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PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '14, 22:57 
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Here it is...my very first system. going to get fish for it today!!!!
it is a very simple system utilizing a free 55 gal aquarium and some cement mixing troughs from lowes with bell syphons in them that seem to be working properly most of the time.

There are 3 bags of hydroton, so 150 litres of growbed. I am going to get some cheap fish from Petsmart to try to get the nitrogen cycling with and I am thinking of replaciong with 6 bluegill in a couple months? I have a small heater in the tank as my basement is in the low 50's right now.

Any advice is more than welcome. the search function for this site is giving me an error message so I feel a bit cut off.

Image

the whole system in a sunny window in my basement. the floor has been tiled so if there's an accident it won't be the end of the workd. (ignore the potato tower on the left side...that is another experiment unrelated to the aquaponics setup) I don't know if you can see the tank very well...it is below the shelf and so kind of in the dark...

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Growbeds utilizing bell syphons. I wish I had more height so I could add another two at the top. reutilized the original lights from the aquarium to supplement the light getting to the lower set of growbeds.

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This one has some kale and some seedlings (misc braising greens)

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This one is Arugala lettuce.

thetop two are empty for now. I am following the advice of not planting everything all at once (so it doesn't die all at once and crash the system)

I hope to move the potato experiment outside once it is warm enough and expand the aquaponics setup onto the other window as well. maybe some strawberry towers or continuous flood trays for duckweed to help feed the fish? do bluegill eat duckweed?

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PostPosted: Feb 24th, '14, 07:33 
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Okay, so I went to the fish store to get some practice goldfish in order to get the nitrogen cycle going and the fellow there cautioned me against it because he said that goldfish in gerneral carry more diseases and parasites than other fish.

so I left there with a water test kit and no fish.

I tested my water and no nitrates/nitrites...to be expected with no fish! But it also showed that I have pretty darn hard water. what can/should I do about that?

I wish the search function was working on this forum but all I am getting is an SQL error whenever I try. Is everyone getting that error or is it just me?

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PostPosted: Feb 24th, '14, 07:38 
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Use google search for now. It will likely show hits from this forum for anything you need.


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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '14, 10:17 
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How is the system doing Spindog?

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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '14, 20:41 
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LOL...thanks for asking!!!

yeah, I guess I should update my actual system thread with all my drama.

I got my bluegill but killed all but 4 because I failed to check the ph of my system before putting them in. duh! But turns out the Hydroton I used was not as ph neutral as it claimed. It had dropped my system down to 4!!! so after extensive testing, water changing, death and destruction and gnashing fo teeth, I added a bunch of crushed oyster shells to my tank and now my 4 little bluegill are happy as clams (are clams really all that happy???!!!???) and I am obsessively testing the ph every day, sometimes several times a day. (it is at 6.6 currently)

So, betting that I have no nitogen cycling after the PH falling that low, I added some pond bacteria that I got at the fish store...it came in little caplets that you are supposed to empty into your filter. I put them into my growbeds. hoping that will help.

I got a better hardness test...does both general and calcium and my well water's general hardness is through the roof, but my KH hardness is about 20-30 ppm. not sure what that actually MEANS for my sytem...but I am definitely sitting on granite verses limestone here in the mountains of rural Virginia.

Then, Because I was seeing some yellowing of leaves on my plants, last night I decided to add some Maxicrop. Now I have NO IDEA how my fish are doing because I cant see the dang things. and I don't know how they are going to be able to see to eat, so I am going to be pulling some of the water off today to water my houseplants. I figure I am going to try to get it down to just plain murky verses solid cloud of brown.

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '14, 00:10 
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Ignore water hardness. Makes no difference.

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '14, 20:35 
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your ph will "swing" during the day, it has a diurnal cycle...
so for "tracking" ph, try to test at about the same time every day

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '14, 09:51 
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Here is a look at my little system today:

growbeds above the shelf (shelf made from a $5 door I got from habitat store, so I didn't mind drillling the holes for the plumbing to go through it)

Image

Tank below the shelf...not nearly as murky as it was!!!

Image

the plants:

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one of the fishes:

Image

But this is what it looked like outside today:

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and this is my other excitement this weekend:

Image

So all in all, the 4 fish are still doing well and hopefully will get my nitrogen cycle started. honestly I only need 1-2 more fish in there for a 55 gal tank anyway so really not too bad an outcome (probably not the opinion of the fish I killed but oh, well) the murkiness from the Maxicrop is livable now and I am quite hopefull that this might work!

Don't be fooled by all the nice greens. They were plants I bought in 4-packs that I washed the dirt off of the roots. the arugala started bolting immediately, the bib lettuce I just put in there. the kale is doing well, actually.

the seeds in the top two trays are doing fine so far.(Squash, Peas, Cukes) but they are seedlings, so I am withholding judgement.

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My new little system: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=20744


Last edited by spindog on Mar 18th, '14, 10:05, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '14, 09:53 
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Ronmaggi wrote:
Ignore water hardness. Makes no difference.


Okay...good to know!

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '14, 10:06 
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keith wrote:
your ph will "swing" during the day, it has a diurnal cycle...
so for "tracking" ph, try to test at about the same time every day


okie doke...will do!

thanks... I can use all the advice I can get!!!! keep it coming!

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '14, 19:39 
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Looking good. Nice that you have windows in your basement so you don't have to go crazy with artificial lighting. Nice idea to put the tank on wheels for easy maintenance etc. I love aquarium builds, there's something about them are so cool.

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '14, 23:31 
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There is something cool about using a $5 door from habitat for a shelf...

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '14, 23:51 
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jeezy wrote:
Looking good. Nice that you have windows in your basement so you don't have to go crazy with artificial lighting. Nice idea to put the tank on wheels for easy maintenance etc. I love aquarium builds, there's something about them are so cool.

:D
Yeah, there was no way I could handle it otherwise...the wheels were a necessity.
and we live on the side of a hill...basement is really only a basement on the one side. I like it. makes it really livable down there.

Ronmaggi wrote:
There is something cool about using a $5 door from habitat for a shelf...



IK, R?

I lucked out on a number of things. the tank, stand it came on and lights were free. I repurposed the stand to support the growbeds and attached the aquarium lights to the underside of the top to provide some supplemental lighting for the bottom layer. I did have to buy one bulb because it had burned out.

They had lots of those doors. and they seem to be plenty strong, despite being "hollow" I guess the spacing materials inside make it act like a truss.

I wouldn't use the hydroton again due to the PH problems I experienced... :upset: why spend all that money when the product does not live up to it's claims?. I am going to go by the local stone place and get a handful of their different gravels and test them in bowls of water to see what I want to use in my outdoor system when I build it.

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PostPosted: Mar 19th, '14, 00:20 
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I think I experienced a similar crash with my indoor system. I put in a bunch of baking soda... Last night I put some eggshells in a "net cup" I made from a yogurt cup with holes poked in it with a soldering iron. It is shoved into the top grow bed. My outdoor system is as stable as can be, it uses red lava rock, aka scoria.

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PostPosted: Mar 19th, '14, 08:33 
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oh gosh...sorry to hear it. did your fish live?

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