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cordreyba

Expanded NFT system

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All,

I have been very busy since I last posted. In mid-January I lost my little greenhouse to a storm, but with such a success I had to rebuild. We opted for a 10 by 16 stick build greenhouse. We also decided to add a bigger FT and add a filtration system. I plan on adding a few IBC Ebb and Flow GBs as well. I added the link to my album with my new progress. Today I am getting 50 goldfish to cycle the water, then I will be adding Channel Catfish in a few weeks when they are available in my area. Feel free to critisize my system, I am still learning and this forum has been a wealth of information. Thanks for looking.

Link:

http://www.aquaponicshq.com/forums/album.php?albumid=111

Enjoy,

Ben

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Hi Ben,

I have been very busy since I last posted. In mid-January I lost my little greenhouse to a storm, but with such a success I had to rebuild. We opted for a 10 by 16 stick build greenhouse. We also decided to add a bigger FT and add a filtration system. I plan on adding a few IBC Ebb and Flow GBs as well. I added the link to my album with my new progress.

Some more details on that nice little greenhouse would be great for those of our members who are thinking along similar lines.

One of your photos is captioned "Heirloom seedling transplanted from rapid rooter to expanded clay media in 3 inch net pots." What is (a) rapid rooter?

Journeyman....as you can see I'm one step ahead of you......so no premature ejaculation jokes.......please?:biggrin:

Today I am getting 50 goldfish to cycle the water, then I will be adding Channel Catfish in a few weeks when they are available in my area.

Safe your money on the goldfish.......and buy a bottle of anhydrous ammonia from your local hardware store. With fishless cycling, you'll get a safer, faster and more decisive cycling outcome. There are entire threads on the fishless cycling process but, if you need help with it, you only need to ask.

Gary

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Gary,

I guess I will post start a thread on the greenhouse details, but I basically used some plans free on the Internet and extended it a bit. Rapid Rooter is a hydroponic seed starter that uses a biodegradable foam like material available from amazon. I heard they do wonders with cloning as well. It is nice not rinsing peat or potting soil, they germinate extremely fast as well. I watered every few days with water from the little tank I had on the first system. I went ahead and bought the gold fish, 7 bucks for 50. I figured the cat will enjoy eating them once they get bigger anyway. I will do some research on the fish less cycling though I love learning more. I also bought the master test kit so I will be monitoring the levels daily for any changes. Will adding the ammonia to the swirl filter speed up the process at all. How will I know when the cycling is complete. Will the ammonia levels neutralize and nitrate levels increase. Also, where is the best place to test, FT, after bio-filter or after plants. I also had a question on stocking densities, the Internet is full of, depends on the efficiency of you filtration. How will I know how efficient it is, and if it is very efficient how many.

-Ben

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Until I start a new thread on the greenhouse here is the web site I got the plans for the greenhouse, just modified the size for my needs

Greenhouse Plans page 1

I ran a test on the water in the FT today with my master test kit

PH was 7.6

ammonia was 1.0 ppm

NO2 was 0 ppm

NO3 was 10 to 20 ppm

before fish yesterday I tested after bio filter before the plants and got

PH was 7.6

ammonia was .5 ppm

NO2 was 0 ppm

NO3 was 0 ppm

i don't know how good this is or if where I should be testing, but I assume rising ammonia and NO3 is a good sign. My plants root systems have not made it to the the flow of water yet, I am using drip emitters till the roots make it down then I have a valve to turn off the emitters. I guess the NO3 will fall once the plants start taking off. I will keep you posted on my progress.

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So the the last few days the fish tank tests have reviled the same results. My water temp has been 57 degrees. The green house temp has been in the 90s in the day and high 30s at night

PH 7.6 to 8.4 currently at 7.6

Amonnia- .50 ppm highest it got was 1.0 for one day

NO2 and NO3 all read zero.

I have only lost one goldfish, so I am at 49 small ones in 250 gallon FT, with about 75 gallons of filter and sump space. The plants are transitioning well.

