JeffH

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About JeffH

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    Advanced Member

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  • Biography
    My background in science, veterinary medicine, and education research and development has led to my varied career with a main goal of understanding and improving how people learn. I am involved in a project called the Encyclopedia of Life (eol.org) which is aggregating information about all species on an open source platform. We recently moved to Costa Rica and I'm interested in starting a small commercial hydroponics and/or aquaponics system. I've already learned a lot from these forums and hope to contribute as I make progress on my own project.
  • Interests
    science, biodiversity, hydroponics, aquaponics, iAVs, education, technology

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  • Location
    Costa Rica
  1. Haven't posted for a while but I wanted to say that I'm still around and excited about continuing my build once we have moved to our new lot. My existing system proved to be problematic because of the wrong type of sand (too coarse and contains Calcium compounds that drive up the pH). The good news is that I have found a source (unverified as yet) that apparently has ASTM-33 sand. Once I have my new site setup, I'll be checking out this new source - am hoping for the best! I need to do some fencing/wall building and a bit of leveling on the new lot first, but hoping to complete that in the next month or so. Cheers, Jeff
  2. Hi Aswin, Looking forward to seeing your progress and findings! Cheers, Jeff
  3. Very inspirational! If my wife sees this, I might have some work to do...
  4. Hi Rav, can you post some pics of your fish tank? What do you have in terms of fish/tank size? Looks like great plant growth!
  5. Hi Ravnis, Rainwater pH is 6.4 so I think I'll try to do some water replacement over the next couple of days. If I can get the pH down a bit and it stays down then I know my sand isn't buffering so much any more. I suspect it will still raise it a bit but over the last few days, the pH hasn't been rising at all, which is good. Steady at around 8.2. In terms of the fish behavior, I haven't seen any fighting. My pleco seems to be quite retiring, at least when I'm looking. Most of the day he spends beside the pump but a few times I've caught him up on the tank sides or elsewhere on the bottom. Today was notable though because it's the first time the fish (at least a few of them) have come to the surface at feeding time. So they are getting a little bolder as time goes on. Here's today cucumber pic along with some good news about my sad tomato plants. They are coming back to life!
  6. Also, an update on the plants. Yesterday I uploaded that especially yellow-tinged cucumber seedling. Check it out today:
  7. Ravnis, I think you are right... I'll just monitor for a while and see what the pH does. VK, here's the tank setup (photo). It's about 550 litres with only (now) 16 small fish plus one Plecko. It has both an air stone and that awesome oxygenated filtered water returning every couple of hours so I can't imagine that it is low in DO. What do you think? I don't yet have a DO meter.
  8. Hi all, Thanks for your thoughtful ideas and advice. BD, my quarantine bucket had about a tablespoon of salt in 4 litres but I think, as you point out, it was ineffective in this case as the fish likely had an infection. I believe the initial stress was a combination of ammonia toxicity and the pH difference from the acuario water to the tank. When I checked the tank before I added the fish, I was shocked to see it up around 8.5 or even a bit higher. In a bit of a panic, I drained half the water and added fresh rainwater. That brought the pH down to around 8.2 but that was still higher than the fish store water (I think it was 7.2). While doing that, I left the 20 fingerlings in a fairly small amount of water for too long so that didn't help either. I did try to introduce them to the tank water over a period of about 2 hours, but it was still likely quite a shock for them. Lesson 1: check tank water conditions before excitedly buying fish. Since I added rainwater to my system initially, I can only conclude that my sand has enough buffers in it to raise the pH over time. In the week since I've added the fish, it fortunately hasn't crept up so perhaps it will stabilize now and even come down over the next while. I do hate my sand but until we move (next couple of months), I'm kind of stuck with it. Here are the readings from today:
  9. Thanks Ravnis. We do get a significant amount of rainfall here - which has a lower pH. What about replacing a percentage of the tank's water (1/4?) on a regular basis for a while? The fish are from a local acuario (aquarium store) but are likely sourced from a local river.
  10. I think my fish might be Amphilophus alfari which prefer a slightly acidic pH (6.5 - 7.0) so perhaps my pH of 8+ is not helping. Here's a photo of this species: https://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/attachments/alfari-jpg.981720/
  11. Thanks Ravs and BD. Water tests have shown 0 for ammonia and nitrites. Nitrates are around 5ppm. The fish haven't been eating much - although there is some algae that they might be consuming? Mostly they are shy and don't come to the surface. When I crush the pellets to sink some of the food, they do eat at least some of it. I've read that mojarra juveniles are quite shy but become bolder with age. The high pH (8.2) is problematic but my system has only had fish for 9 days so I'm hoping it will drop over time as the bacterial colonies get more established.
  12. I added a bunch of seeds directly to the grow bed to see what would happen. Now a bunch have germinated but I'm noticing that many have cotyledons with yellow borders. This is especially noticeable on the cucumber and bok choi. Any thoughts on what might be the cause?
  13. Forgot to say that these fish are supposed to be "mojarras", a river fish from Costa Rica. Anyone agree/disagree?
  14. Ha, my dad's favorite line too... "do it now!" Very true. In my iAVs news, I've had a couple of fish deaths recently. Added a couple of photos but to me it looks like they both have some lesions/inflammations that perhaps are a result of a bacterial infection? They had a stressful introduction to the system about a week ago now. Some have suggested salting my system although I'm reluctant to add salt to the main tank. I have one fish now that is looking a little off, so I've moved it to a quarantine tank and added salt to that. Was thinking of leaving it there for 48 hours, if it survives. Any thoughts?
  15. What's a good rule of thumb for how many of the first flowers to remove? Or do you go by plant size?