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PostPosted: May 10th, '11, 15:58 
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Hi there, we have a new system just running for 10 days, we have a 1000 Ltr FT and 4 x 250 Ltr G/B's it is a flood and drain CHOP system. We have expanded clay medium and have planted with lettuce, Pak Choi, Kale, Kohlrabi, Garlic, Turmeric, Celery and we also put in peas (seed) and threw in some radish, beetroot, spinach seeds. We then introduced 15 goldfish to help with cycling the system. The fish are fed 2 x pinches of feed twice daily. We added 1 capful of Seasol each day for the first 3 days. Yesterday I introduced some compost worms and today I added a small amount of worm castings. I am concerned that the plants are not looking as they should the lettuce have dark green leaves in the centre and yellowing on the outer. I did some water testing today and the PH was 8.0 the Ammonia 0.25 and the Nitrates 0. We are so new to this and don't really have a handle on the chemistry fiixes. I decided to add another capful of Seasol today and 1/2 teasp of Iron Chelates into the sump tank.

Can anyone tell me how much water it would take from a healthy cycling system to get a new one like ours going. Also is there anything else that we should be doing :?


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PostPosted: May 10th, '11, 18:06 
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It's a new system and the beneficial bacteria will still be building.

The pH will be preventing the plants from taking up Iron but adding Chelated Iron will help. Over time the pH come down and you will most likely need to put in some shell grit to buffer it.

Sit back, relax and let nature take it's course.

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PostPosted: May 10th, '11, 19:02 
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I would go a little easy on the seasol, it's full of salt and a small amount every couple of weeks is all you need.
The better way is to use worm juice as a foliar spray.

What sort of fish food are you using? I started the same way using gold fish and gold fish food from the pet shop, it didn't do much till I bought some proper fish food for native fish.
As Arbe mentioned the PH will be locking out the iron which is why the plants are going yellow, I add 2 teaspoon of Iron Chelates to my system when I see the signs of yellowing which is about every 6 to eight weeks.
The Ph will come down eventually it just takes time and patience :whistle:

Keep an eye on the ammonia if it gets to .5 or above stop feeding till it comes back down, it's going to take some time for your system to cycle as the weather is turning cold, the best you can hope for over winter is not too loose any fish and wait for the warmer spring.

Do you have any Nitrite readings?

Hope this helps? :thumbright:


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PostPosted: May 10th, '11, 19:14 
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Can you post some pictures?

Good luck!

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PostPosted: May 10th, '11, 19:41 
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Thanks Arbe, Decal and Wal for your comments.

My Nitrite reading was 0 today.

I have attached a couple of pics Wal not very good will post some new ones later.

Telmor


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PostPosted: May 10th, '11, 19:48 
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Neat looking set-up!! :thumbright:

The plants look pretty good to me. I had slow growth early on, turned out I was under feeding as I was scared to have the ammonia get too high.

How long has your system been running for?
Since they are just gold fish you could try upping the food each day and test to see when the ammonia rises. If it does go up see how long it takes to come back down.

Once the system has cycled it should only take 24hrs or so for the bacteria to build up to cope with the increase load (depending on warmth). Hopefully being in the hot house your temps will be staying up during the day?

:flower:

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PostPosted: May 10th, '11, 20:09 
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Thanks Brett, the system has only been running for 10 days, the pictures were taken several days ago so that the seeds we planted are now showing. The goldfish seem quite happy at the present time, we :flower: are planning to get some trout when the system cycles and then maybe some silver perch. We are working on stage 2 at the moment, aquaponics has grabbed us in a big way. We have always been dirt gardeners but now we are older and looking for something a little less harsh on the body aquaponics seems to fill the bill especially with the fish component.

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Maureen


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PostPosted: May 10th, '11, 20:26 
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Welcome Maureen, the best thing to do is not rush to add lots of extras to the system. Fish like good quality water and not sudden changes, the process wil take time so don't expect too, too much in the first 4-6 weeks with just goldfish. Trout will however change all that, they are fun, fast growing and feeding them will make your veges go ballistic. Now is the time to be patient- aquaponics teaches us that.