-Ben

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So I have been testing everyday for a week, with the same results, ph 7.6 to 7.8, ammonia .25 to .50, nitrate 0 nitride 0. I have had Goldfish 2 weeks now, a few have died 4 I think out of 50. I think the cold weather is stalling my cycle, water temp has not broke 60 F, not good for nitrifying bac. Although my bio filter is starting to get a strange smell. Is that good. Also, I added a dozen or more minnows left over from fishing the other day.

One thing I forgot to mention is that my old small 17 gal fish tank had water in it while I was building the new GH and setting up this system. Well when I opened it to set it up, 3 live goldfish that haven't been feed in 45 plus days or water pumping. Could it be possible that the bacteria in that FT and gravel boosted the cycling and I am done. I doubt it but?

Another thing is a finally got the flow right where I want it, that was a pain, seemed every time I made a small adjustment on a ball valve a pump would suck air or I would walk out to a overflowing sump. Now my sumps drop maybe 2 inches in 48 hours not bad.

Lastly the plants are doing good. (I assume thats the point of this hobby, not just building stuff). Strawberries are going crazy. Rest of the plants taking off. Thanks for all the info on this site, learning a lot.

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Gary I'm sure Rapid Rooter sounds as funny to you as "meat birds" sounds to us.

Since I watch some videos of a popular vegan fruit eating cyclist that lives in Adelaide I've started to accidentally use some AUisms. Examples. Instead of saying '... feeling like sh*t' I sometimes use 'Feeling sh*t'. I also catch myself randomly ending sentences with the word 'as'. I would never know if it was just him as my sample size is low.

Not sure how much anhydrous ammonia cost but 'large' (still small though) goldfish are $0.24 here. 50 for $12.

Hi Ben,

Some more details on that nice little greenhouse would be great for those of our members who are thinking along similar lines.

One of your photos is captioned "Heirloom seedling transplanted from rapid rooter to expanded clay media in 3 inch net pots." What is (a) rapid rooter?

Journeyman....as you can see I'm one step ahead of you......so no premature ejaculation jokes.......please?:biggrin:

Safe your money on the goldfish.......and buy a bottle of anhydrous ammonia from your local hardware store. With fishless cycling, you'll get a safer, faster and more decisive cycling outcome. There are entire threads on the fishless cycling process but, if you need help with it, you only need to ask.

Gary

EDIT: Did not know the forum did not like the word ****. See there it goes again.

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Hi Jeff,

Gary I'm sure Rapid Rooter sounds as funny to you as "meat birds" sounds to us.

Yeah.....in Australia, if someone is rooting for the home team, they are doing immeasurable damage to their reputation......but they're likely to be very popular with the home team.:wink:

Since I watch some videos of a popular vegan fruit eating cyclist that lives in Adelaide I've started to accidentally use some AUisms. Examples. Instead of saying '... feeling like sh*t' I sometimes use 'Feeling sh*t'. I also catch myself randomly ending sentences with the word 'as'. I would never know if it was just him as my sample size is low.

Ending sentences with "as" identifies the person as young.....and (in all probability) poorly educated....and of generally lower socio-economic circumstance. Since coming to live in Queensland (from South Australia), I've adopted the Eastern Australian practice in ending sentences in "but" or "aye"......both of which brand one as poorly educated.......and poor. My excuse is that I'm trying to fit in with the locals.:wink:

Not sure how much anhydrous ammonia cost but 'large' (still small though) goldfish are $0.24 here. 50 for $12.

The ammonia would be cheaper than 50 goldfish.....but it's putting the fish (any fish) at risk that the key element of fishless cycling. It's not just an ethical question. Fishless cycling is more predictable, more decisive and faster.

Ben......

So I have been testing everyday for a week, with the same results, ph 7.6 to 7.8, ammonia .25 to .50, nitrate 0 nitride 0. I have had Goldfish 2 weeks now, a few have died 4 I think out of 50. I think the cold weather is stalling my cycle, water temp has not broke 60 F, not good for nitrifying bac. Although my bio filter is starting to get a strange smell. Is that good. Also, I added a dozen or more minnows left over from fishing the other day.

