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Jackalope

What levels are good?

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OK, so I finally got a API Master Test kit on eBay to test the water. Out of 30 goldfish that I have bought, I have 2 left :(. Here's what I have measured today:

PH - 8.0

Ammonia - 8.0

Nitrate - 0.0 ppm

Nitrite - 5.0 ppm

Water Temp - 63 F. (if that makes any difference)

My questions are these:

1. What are the good/recommended levels that I should be striving for on the different tests?

2. I want it to be as Organic as possible, so what do I use to raise and lower the levels:

a)PH - too alkaline

b)PH - too acidic

c) Ammonia - too high (Can it be too low?)

d)Nitrates - too high (Can it be too low?)

e)Nitrites - too high (Can it be too low?)

3. Once I start growing produce, am I going to have to have separate systems for (a) lettuce/greens/herbs and (b) Tomatoes since they each require different nutrients/PH levels, etc.? i.e. It is my understanding that lettuce and greens grow great with aquaponics using fish waste, but tomatoes require different levels of ammonia, acids, PH, etc. so the fish wouldn't provide all of that (?). Please understand that I am just asking, not making dogmatic statements here -- I'm trying to learn .

NOTE: I haven't finished putting the grow beds together, and I still need to buy some grow-lites - One thing at a time..... I figure I need to learn to raise the goldfish without killing them all off before I start growing the lettuce and tomatoes :o. After a year or two, I hope to expand enough to start raising trout rather than goldfish, since I would like to stick with cold-water fish to avoid the cost of heating the water. (I'm in Montana, USA, so our winters get very severe - 43 F below zero a few weeks back) right now we're basking in the 32 F above zero 'heat wave' lol

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Hi Jack,

pH of 8 is a bit high

You can get it down slowly by adding lemon juice.

There are other compounds that others have used, I am sure they will chip in and tell you how they did it.

Trouble is that at pH 7 or higher the ammonia is particularly toxic to fish, that is why you will need to move it down gently.

pH tends to drift down slowly in a mature aquaponics system over time, so be gentle with the adjustments. Make them over several days.

It is my understanding that lettuce and greens grow great with aquaponics using fish waste, but tomatoes require different levels of ammonia, acids, PH, etc. so the fish wouldn't provide all of that (?)

I grow Tomatoes very well in my systems although I have to admit that I get better results for the tomatoes in the oldest system that is now 3 years old. So there has been time to build up a load of organic nutrients in the grow beds.

The lettuce go better in the newest system that is only about 5 months old.

PH up is easy enough . Add Hydrated Lime from time to time to provide calcium and to raise pH... etc.

You will find that Iron needs to be added to the system from time to time.

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I agree with Murray about the PH being a little high, goldies prefer 7. One thing that is often overlooked however is the health of the goldfish themselves. I went through about 30 myself before I got healthy ones that flourished. If your getting feeders they are generally tThis is almost a positive sign they aren't going to make it. When you look at goldfish you want prominent fins, good color and a full looking belly. If you look in my thread you can see pictures of a sickly and a healthy one that may help. Good luck, goldfish aren't as unkillable as people make them out to be.

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Gday Jack. The ammonia killed your fish. Change out 50% of your water now. What sort of pumping/biofilter setup do you have?

Google ammonia toxicity to fish and have a good read. Don't buy any more until you have ur growbeds done and an established bacteria colony in there. They will establish naturally, but with u being in winter it may take a couple of months.

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+1 for what aussieheap said.

Your system is showing signs that it is starting to cycle.

ammonia 8

nitrite 5.

The water change will help your remaining fish and help your system cycle faster by reducing the ammonia levels. Not sure how big a tank you have but 30 gold fish is a lot to start off with in a new system. I used 20 in my 900 gallon system till i made sure it was cycled. If you are using gravel in your growbeds you may find that you have to fight your ph as a lot of gravel sold here seems to have a lot of calcium. I stuggle to keep the ph between 7.6-8.0 in mine due to the gravel even after adding lots of acid( I use white vinegar).

