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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. I found the link to the guide I used here.
  2. That's some really nice work there!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Seasons Greetings all. Wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.
  6. Yes. Greens are good at dropping nitrates, but the leaves curl a lot with high nitrate.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Without some testing I can only guess. The yellowing of the leaves is likely low nutrient level in the water. If the pH is still 8 that would cause nutrient lockout as well as make any ammonia in the system toxic to fish. Salt has been reported to be helpful. It does help reduce nitrite toxicity.
  13. http://www.worldcat.org/title/northlands-winter-greenhouse-manual-a-unique-low-tech-solution-to-vegetable-production-in-cold-climates/oclc/435438027 That link will provide you with a way to get the book from a library if you wanted to read it before you bought it. It sounds very similar to the Sunny John subterranean heating/cooling system. Beware those type of systems loose efficiency in damp/moist environments typical of an aquaponic setup , so your mileage may vary wildly depending on local climate and solar exposure. For your convenience a link to solar map is provided. The link that OP posted did have some useful information, but it's not spoon fed and was really similar to the preface of a book. The name of the book is provided and a simple google search yielded multiple hits.
  14. No problem with soot, but my greenhouse was not air tight being it was just plastic secured to a wooden frame. I used a carbon monoxide monitor in the greenhouse, but never got a detectable level above it's preset set point. You will need at least 4 ft of clear space in front of it. I had to tweak the fuel rate to keep the flames from extending past the metal casing. I had an adjustment on it that could be set with a screwdriver and it took a little trial and error. I've heard of models that output infrared heat that are supposedly more efficient, but have not really looked into them as this heater was easily purchased at a hardware or feed store. You will need some method of ventilation if your greenhouse is airtight. Carbon monoxide is no joke. Also, don't overlook the importance of setting up a solar water heater to heat the water. Just keep in mind that heat loss from the water goes up as the air temp goes down. I had looked into the radiant heater thing, but could not justify the added expense in zone 8, but in 5 it might be worthwhile. You could lay the insulation and radiant heating lines and build a wooden pallet type support over it to hold your system. You could make the wooden support rest on the concrete and the foam board cover the concrete in between depending on how large a system you built.
  15. I used something similar to this. It's a different brand, but they are all the same manufacturer. I used diesel fuel to heat my 24' x 32' greenhouse as it was a lot cheaper than kerosene, but did smell worse. WIth nightime temps in the 20's, it typically cost around $60 or so dollars to heat a month if I set the thermostat at 45F. It's pretty loud though.