If the odour is ammonia (think wet diapers), then I question the accuracy of your test drops/strips. If the odour is bad (like rotten eggs), there's something dead in the bio-filter.

One thing I forgot to mention is that my old small 17 gal fish tank had water in it while I was building the new GH and setting up this system. Well when I opened it to set it up, 3 live goldfish that haven't been feed in 45 plus days or water pumping. Could it be possible that the bacteria in that FT and gravel boosted the cycling and I am done. I doubt it but?

It certainly won't have done any harm......particularly since the fish were still alive.

Lastly the plants are doing good. (I assume thats the point of this hobby, not just building stuff). Strawberries are going crazy. Rest of the plants taking off. Thanks for all the info on this site, learning a lot.

Keep at it, Ben. The vegetables and strawberries are what keep you in the game while you're getting the fish settled down.

Gary

Gary

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Hi Jeff,

Ending sentences with "as" identifies the person as young.....and (in all probability) poorly educated....and of generally lower socio-economic circumstance. Since coming to live in Queensland (from South Australia), I've adopted the Eastern Australian practice in ending sentences in "but" or "aye"......both of which brand one as poorly educated.......and poor. My excuse is that I'm trying to fit in with the locals.:wink:

Gary

Gary

We know this one guy that ends every sentence with 'happy days'. Maybe Paul is a fan of the show.

I'm just kidding Paul if you see this. I love your videos.

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Hello everybody, everything has started to speed up, temps have Warmed up and has jump started the cycling. Water temp was 75 today, ph was 7.6, ammonia between 3 and 4 ppm on the chart, nitride 3ppm, and nitrate still 0. The plants are starting to grow faster as well as there roots. Still waiting on the channel cat from a local pet shop, but I am not ready anyway, the gold fish and minnows are doing really good. Just figured I would update you on my progress, I am brain storming on a rain water collection system thinking 2 55 gallon rain barrels hooked to a toilet float and valve on top of my tote. Any thoughts on this.

Ben

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Hi Ben,

Hello everybody, everything has started to speed up, temps have Warmed up and has jump started the cycling. Water temp was 75 today, ph was 7.6, ammonia between 3 and 4 ppm on the chart, nitride 3ppm, and nitrate still 0. The plants are starting to grow faster as well as there roots. Still waiting on the channel cat from a local pet shop, but I am not ready anyway, the gold fish and minnows are doing really good.

You're certainly heading in the right direction. It would be good to see both ammonia and nitrites drop (particularly at your current pH levels) before the catfish arrives.

Just figured I would update you on my progress, I am brain storming on a rain water collection system thinking 2 55 gallon rain barrels hooked to a toilet float and valve on top of my tote. Any thoughts on this.

Rainwater storage is a worth companion to any aquaponics system. Having your system top up automatically is also a useful thing to do.

Gary

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Got home today and water looked really green it was late and almost dark and didn't test water or even fill a cup up and see if was actually really green or just a bad tint from the alge growing on the sides. I read on here that I should cover the tank to block sun, should I or should I just let nature do its thing?

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Ande,

Thank you so much, Good article. Makes me feel a little more at ease. I will be patient and let nature sort it all out.

Everyone,

Todays readings where crazy different PH-7.8, Ammonia-back down to 1ppm, Nitride was over 5ppm, Nitrate was 20ppm. I need more seedlings to get my Nitrate down I think, I just planted some more.

Have a good day.

