienced than me would say that I should not worry. But after 4 months of messing around, I have come up with Nitrogen toxicity. Too many mature Fish. Not enough Plants due to the small grow bed size. 

I have tried a number of things to eliminate the problem.

I stopped feeding the fish for a month. Nitrate readings didnt budge.

I started to slowly change out the Water.  The freezing cold weather in NY has slowed that down. I didnt want to just pour the water down the drain. I wanted to put it onto my flower beds outside.

I started a mineral supplement rotation regimen adding MaxiCrop, Iron, Magnesium (Epsom Salt), Phosphorus at 2 week intervals just in case it was some other Mineral Deficiency . It had no effect on the plants.

I Added more plants. Lettuce, Spinach, Basil, Water Cress. They would start out ok. But then die off. I pulled out a couple of stunted Bush Bean plants. Under developed roots. Mosaic Leaf Pattern on all leaves. Leaves dry up and drop. They become crumbley like paper.

I built a tower and tried adding more plants there. I am not having much luck growing there either. The indoor system just needs to keep my fish alive about another month and a half.

Once March comes around I will need to focus on my greenhouse again so I dont fall behind. I have a bunch of Modifications/Repairs that I want to do to make things better than last year. I am really looking forward to it!

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