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About Aufin

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    Lakeland, Fl.

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  1. Some research and talking to local plant nursery operators confirmed what I suspected .... Root Knot Nematodes (RKN). The advice I got mainly involved solarization to rid the beds of the RKNs. I have one 4x8 ft bed, two 2x8 ft beds, one 2x4 ft bed and a blue barrel left over from the dark days of gravel F/D, and I confess to not being patient enough to cover my beds with plastic and wait weeks for results. So, I looked around some more for a quicker remedy. Neem seemed to be pretty effective against RKNs, so I tried to figure a way to treat the beds. The neem suppliers I talked to had trialed neem on crops with RKNs and had very good results, but all were trialed on crops grown in the ground, not in a situation with recirculating water and fish. So, not much help there, other than being told that neem is not toxic to fish if used sparingly. I suppose the customer service people have to operate in CYA mode when talking to strangers on the phone, so I got no suggestions as to what "sparingly" means, so I intended to find out for myself. I expect all beds are infested with the RKNs, but decided to treat only the large bed directly, and the small beds indirectly. I stripped everything out of the bed, capped the drain and filled the bed with water and Neem oil mixture and stirred the sand as best I could without risking tearing a hole in my liner, and let everything stand for 24+ hrs. The Neem water was allowed to run out on the ground and the bed got a pretty good rinse with fresh water. Didn't think the diluted residue would effect the fish, so everything got reattached and started cycling everything through the system. No ill effects noticed in the fish for a few days, so I poured a very small amount of full strength Neem oil around the roots of the plants I suspected would be susceptible to the RKNs. Still no ill effects. I expect any full strength Neem oil will be washed down to the roots and diluted with each cycle. Neem also degrades pretty quick in the environment, so I will treat my beds in the future with both direct application to the sand around the plant base and as a diluted spray on the foliage. Maybe this will work, maybe I'll need to find a more aggressive method. Time will tell. Tomatoes seem to be the most vulnerable, so they'll be my "canary". ............................................................. Took the opportunity to see for myself how deep the fish stuff penetrates the sand. This bed has been set up for almost a year. Doesn't look like it goes too deep so I don't expect to need to replace any sand any time soon. Carrots seem to do good in the sand beds. Potatoes are in my 2x4 bed and I expect good results from them, too. Too bad I had to pull these before more were ready.
  2. Yes I'm sure it's the RKNS. Stripped all plants out, decoupled the drain from the fish tank, capped the drain line and flooded with water. At present bed is sitting filled above the sand and treated with neem oil. Will drain and flush with fresh water tomorrow. Hopefully when reattached to the tank any residue should be light enough to not bother the tilapia and maybe provide a small treatment dose to the rest of my sandbeds. I know the other beds have RKNS but not to the extent of the large bed. Intend to establish a light maintenance dose of neem to try to get rid of the remaining nematodes. The scientific papers I've found trialling neem for RKN treatment have been very positive. But they were trialing traditional dirt farming, not closed system APs. Hope this works. Noone I've talked to has offered any guidelines for treating an aquaponics system, so I'm pretty much in trial-and-error mode......hopefully with minimal error.
  3. VK, have you found any Root Knot Nematodes in any of your iAVs systems? Found my beds have been invaded by RKN's and researching remedies suitable for AP/iAVs. Anxious to see your Circle of Life finished and producing.
  4. Been doing a little cleanup of the beds getting ready for new plants. Started pulling tomatoes that weren't looking very healthy and look what I found ............ I think I have been invaded by nematodes. Any second opinions? Any ideas as to how to get rid of nematodes without killing everything? Pretty sure all my beds have been invaded by these nasty critters. Needless to say, I'm not very happy.
  5. Bugs really don't care whether your plants are inside or out, and as to whether or not they should or shouldn't be there is not a discussion you want to get into with bugs..... they will just ignore you. Actually, I'd think they prefer to be inside: much nicer climate conditions and no predators to worry about. This may help ID your intruders ..... I'm suspecting spider mites.
  6. Safety should also be included in the educational demonstration.
  7. Seems fish can be much like some people. "You can lead a horse to water, but........" Survival of the fittest at work.
  8. If I'm wishing, wish big. I would very much like to do the Circle of Life design VKN is going to trial. In an elaborate all glass Victorian style greenhouse.
  9. All I know about the assassins is what I found on Google. Seems they just cruise around looking for dinner, preferably an unsuspecting snail. Whether they're hunters or just opportunists, I couldn't say. The assassins are in the welk family What the difference is, again,.....don't know. What I do know is after putting up with snails clogging everything for way too long, the assassin's seem to have done a fine job of making snails extinct in my little part of the cosmos. I'm expecting they starved to death since, I'm not very happy to admit, I forgot about them. I remember reading they can be fed a small piece of raw meat occasionally if I wanted to keep them healthy. My original plan was to give them back to the pet store when they were done.
  10. When I had a snail population my tilapia couldn't be less interested. The snails were everywhere. My solution was to get some assassin snails from the pet store. No chemicals, no unintended consequences , eventually no snails clogging everything. I forgot about the problem and I think the assassin's eventually starved, which I'm not particularly happy about.
  11. Not too sure what's going on Maybe people try to shortcut things, don't read, or absorb things, whatever. Maybe people think they're building a better mousetrap, reinventing the wheel. Doesn't matter. I'm probably guilty of coloring outside the lines, too a lot. Sometimes I try to add a little to a conversation, but mostly just lurk. This conversation does need to be moved to a more appropriate thread. Sorry 'bout the hijack, Gary.
  12. Something to keep in mind: in Mark's description of iAVs sand beds it was said that plantless running/cycling for an extended period resulted in water with a low ph and high ammonia levels, which I would assume are not the ideal environment for fish. Plants and the accompanying bacteria are necessary for balance.
  13. Are these the beds you are thinking about putting stepping stones in? If it is, that's an easy fix. Just make some bridge pieces that go from one side to the other and you can move them anywhere you want.
  14. This is the pump I'm using. Made a cage with 1/4" hardware cloth to keep out trash, small fish and anything else that might clog.
  15. My thoughts on the stone walking path (through the beds if I'm imagining what you are saying) are, the loose packed sand in the BF will be compacted and the stone path will slowly disapear into the sand. The sand will compact not only vertically, but laterally as well, disrupting the hill/furrows. Have no idea what effect it will have on the roots, but would suspect the compacted sand would have to have some effect on the drainage profile as well. A narrow bridge-like access path would seem to work better. Some supports placed upright from the bottom of the bed to support the wooden path would keep the sand from being compacted.