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So, I checked the levels today, PH was 8.0, Ammonia was .25, Nitrate is way over 5ppm, my test kit(API Master Test Kit) only goes to 5ppm(it was a dark purple), Nitrate was 10-20ppm. The Nitride has me concerned. Should I add diluted salt, I read 1kg to 1000 L of water that seems like a lot of salt. Also, in this stage of the cycling should I try to get the PH closer to 6.8 to 7.0. Some things I have read say just leave everything alone and let nature do its thing, I get anxious and want it to to be done. I have read a lot of people who make changes to quickly and mess up the whole process, I don't want to do that. The fish are very active and eating much better and the plants I have are growing like crazy. The bio-filter media is getting browner everyday and I am excited that I am actually seeing my system come to life. I feel I am on the home stretch of this process, and just wondering how much time I have left or if I need to be doing anything to maximize the potential. Again thank you all, I think back 6 months ago when I was still watching YouTube vids, scouring the internet, and reading on this forum, then I walk out to the greenhouse and I am amazed at what it has become, and the potential it has in another 6 months, not to mention the impact it has made on my family and children being part of this. We have a whole new respect for gardening.

Ben

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Hi Ben,

So, I checked the levels today, PH was 8.0, Ammonia was .25, Nitrate is way over 5ppm, my test kit(API Master Test Kit) only goes to 5ppm(it was a dark purple), Nitrate was 10-20ppm. The Nitride has me concerned. Should I add diluted salt, I read 1kg to 1000 L of water that seems like a lot of salt.
That amount of salt will do plenty of good - and no harm. Get it in there fast if you hope to mitigate against the effects of nitrite toxicity.
Also, in this stage of the cycling should I try to get the PH closer to 6.8 to 7.0. Some things I have read say just leave everything alone and let nature do its thing, I get anxious and want it to to be done. I have read a lot of people who make changes to quickly and mess up the whole process, I don't want to do that.
Leave it alone. The pH will drop over time and your current pH is probably optimum for the development of nitrifying bacteria.
The fish are very active and eating much better and the plants I have are growing like crazy. The bio-filter media is getting browner everyday and I am excited that I am actually seeing my system come to life. I feel I am on the home stretch of this process, and just wondering how much time I have left or if I need to be doing anything to maximize the potential.
You've got it in hand - now leave it alone.
Again thank you all, I think back 6 months ago when I was still watching YouTube vids, scouring the internet, and reading on this forum, then I walk out to the greenhouse and I am amazed at what it has become, and the potential it has in another 6 months, not to mention the impact it has made on my family and children being part of this. We have a whole new respect for gardening.
That's what it's all about. There will come a time where you'll achieve unconscious competence around all of this and you, and your family, will be eating like kings.

Gary

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Hello,

So the Nitrite has started to drop, my ammonia is 0ppm, and my nitrate is slowing climbing, I added more plants last night, I have 40 plants growing right now. I will be adding more in a few days. Brining the total to 50. So as I get to the point where I add real fish. I have to ask about stocking density. I know there is not a magic number or an equation, and I am not asking for one. But I am sure the masters on this site have a method to find the magic number for their tanks. At what rate should I add fish, 10 at a time 20 at a time. I know that my small system with the amount of plants I have I can not reach the max of 125 2lb fish in 250 gallons, and don't even want to try. I was thinking of just stoping at a local fishing hole on my way home from work a few times a week and bringing back 5 of 6 little fish till it seems like i have enough. How will I know when I have reached my limit for full grown fish. I know I said I was going to buy catfish, but I called the fish store where I planned on getting them and they finally got them and want 6 dollars a piece for fingerlings. That seems very expensive to me. Well that is all for now.

Enjoy your garden,

Ben

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Ben I'm new to this site and just came across your post. Catfish fingerlings should be no more than .40 cents each. It seems everyone has a different ratio for fish but the standard seems to be (1) one pound fish per 10 gallons of water. This would be a very very safe number. Several people I talked to go two to four times the recommended amounts. Personally I think that number is to low and I stock at a rate of (1) per 2.5 gallons of water. Keep in mind these are only 4" long fish when I put them in. You can add the fish all at once and it shouldn't be a problem. My systems about a year old now and I have not had any problems. Just lack of nutrients. I have planted heavily and small fish CANNOT provide the necessary nutrients needed to support extensive planting and that's what AP is all about. I have gone to adding concentrated fish waste sold by a local AP business. I'm trying to increase the nutrient level until the fish are the appropriate size which will be some time. You must keep an eye on the water quality. The weather here is starting to warm and everything is growing. I'm having trouble keeping the Nitrate levels up in my system. Ammonia has hit a high of .25 ppm but it usually is O.

