Aquaponic Gardening

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I have finally got around to start to work building my AP system. I bought two 55 gal barrels and eight 275 gal IBC totes a few weeks ago and then the weather got cold and wet- progress stalled. At least we have had a few days

The system I now plan to build is quite a bit different than the one I originally planned. That is due to the help and advice of some of the people here.. Thank you.

I will buy the piping itself at one of the big box stores, but I can save a bundle by buying the fittings online.

Today I will begin cutting the IBC's.

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Comment by Pat James on June 2, 2014 at 9:05am
I am seeing some sudden growth in a few of my plants that were lagging. I have some Australian butter squash that have been growing well and flowering. Other plants are just sitting there, like parsley.
I am feeding about 30 oz of feed morning and evening. On occasion I will skip the morning feeding if I have to go to work early. When the weather and work lets me, I am going to harvest more fish. I need to move some plants so I can use one. Of the 1/2 IBC growbeds as a live well.
Comment by Jim Fisk on May 27, 2014 at 9:43am

Still in here getting siphons in the mail. To answer your question: no. I generally just let the little buggers dry out. I do feed the trout some worms now and then. PU any board around here, especially in the sheep/goat/chicken paddock and harvest 50 fresh healthy worms. The slugs just gross me out and I haven't read definitive proof they are ok as feed. Probably are. I'd rather handle worms any day.

Your numbers look fine but might slow down veg growth. My nitrates at 100 indicate I can keep planting. First test I forgot the all important "shake #2 like hell" so after freshening up on the directions I tested again and they weren't kidding. Very different result. First test tested much lower ppm. PH and Nitrates are the only 2 tests I bother with anymore and generally only PH and that only when I am seeing slow veg growth or getting fresh fingerlings to add. The mature fish don't care but fingerling trout are very sensitive to acidic. I was surprised at how high the ph was. My woodstove ashes were a tad over done I guess. Fish were happy tho. I only add a about half a cup at each fill spot at the 5 media ibc GBs. In the future I will ck first. Been winging it a bit too much apparently. Great for minerals as well, them ashes. I added a dollop of PH Down. Will test again today. That's more testing than I've done in 6 mos.

Comment by Pat James on May 27, 2014 at 9:23am

I did a water test. The pH is 7.4. I have between 10 and 20 ppm of nitrate. I added 2 cups of humic acid crystals.

Do you feed the slugs back to the fish? I was curious if they were part of the life cycle for any parasite.

Comment by Jim Fisk on May 27, 2014 at 7:00am

I have taken to draining off the sludge in the swirl filter and the trout water scrubber bio-filters about every week now. They have been doing a great job keeping the sinkers and floaters out of the GBs. They look so much cleaner now. Solids getting to the GBs get very nasty looking otherwise.

Been using my extenders in the bell siphons to flood out critters with great success. Removed a good 50 slugs out of one IBC Gb. The plants thanked me. That same bed was full of small ants as well. They took flight as well and I haven't seen them since.

Comment by Pat James on May 27, 2014 at 6:36am
I have not done a water test since the beginning of April. I added Humic acid and made the water fairly brown. It (the water) is starting to lighten a little now. I will test and then add some more.

I removed a ton of sludge from one of the swirl/sediment tanks this weekend. The sludge was dark brown from the Humic with a green tint in full sunlight. I did not see any sign of the 4 marbled crays I had put in that tank. Hopefully they were just hiding. I did see some of the worms and added a handful of leftover bait when I finished fishing.
Comment by Jim Fisk on May 27, 2014 at 5:57am

Pat, what Jim said: what do your numbers look like? I don't see any posted here lately. Any time I am in doubt I get out the test kit.

I just tested mine and the PH was on the high side and the nitrates were at 100ppm and all seems well. I am bringing the ph down now for the plant growth. I will be sending the sump water straight to the new raft bed thus my interest in the nitrates.

Comment by Jim Troyer on May 26, 2014 at 5:07pm

Hi Pat!

You can only add one thing and that is more food.  Do you ever show nitrates?  If not, pour on the food and see if that makes a difference.  The only other things I can think of that may be limiting your production is pH (shoot for the 6s) and nutrient density due to the sheer volume of water in your system. 

Enjoy those catfish!

Comment by Pat James on May 26, 2014 at 4:17pm

My plants still are not growing as well as most people here. Even my lettuce seems to grow slowly.

My fish on the other hand are growing like gangbusters. Towards the end of March I harvested a total of 32 catfish. Total weight of those were 14 lbs, 4 oz of cleaned whole fish ready to cook.  That is an average of about 7.1 oz per fish.

Today i caught 6 fish and they yielded 5 pounds 2 oz of cleaned meat. That is 13.7 oz average. Those fish are really growing.

I'm wondering how well they have been feeding on the fingerlings I added....

Comment by Pat James on May 13, 2014 at 2:12pm

Jim, that is what gave me the idea of using the styrofoam plugs. I have tried to collect softer foam pieces that would allow for plant growth.. I'm not sure if it was the seedlings were just too small or if the plugs I used were at fault.
I did put a series of larger lettuce seedlings (same  original starter tray but more advanced) and most of them are doing well. I will try again to see just how some of these bigger plants do with the styro plug.

Comment by Jim Troyer on May 13, 2014 at 12:04pm

Hey Pat

Thanks for the update Pat

I am thinking these little foam cloning inserts might be a solution to the small plant starting issue: http://www.amazon.com/Inch-Neoprene-Inserts-Great-Guards/dp/B008OYMT4Y

You maybe able to use this as an source for an idea to create your own inserts.

again, all the best and thanks for the update,

Jim

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