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PostPosted: May 10th, '11, 21:24 
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It is not my intention to contradict or disagree with others that are offering you help and advice… but if like me, you’re not the patient type, I think you need to give your system a kick-start if you want to cycle it and get the plants growing before winter really hits.

Also, re the Seasol/salt thing, Seasol only contains around 1% salt w/w... if you’re talking Sodium Chloride. A capful of Seasol is approximately 15mls, by my calc’s that's roughly 0.15 of a gram of salt... in 1000 litres that's almost immeasurable. But the benefits of Seasol in your unestablished system would be measurable… in plant health.

Just as a comparison… If you were to salt your 1000Ltr tank to 1ppt, as many people do as a disease preventative measure in their AP systems, you would need to add 1000gms (1kg) to your tank, and your plants would be fine with salt at that level, they will even consume that salt... ask Food&Fish, he posted recently that his plants had consumed all the salt in his system within a relatively short period of him salting it.

Don’t be afraid of salt in your system, within reason… Sea salt contains a broad cross spectrum of nutrients and trace elements used by plants. Plus, Sodium Chloride helps with slime coat production on your fish. Ask any pet store and their tanks will be salted to 1ppt. However, I’m not suggesting you salt your tank at this early stage, just drawing a comparison with the amount of salt in Seasol.

With only 15 small goldfish in the 1000Ltr system, if you don't add any Seasol your plants will not thrive. I would even add a teaspoon or two of urea, by adding some Urea you boost the Ammonia levels much quicker than your 15 goldfish will, this will speed up the rate at which your system cycles, and the Urea also provides some Nitrates for your plants, Seasol contains almost no Nitrogen. I was harvesting netball sized Oakleaf lettuces within four weeks of starting my first system.

When establishing, I added a slightly heaped teaspoon of urea to between 260 and 280 litres and it hardly affected the Ammonium reading, about 0.25, but it certainly boosted the plants growth. You could try dissolving a couple of teaspoons of Urea in a few litres of water and add it slowly, a bit at a time, over a day, taking an Ammonia reading an hour or so after each addition, if it gets to 0.5 then stop adding the Urea solution.

When it comes to cycling, some people prefer to let the system do its thing, others give it a bit of a helping hand with the addition of Urea, Seasol etc. By just letting it do its thing you will find your pH will rise to probably 8.0 and above, and stay there for weeks, or even months, during this time your plants will not be happy. I don't like to let the pH get too high… keeping the pH down to 7.5 won't harm your beneficials, but will keep the plants healthier. Most trace elements, ie: Iron, Manganese, Boron, and Zinc start to become less available above 7.0 and especially above 7.5 pH.

I cycled my first system in the middle of winter, in only three weeks, with the addition of Urea and Seasol, while keeping my pH around 7.5, and while my fish were in the system… but that's just me... I'm not good at the patience thing!

Like you, I also used goldfish to cycle my system.

Mr Damage.

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PostPosted: May 11th, '11, 10:42 
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I think it's a better idea to advise people who are new to aquaponics, who are unsure and seeking reassurance, to go slowly, NOT to rush things..

Rushing thing, and adding extra nutrients is best left to those who are better practised and more confident in what they are doing.

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PostPosted: May 11th, '11, 10:52 
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earthbound wrote:
I think it's a better idea to advise people who are new to aquaponics, who are unsure and seeking reassurance, to go slowly, NOT to rush things..

Rushing thing, and adding extra nutrients is best left to those who are better practised and more confident in what they are doing.

yep +1 a thousand times over

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PostPosted: May 26th, '11, 18:31 
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+1 another thousand times over...

Taking it slowly allows one to appreciate that aquaponics is really a great natural robust method of growing produce that does not require too much attention and external intervention when the system matures.

If you are impatient, stick to hydroponics...

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PostPosted: May 26th, '11, 19:05 
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Please excuse my ignorance... but why the bump?... :?

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PostPosted: May 26th, '11, 19:18 
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You can't say "patience" too many times ever. It is a reminder to us all and a lesson to those who are new and still learning. It is always better to be safe than sorry. :)

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