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Agghhh HELP

I did a water test this morning and my Nitrite level is 40 ppm..

Everywhere i read suggests do a 30% water change. Damn I knew I should have got to that sump tank..

Anything else i can do?

Should I panic or just throw another handfullof salt into the tank?

Any suggestions greatfuly received

Nean::confused:

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make sure it is nitrite your testing and not nitrate. My nitrite test only goes up to 5 but there may be others that read higher. A nitrate test of 40 is a good indicator that your system is working on cycling, but I can't tell you it is cycled till ammonia and nitrite are both reading zero.

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No need to apologize, It's a lot to digest at one time. If your ammonia and nitrite are staying at 0 and nitrates are climbing, your ready to start planting. You will soon be ready to start eating too :). I would advise monitoring for a few more days then you can add fish slowly. Remember it takes a day or so when new fish or added for the bacteria to grow and catch up. WHen I added 32 1cm carp and 20 1cm gold fish to my system it took 2 days to restablilize. Course the temps were 10-12 c so this slowed it down.

Btw, I have a ph of 8 with goldfish from a new gravel bed and have seen no sign of stress in the short term. Long term verdict is still out. I just add a little vinegar each day to help bring it back down. If you add fish slowly after you make sure your system is cycled the ph should not be a problem unless you overload your biofilter. Btw adding acid will stun your biofilter temporarily and cause an ammonia rise if you add too much too quick.

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Agghhh HELP

I did a water test this morning and my Nitrite level is 40 ppm..

Everywhere i read suggests do a 30% water change. Damn I knew I should have got to that sump tank..

Anything else i can do?

Should I panic or just throw another handfullof salt into the tank?

Any suggestions greatfuly received

Nean::confused:

Just to add this for future reference. That Nitrite reading is very unusual. Always when not sure the test is correct, test it again, respond don't react it. But just for reference before dumping water, you need 30 times salt to 1 part nitrite to neutralize the nitrite with the chloride content in salt (eg, your reading of 40ppm will require the addition of 1200ppm salt added). Keep in mind the salt should not reach levels higher than 2ppT (2grams per liter or 2000EC). This should only be used in emergency and will not remove the nitrite but will reduce/remove its toxicity to the cultured fish. This means it will continue to read on tests and feed your bio. The fish and the bio will not have any issue with the salt content, though I can not speak for your plants, so a bypass may be required for your grow bed set up. And remember salt has an accumulative effect.

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adareaqua,ur system has cycled. You may care to add something to lift ur pH. Blue metal in a bag in ur sump will help and provide minerals and hardness to ur system.

What you will find over time is ur bacteria will adapt to the lower pH. They prefer it higher and are more efficient at the ammo conversion thing around the pH 7 mark. Just keep an eye on it. Too high or low u get nutrient lockout and stunted growth in ur plants.

Sodium bicarb a little and often is another way to do it. Look for slow change in pH when doing this so it gives the fish time to adjust their internal systems, rather than going from say 6.6 to 7.6 in the space of a few minutes.

Plant away and get the fish happening.

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Well this is all such a learning curve -

Thanks for your advise will take it all on board

I have already planted and have 14 Barra consuming copious amounts of food per day and the tomatoes and beetroot and beans (that are supposed to be dwarf beans almost 3' high) and been eating heaps of lettuce. so i think everything is ticking along nicely now. Dont seem to have any luck with cucumbers or zuchinni . They just seem to lay there, flower and then rot.

I am trying to set up another grow bed with 6 goldfish getting it ready for cooler weather in readiness for some trout. I have planted in that grow bed also but the stuff is way behind the Barra set up. Tomatoes that were from the same punnet from the shop are tiny by camparison

Finally managed to locate some Duckweed so will try the Barra with that this weekend.

