I am so grateful for all of the information posted. Since I learned about AP I have setup a demo/learning system with a 10 gallon tank about 50L of Hydroton. I started with 2 cups of urine and have let water pump over the hydroton for about 10 days.
A few days ago I added plants (cucumber, spinach, eggplant, tomato, basil), as I read that should be done pretty soon. I was careful to rinse them out softly and gently extract the roots. Tonight when I looked at the roots, the spinach was rotten, and the other plants roots looked ok.
My grow bed is only 2 inches deep and keeps about 1 inch of water always. I think I might be suffocating the roots and need to add more hydroton for 2 inches of dry above 1 inch of wet. I'm using some upside down shelving units for the grow beds.
I took the water into the pet shop and they said it was good to put fish in.
Overnight and 10 little dead goldfish later, I bought a water test kit and noticed that my PH is 7.6 and ammonia was 8ppm. Temperature as 58 degrees on the tank when I woke up. I live in a very hot area (Phoenix, AZ USA), and am concerned mostly with temperature management than anything else. I don't want to add a heater because of electricity costs, but can add bubbles/black plastic/misters/foil, etc as needed for passive heat/cooling. The tank sits in the shade too, and the plants get about 3 hours of sunlight.
There is a 4 inch air stone and an air pump designed for a 10 gallon tank.
I know this system wont' produce much, and it was designed for learning (I have an IBC cut, and 8 barrels too waiting for me to learn more). I plan on using the IBC and a fiberglass jacuzzi (300 gallons for the jacuzzi) for fish tanks and then building shelves out of the barrels once I understand more how this works. I'm not there yet, but just wanted to explain the purpose and vision.
My questions/hurdles so far are:
1. My pump works great when I take the hose off and put it back on. However, after some restarts it seems to not pump water up anymore. I'm pumping it at almost the max head height as listed on the pump.
2. I added a second shelf unit today (7 total beds on 2 shelves) to use the rest of the Hydroton, and didn't wash my hands for quite some time as I cleaned up the tools. When I reconnected the tubing my hand was deep in the fish tank. Now, my hands hurt, like I've been working with concrete (the lye). Am I just sensitive or did the 7.6 PH kill the fish?
3. Do I need to empty all of the water and actually buy the pond starter from a pet store? I've already spent so much and it was just to learn... I'm trying to avoid buying solutions unless I need them.
4. What is the best way to clean out the barrels? They had flavor syrup in them and I want to make sure I don't harm the fish or my family. Should I get a pressure washer or can I just hose them down a few times and let the sun hit them?
5. is my 1 inch of water, 1 inch of dry hydroton grow bed too shallow for herbs and plants I mentioned above?
6. Some of my leaves are yellow, especially where they touched the wet hydroton. Should I be adding anything? I read about seasol, but canot find it in the USA.
7. How do I prevent the root rot?
8. When can I add worms? or would they just die in these shallow grow beds?
I have compiled a ton of other notes, if anyone is interested - I plan on sharing this with others nearby that are interested but my 1 page quick notes has turned into 15 pages of stuff about AP.https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XeA ... r88FU/edit
Thank you in advance!
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