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PostPosted: Jun 29th, '17, 12:02 
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hi all,

I have introduced my system some days ago in the new member section.
I have made substantial upgrades to the biofilter, adding (2) 3ft x 6ft growbeds, one filled with pea gravel, the other with volcanic rock and hydroton. I can see the weight difference in the 2x4 boards I used. I've been thinking of bracing that one up, but we'll see. The water drains from the big growbed unto the 2 smaller ones.

I ran out of fish food last week, and just ordered a 20% spirulina high protein flake. I've been also been supplementing with urine, varying but increasing amounts.

I started supplementing iron, potassium carbonate, mgso4, and calcium carbonate, I've added about 4 tsps in about 2 weeks. Now my ratios are getting out of whack, I'm seeing a deficiency in the bell pepper plant, I think it's magnesium.


I have put the pictures on imgur, here https://imgur.com/a/NDWIV


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PostPosted: Jun 29th, '17, 18:48 
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So far looks like the plants are doing well. Be nice to see those other beds fill up though :headbang: .


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PostPosted: Jul 12th, '17, 02:44 
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Update after a month of growth. Have harvested many swiss chard and kale leaves. Lots of green cherry toms and flowers on the one tomato. I set up an almost horizontal trellis for the lemon cucumber to spread out on. Somewhere between a lemon cuke and the tomato plant is a Bell Pepper plant, which is holding its own. I've pulled out some swiss chard due to bolting.

Everything is being run on continuous flow; the big white growbed is full of water, less ~3" to the top. The two smaller growbeds are taking the overflow from the big one. These growbeds have (2) barbed outlets glued firmly in place at one end, so I fashioned a rudimentary media screen/overflow from a square poly pot cut in half and holes drilled in it. It works ok. Each bed usually has an inch or two of water at bottom, but all media is damp due to wicking. Every day or two I run a flood/drain cycle on the big bed, which floods the small beds to the top of the media, giving everything a good soak. Only problem with this is that the drain pipe from the smaller growbeds are not sealed, and does not drain very fast, so water can back up and overflow from where the outlets of the growbed normally discharge water into.

In the hydroton bed, I've laid down raspberry canes, most of which rotted, but 1 is putting up leaves along its length, so we'll see. Also, a pineapple, a blackberry-like fruit (I think they said marion- or logan-berry), and some pretty flowers.

In the small gravel bed, I've got corn, strawberries, a patch of romaine seedlings starting, a couple squash-types like pumpkin, watermelon, acorn, or similar. I'm not sure exactly what these are, we planted these seeds a bit helter skelter. There are also some peas coming up around one end of that bed.

I've covered the "sediment fall-out" tub and sump tank, to kill off and prevent algae.

I've made a 1:1:1 mix of CaCO3, MgSO4, and KCO3, and have been adding 1 tsp every week or so to keep PH near 6.6. I did an initial iron supplement, but haven't done any since.

You can see an album of the progress here: http://imgur.com/a/huAQE


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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '17, 06:36 
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Update, pictures from 7/18/17
http://imgur.com/a/KEqdB

Everything is growing well, more pictures to come.


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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '17, 08:31 
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Looks like the makings of a good and productive system UD5004.
i'm looking forward to seeing how it develops over time. Plants are looking particularly healthy for such a new system (most people using volcanic rock have issues with higher pH for a start until things settle down).


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PostPosted: Nov 9th, '17, 06:09 
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Here's some pictures from July 26: https://imgur.com/a/ilxn8


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PostPosted: Nov 9th, '17, 06:55 
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Some pictures from Sept 6: https://imgur.com/a/ZA8fc


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PostPosted: Nov 9th, '17, 07:00 
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Some pictures from Oct 12: https://imgur.com/a/5mKpI

Includes a couple pictures of cider, not related to aquaponics, but very tasty.


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PostPosted: Nov 9th, '17, 07:01 
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Some pictures from Oct 21: https://imgur.com/a/qwdiD

Large green onions, you can see the cilantro and chives have taken off, in the background.


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PostPosted: Nov 9th, '17, 07:15 
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Well, summer is over, and I have pulled many of the crops I was growing, including the lemon cukes, the swiss chard, the corn, the peas, the romaine lettuce, I've picked and re-planted the garlic. Pulled the corn. No supplements in the last few months; I was going overboard and making the water too "charged" with nutrients. Now, I top off with hose water when needed, feed the fish, and occasionally dosing with urine (raw, not aged).

