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holidaymatt

Holidaymatt's 1st System

17 posts in this topic

I've got my 1st system (CHOP) up and running. It's about 30 gallon's of water total with 15 gallons in the fish tank. No fish yet. I've got 2 local sources for tilapia but they don't seem to return phone calls so I may just opt for some goldfish this weekend.

I've got drains in both grow beds and a valve system so that I can run all the water through one bed or the other for cleaning, transplanting etc. Normally I have the water going through both beds. I have two bell siphon's in each bed at 1/2" different heights for back-up. I made a canister filter between the pump and fish tank with foam and activated carbon.

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I'm going to keep this first post short because I'm not sure if I'm posting the photo correctly. I think this is only photo i can post until I edit the other down to a smaller size. What is the limit to the size of the images? If it works I'll post some more pictures of the stuff I'm growing. I've got some peppers, lettuce, herbs and a tomato plant going so far.

All comments, advice, and suggestions are appreciated.

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Here's the top of the fish tank. You can see the filter and valve system. There are two 6" airstones with pond gravel in the bottom.

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I can't seem to post multiple pictures. I'll try to figure it out and post some pictures of the plants.

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Thanks Kellen. I'm already hooked and working on a design for something around 1000 gallons. I'm in the process of selling this house and finding another more suited to my new addiction so I don't want to start a big system until I get a new place. This one is just for research and fun.

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cool well done

have you got your system cycled yet?

whether you have or not I would put some veges in

have a bit of a read about cycling your system

have fun

robin

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Thanks Robin. It's starting to cycle. I introduced some ammonia and bacteria and I'm getting a nitrite reading now so it's starting. Here's some herbs growing from seed, some romaine lettuce from seed and some cayenne, cubanelle, and a tomato plant that I grew in a small hydro system and transplanted last week. They've grown a couple of inches since Saturday. The lettuce is about 2 weeks old and the herb (oregano, basil, marjoram and thyme sprouts are about 5 days old in this shot.

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in oz we have product called seasol which is a fish/seaweed extract . I have found that your plants can basically live on this until your system cycles.

not knowing personally but a lot of people dont like to use certain types of ammonia eg..urea, too strong I think

also i have a bit of theory about planting densitys.. here goes... fill it up.. and thin it out later

dunno if it is right but i think that having your plant beds full will help if ammonia / nitrite / nitrate levels get too high or peak quickly

also I have about 6000 litres of water and only 100 trout

lots of water will buffer any water spikes. temps/ammonia etc

if you can fit it in somehow

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It's looking great!

And, yes, this is a VERY addictive hobby. Enjoy it, and I look forward to reading more updates!

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Great looking system. Mine has many of the same items for growbeds and fish tanks. I have a pepper plant growing in mine, and am trying to get some tomato cuttings to root. Curious to watch your results.

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I got my goldfish on Saturday. I named them after the 3 Stooge's law firm, Dewey, Cheetum, and Howe. i don't plan to eat them so I named them. When I build a big system I won't be naming them....I'll be eating them. Here's a couple of pics:

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More pics of plant growth to follow.

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Here are some shots of the plant growth. The tomato grew from 6 to 18 inches in 16 days. The second picture is of a grow bed that has bib lettuce and peppers growing from seed. That bed wasn't posted yet because at the time of the last post nothing was growing yet. The other 3 pics show what has happened in the other beds that were pictured in an earlier post.

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Plants are doing well. Fish are growing and seem happy. System is cycling. Here's the readings:

PH: 8.2

Ammonia: 0

Nitrate: 20ppm

Nitrite: 0

I'm a little concerned about the ph but I'll leave it alone for now. Any advice?

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Hi Matt,

I'm concerned about the pH, too.

At that level, it a number of nutrients will be locked up and unavailable to your plants. While that can be resolved by adding a little Seasol or Maxicrop (the US equivalent), the greater problem will come from any ammonia which may develop in your system.

Ammonia, in it's unionised form, is toxic at high pH levels.

I'd suggest that you use a bit of plain white vinegar......or get some acid from the local pool shop.....and gradually ease the pH down to something a bit more manageable......like 6.8 to 7.0. Do it very gradually to avoid stressing the fish.

Gary

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Thanks Gary,

How slowly should I bring it down? Actually, I used some white vinegar last week and brought it down to 7 over 3 or 4 days by adding a quarter cup twice a day. (2 cups total) When I quit adding the vinegar the ph went right back up in about 24 hours. Should I just keep putting in the vinegar until it gets down to 7 and then stop until it gets up to 7.5 or so?

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There are two 6" airstones with pond gravel in the bottom.

I have a sneaky suspicion your pond gravel is giving you pH issues and may also be from the addition of new water. What is your alkalinity?

Could be quite a few things, but check what the gravel is and measure the alkalinity of the source water (where ever you get it from).

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Thanks Crusty,

I was doing some searches on other AP message boards and came across the "pond pebbles" as Home Depot calls them and figured they may be the culprit. I took a dozen of them out of the system and put them in PUR filtered water which has a PH of 6 and will monitor.

I'm posting three pictures of my test results to make sure I'm reading things right. The first picture shows a sample of water from the system (left) and a sample of tap water (right) with the high PH scale in the middle. The second one shows a system water sample with the scale to the left. The 3rd picture is of just the tap water with the scale to the right. Looks like 7.8 for the tap water which leads me to belive the stones are the problem.

I guess the main thing I'm wondering now is that IF it turns out to be the pond pebbles is there a way to work around it or will I have to dismantle my grow beds and remove the stones.

I'm thinking the stones are probably the problem. I guess it's better to make rookie mistakes with a 30 gallon system rather than a big one.....but it's going to be a real setback to have to remove the stones. I thought I would try to save a little money on clay pellets and had read about others using all gravel for their grow beds. It didn't dawn on me to dig deeper about types of rock and what to use and how to test it. Cheap lesson I guess.

Crusty thanks for your help and BTW your new system looks incredible. I'm following the thread closely as I'm already starting to make plans for a much larger system. 1000-3000 gallons. I just need to sell my house and buy another one before I can start construction.

I'm going to add a little vinegar now to keep things somewhat balanced until I figure out a plan.

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I would not get to concerned with the pH with a new system. Get the fish onto good volumes of feed and the biological activity will increase and reduce the pH. Should it still be an issue after that, burn the alkalinity off with acid to reduce the pH gradually (no more than 0.2 per day). You may find it will take some time because the plants are doing the opposite to the bacteria. When the plants take up nitrogen, they deposit (for simplicity) hydroxides which pushes the pH up. So once you get some feed into the system it should start to fall and everything will be just fine. Try not to be adding anything just yet and use the fish food to do the work for you.

If you have questions about the new system, by all means ask them in that thread. Happy to help.

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