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About Ravnis

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    APHQ Ambassador

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  • Biography
    Worked in plastics and for defense contractors primarily aerospace for 20 years. Now in nursing trying to give back to humanity.
    Aquaponics is my hobby and started in '08. I experiment more than produce trying to learn and the more I learn the more I realize how much there is left to learn.
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    computers, video games, renewable energy

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    Texas, near Dallas

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  1. One thing that members have done in the past successfully is raise a cold water fish in winter such as trout and then switch to a warmer water fast growing fish in summer. Then they only have to keep the water from freezing point. The plants that I've tried to grow, don't do well in water temps below 55F, so also consider what plants you wish to grow in the winter if minimally or not heating the water.
  2. Electric heaters can cost you in electricity/money considerably, A propane instant water heater can be rigged to circulate through pipe in the fish tank and that can give you precise control, but again $$$. For low cost, solar water heater works out to be the cheapest, but you have the least control and amount of heating can vary widely. You're in a place that can get pretty cold in the winter. How warm are you trying to keep the water over outside temps? Points to consider. 1. copper coils in heaters/water heaters can release copper ions into the water and become toxic to your fish. There are variables such as water hardness, pH, and the kind of fish your raising that makes the copper more or less dangerous. You might do fine with copper or you might start loosing fish one or two at a time to poisoning. 2. If you flood and drain a grow bed filled with large pore media such as gravel or hydroton, the bed will act as a radiator and radiate your heat, so limiting flood cycles at night is very important if you want to retain heat. 3. If your not real careful , your fish can cost you $100 each due to heating. Best of luck with your adventure.
  3. I'm sorry, I didn't make it clear. The fish tank was the swimming pool. It was the solar water heater that I placed over the fish tank which was a 15 ft intex swimming pool.
  4. Not a silly question at all, very astute actually! I had a big fish tank (a 15' diameter swimming pool) so I just placed it on top of the fish tank inside the greenhouse. With it inside, I never had to worry about it freezing. If I had to do it over again, I would make sure I painted all pex pipe that was exposed black as some of my feeder lines were not painted and I had some trouble with algae growing in the exposed section and shrinking the inside diameter and thus decreasing flow. I could flush periodically, but a little more time and effort in the building stage would have saved me some headache. I had rushed it together due to time constraints and cut corners that later I regretted. If you put it outside the greenhouse you will have to be concerned with it freezing or have to put it an an elevation where it will drain back to tank. If you can find a way to position it in the greenhouse , it will make it much simpler to use. I do realize that greenhouse space is at a premium, so that is a judgement call the user will have to make.
  5. I found the link to the guide I used here.
  6. That's some really nice work there!
  7. Did you get your problem fixed? It sounds very similar to blossom end rot that tomatoes experience if the calcium level is low. Adding the lime should help both the pH as well as the calcium level. Just a word of caution: be careful not to add powered lime straight to the fish tank as it can kill your fish.
  8. I had the similar thoughts a while back. What I found is the amount of heat to heat the air is close to 1/4 of the amount needed to heat the water. I even tried to heat the water by running water through pex pipe and blowing hot air from a forced air kerosene heater and it had little effect. What I did have success with was heating the water with a solar water heater and would get between and 8-12F degree rise in water temperature. There is a guide on how to make such an animal out of pex pipe and radiant heater aluminum panels. I used that and painted the panels with flat black spray paint. Another simple way of cooling the greenhouse during the day was to run a fan from a high point in the green house and direct the air flow onto an open section of water. The air cooled as it hit the water and the water gained some of the heat. This helped the greenhouse to keep from over heating during the heat of the day. There are many options to choose from, good luck to you.
  9. Seasons Greetings all. Wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.
  10. Yes. Greens are good at dropping nitrates, but the leaves curl a lot with high nitrate.
  11. My tank is buried right now. It's just a standard 75 gallon aquarium. I do have two hang on the back(HOB) filters going. I've got to restock my test chemicals before I cut them loose, so I can monitor parameters. I've got 7-8 tilapia in the tank around 3/4 to 1 lb in size. Noticed my spinach going to seed, so had to hurry and harvest everything. I'm still in the learning phase of the LED light and botched this growth cycle with lots of burned leaves. Had a little over 1/2 lb of greens after harvesting and separating the stalks from the leaves in a 30" x 20" growing area. Nothing to brag about, but gives a bench mark to improve upon. I did find out some things. My aquarium had been running for about a year as just an aquarium, no growing component. The nitrate levels were 160 ppm plus. I kept having problems with the pH jumping up due to the plants raising the pH as they sucked up the nitrate. Once the nitrate dropped to the 10 to 20 ppm range the pH stabilized. I kept getting worried as it was heading toward 7.6, but it's back down to 7.0 to 7.2. I can live with that for a bit.
  12. Nice. Let's hope they follow through. I remember it looking real promising when I read about it 23 years ago and a startup company got a big grant and then vanished. Tire liquefaction
  13. The seedling looks a lot better. That tells me it's more lack of nutrients. Do you know by chance what the rainwater pH is? The fighting issue that VKN raised is a possibility. Adding a few clay pots if you have them to give them a place to hide can diminish that factor. That's a nice size pleco. Mine would bully the tilapia when i fed them. They eat the algae, but will readily eat fish food too. Looking at your readings I have a hunch your not even close to cycled, the nitrite is too blue for sudden fish introduction. If your trying to be organic with this crop, you may want to find an organic way to lower the pH. If your not worried about adding chemicals, a little acid to drop the pH a few points would likely help your fish and plants. I'd shoot for a target of between 7.4 and 7.6 ish. Don't want to drop it too fast and stress the fish. I don't normally like making a lot of changes once in the middle of cycling, but that pH is very dangerous. This Chart will help you understand. As you can seen on the 2nd chart, at pH of 8.4 no detectable amount of ammonia is safe. At 7.4 pH your "safe" up to 2 ppm. At 7.0 pH your "safe" to 5 ppm. This is assuming room temp of 20 C. At the very least if pH of rain water is below 7, then I would do all top ups with that water. I do hope this helps and doesn't get too confusing. It's easy to be overwhelmed at first.
  14. Changing the water out 10 to 20 percent probably won't hurt the fish... but you'll be loosing whatever nutrients you have in the system as well as slowing down the cycling process. Though at that high pH the plants are going to have a very tough time nutrient or not. If ammonia and nitrite levels are staying 0 then it is more likely the stress from putting them in the system in the first place. It can take several days for damage to internal organs to translate fish mortality. Just keep testing, I've read many posts where they had 0 readings and suddenly a spike. There are several "salts". I personally like either calcium chloride or potassium chloride. Either of these are elements used by the plants. Low levels of salt won't harm plants and the level BD mentioned will provide some protection without harming anything. Some parasites will be less likely to spread with salt in the water. Dr. McMurtry recommended sulfuric acid for bringing down the pH if you do add acid. I've used everything from vinegar to hydrochloric acid(muriatic) as it was easy to get. Vinegar will "bounce" and muriatic acid has been the most reliable method for me.
  15. Unless you have really low buffers in the system, don't expect the pH to drop anytime soon from nitrification. Typically takes months in a well stocked system. Are the fish from a breeder or fished from a lake/pond? Do take heart. The first system is always the toughest one.