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Hello All,

Just picked up some fish, I got 30 Shell Cracker(redear sunfish) and 30 Channel Cat. Found a minnow farm that had them 15 min away from the house, .45 cents a piece. I am pretty excited. I also made a night crawler compositor this morning out of 2 15 gallon or 18 gallon rubber made totes, so the fish can have a special treat every once in awhile. The Cat are already chasing everything around its funny, and now I can see all the goldfish and minnows because the cats made them come to the surface I think they are scarred. Hahaha. I think the gold fish had babies already because there is some tiny ones and I bought all medium one. I will post some more pictures when I get a chance.

Enjoy your Garden,

Ben

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The Green Algae bloom has gotten way worse. I don't think I have been over feeding, they eat everything in 2 to 3 min. It is pea soup for sure. I can only see to a depth of maybe 6-8 inches. So I gave the fish a hearty feeding this morning (they finishing it all in about 10 min). I then wrapped the entire tank up in many layers of weed prevention cloth on all sides( I had it in the garage), I don't think there is any light coming in. I plan to leave it this way till saturday, will all of my fish be okay till then with no food or should i feed once a day every few days?

Enjoy Your Garden,

Ben

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COver your tank in stages, sudden killing of all the algae will deplete the oxygen in the water and kill all of your fish. Start with about 1/2, making sure you have good aeration, then move to 3/4, then full coverage. About 3 days per stage to start with and monitor closely for ammonia and nitrite spikes as this may start your system to have to cycle all over again.

The fish will easily go two weeks without feed.

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Ravnis,

Thanks for the info. Not a big deal since I used the weed barrier stuff, I just pulled off a few layers and will add layers to block it completely. I have been testing my water daily since start up, and I log in in a journal, and I will continue to do so, till I get everything right. I think my aeration is good, I have never had a fish gasping. But I will monitor because I guess the algae use lots of oxygen in the night/darkness.

As for the fish eating, thanks for the info. I am sure I would die if I didn't eat every day. Haha. Actually the bloom started after we left for 4 days and a friend fed our dogs and "fish". I think she may have over fed them. But now I know they would be better left unattended than have a friend do it.

Enjoy your garden,

Ben

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So kind up a funny update, I guess. So I had door screen on my intake for my siphon from the FT to my swirl filter, and it kept getting plugged with algae during this covering process so I removed it. I also had a 4 inch drain pipe cover that was the wrong size PVC so it fits loose in the intake of my siphon but it was tight with the screen installed. Well I decided i would remove the screen and just leave the drain pipe cap thing with slots. I assumed the siphon pressure would be enough to hold it in the pipe, I WAS WRONG it fell to the bottom of my green tank, this was sunday and I thought well the silly fish wont be dumb enough to swim up the siphon intake and down the 3 inch siphon pipe. I should never assume anything as my Dad always told me don't "ass-u-me" it will make an "ass" out of "u" and "me". Well I came home from work tuesday to both sump pumps sucking air and my FT with about 25 gallons of extra water. Needless to say I found 2 catfish stuck in the ball valve of my siphon and I lost them, down to 28 now. Well, at least I learned that I cant trust fish to not do something silly, and in hindsight they probably just were checking things out and the siphon pulled them in. I guess as long as I learned from it, I really only lost 90 cents, but I really can only think about the deep fried catfish fillets I lost. As for everything else it is all good. My friend planted seedlings at the same time as me in a dirt SFG and his are about 3 inches tall some of my plants are producing vegetables all ready. Thank you all for all of your help.

Enjoy your garden,

Ben

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