Dont know if the Black soldier fly is around in WA. I havent seen any in my area as yet. Have a compost heap and chickens so maybe they dont get a look in.

cheers:)

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Hi, cukes and zuchs can be problematic. The only time i ever had huge success w cukes was when they rambled along the ground in heavily watered rich soil. The kicker i reckon tho was the ants doing the pollination. Only had 2 plants but we picked 2-3 per day for a good 8 weeks.

I had really good success w zuchs in my first ap season but not so in my 2nd. First season i had some banana (high in potash>better flowering and fruitset) in the bed but forget second season. Perhaps this had something to do w it, dunno.

Bottom line, some banana in ur growbeds and a turkey baster for pollination and I reckon u will come up roses.

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First season i had some banana (high in potash>better flowering and fruitset) in the bed but forget second season. Perhaps this had something to do w it, dunno.

Bottom line, some banana in ur growbeds and a turkey baster for pollination and I reckon u will come up roses.

Is that banana squash?

Also, how do you pollinate with a turkey baster ..... care to elaborate, is there a thread here .....? Inquiring minds want to know ;) ......

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no jack, real live bananas. I split mine up a third per bathtub buried under the gravel near the inlet pipe. Any brush for pollination will do, the turkey baster may be a bit large but hey, things are bigger in Texas right?

You said turkey baster ..... in the US, this is what we think of when you say turkey baster : http://www.flippersandfins.net/Images/TurkeyBasterA.JPG

I couldn't figure out how in the heck you would pollinate using one of those - roflol :D

Now that you said brush, that makes a lot of difference ;)

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The bananas add potassium (for fruiting), skin must be removed first. Full of chemicals from spraying.

Seasol does the same thing.

Seasol - liquid seaweed extract .... I don't know if that's available in the US, however, bananas are ;) Thanks for the tips!

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Please clear up some confusion as I was reading this to understand the needed water levels. One post says "pH 7 or higher the ammonia is particularly toxic to fish" and another says "..more efficient at the ammo conversion thing around the pH 7 mark"

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One post says "pH 7 or higher the ammonia is particularly toxic to fish"

That is very true.

Plants generally like the pH to be above 7pH but the fish are more comfortable below 7pH, so in Aquaponic systems the ideal is to keep your system just below 7pH. The is a good range of tolerance so don't panic if your system is , say, 7.5 or so for a while.....but you would take steps to reduce the pH very steadily over several days. Same goes for the other extreme....say at 6.0pH...you would buffer it up slowly over several days.

pH swings are usually only observed in young systems. In a mature system the pH tends to drift downwards (becomes more acid), so buffering up is needed frequently.

Don't know about the other post or what it is referring to.

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LPM if you are confused, just google 'fish respiration' and have a read around.

Fish waste and respiration is acidic so it tends to drag our pH down.

The bacteria that convert fish ammonia to plant nitrate prefer a more alkaline environment, ie pH above 7 which is neutral. They still work at other pH levels, just more efficiently when the pH is a bit higher.

Have a bit of a read around on 'ammonia fish toxicity'.

AP is all about finding a happy medium where the plants and fish and bacteria are all RELATIVELY happy. Like life it is about a happy balance and surprise surprise that is around pH 7.

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Thank you all for clearing that up for me. My PH a minute ago was 7.6, a slight rise from earlier today. I put in 118ml of white distilled vinegar to a 1325l tank with a 1135l sump.

As I cannot see the bottom of the tank I have been relying on seeing the fish when feeding or the times they come up to swim in the current. Part of me is glad they are not coming up in the current now as channel cat do not like current - I suspect they were needing DO before.

I am hoping they are feeding on any algae particles that may be in the water? There are not any blooms or anything like that and the water looks clear when being pumped. Not sure otherwise why they did not eat. I netted the food out as to not contaminate the water.

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It's not unusual for fish not to eat when they first settle in. All in all your doing good for your first attempt.

AP requires lot's of patience and reading. You might consider adding a spray bar , a pipe with holes drilled in it so the water showeres out into the water in the fish tank. Would add aeration to the FT.

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