Bell pepper is putting its last fruits out, and will be pulled in a month or so. Tomato plant got trimmed back drastically, until it was just an 8" stump sticking out of the gravel. Tomato is growing back great. Kale is growing great. Cilantro, basil, chives, green onions, all doing great. Habanero plant is a small bush now, no flowers yet but it is about 30" diameter. Strawberries are putting off lots of new leaf clusters and runners. A couple winter squash plants survived long enough to set a single fruit each, and are dying off now. Ginger root has sprouted several times, and is about 8" tall. Beets are still small, but putting off new greens. I ended up digging out the drainage of one of the secondary grow beds, because the media guard was too thin, and bent in, allowing gravel to clog the drain ports. Now there's ~8" of open space around the drain ports.

Fish are doing good, no deaths, and goldfish are now at least 5" long. I have not tested anything (PH, Nitrates, etc) in months. I just top off with tap water (chlorinated, fluoridated) as needed.

Now that it's winter time, I'm considering building a pvc frame over each growbed, to keep rain off, and keep the plants dry and warm(er). I'm not sure what plants I should plant at this point, if any.

My secondary growbeds are very shallow (6"). One has hydroton/lavarock media, and the other has just plain gravel. The plain gravel bed was planted heavier, and became rootbound over this last season. Water was pooling at one end, because it couldn't flow through the bed faster than it was coming in. I haven't seen any similar issue in the hydroton bed. The hydroton is so light, though, that when I flood the growbed, the green onions tend to lose stability and fall over. I have not see significant root growth in the hydroton bed, but the plants all seem as healthy as in the gravel beds.


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PostPosted: Dec 25th, '17, 05:56 
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Hi all,
It's been a while. I decided to give myself a Christmas present, and incorporated a 300gal stock tank into my system. You can the full album here: https://imgur.com/gallery/JJeRZ

Building the platform was the hardest part. After that, it was a matter of placing new pipes, and making the connection to the pump.
The pump has a 3/4" output, which goes to 1" immediately, and then to 1-1/4" diameter pipe until it discharges into the fish pond at the top of the system. That little pump moves some serious water, even with an 8ft head difference between start and end.

The elevation of the fish pond opens up the possibility of swirl type filters between the fish and the plant beds, but for now, the beds are getting unfiltered water.

Hope you like what you see, I spent a lot of time and effort on it, and it come out pretty good for my purposes.


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PostPosted: Dec 30th, '17, 02:44 
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Some pictures of my grow beds. All plants are showing major deficiencies due to the massive increase of water volume recently, from the addition of the 300gal stock tank.


Attachments:
File comment: Strawberries are multiplying like crazy. They are throwing out shoots that are taking root in the ground around the grow bed, as well as in the gravel bed itself.
20171228_131042.jpg
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File comment: Beets and Strawberries. The beets never grew any big roots, probably due to the high water level. They had major problems when flooded, but now with a reduced water level, they have been producing good greens again.
20171228_131039.jpg
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File comment: Secondary Gravel Growbed. I dug a pit in the gravel to monitor subsurface water levels.
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File comment: Parsley bush growing great, chive bush behind it is a bit yellowish and limp. Super green onions still alive.
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File comment: Garlic bulbs continuing to grow. These all came from a single bulb, that I split up and grew each clove separately.
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File comment: A wildflower that started from a 2" sprout I cut from the larger plant.
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PostPosted: Dec 30th, '17, 02:49 
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More pictures


Attachments:
File comment: A look back uphill at the fish tank. I changed the arrangement of fittings at the overflow to reduce air sucking down the drain pipe.
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File comment: Primary Growbed is doing ok. Kale doesn't scream deficiency, but the tomato plants are showing major signs.
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File comment: Chives are suffering a bit
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File comment: Another view of the tub, showing the 1-1/4" drainage pipe.
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File comment: Bathtub which previously held the fish is now filled with gravel. There is a rectangle of 1/2" pipe at the bottom, with a standpipe visible on the left, for air supply. I used the existing SLO drainage for this tub. It is run as a constant flow, constant height bed, but can start a siphon if filled fast enough.
20171228_131125.jpg
20171228_131125.jpg [ 93.92 KiB | Viewed 2322 times ]
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PostPosted: Jan 12th, '18, 06:50 
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Just an update. Fish all seem pretty happy, water is very clear. I've planted out the bathtub with lettuces and kales, and I've also got a couple "thornless" berry plants planted as well. The baby plants are doing really well.

Got some peas planted in the hydroton bed. I've rigged up some string and wire for them to climb.

Kale and Tomato plants seem to be suffering a deficiency. I think I might have nuked my bacterial colony when I added 300 gallons of city water to the system during the upgrade. Also, that water is high PH, so nute lockout may be happening as well. Time will make it right. I may have to remove the kale and tomato plants, if they don't turn around.

Beets are good, strawberries are extra good. Parsley is exploding, green onion is making a blossom. Garlic is growing well.


Attachments:
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PostPosted: Jan 16th, '18, 00:28 
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I made a video:


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