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FloridaChris

New Tampa AP Gardener!

17 posts in this topic

Hey guys,

Joined this thread today and I am involved with a few others. This seems to be the most active so wanted to jump on board.

I started my garden this past weekend and looking forward to what I can grow. Haven't yet taken a water test yet as I don't want to be to concerned with any levels that are off, as it is an extremely young system. Added some API Quik Start (tank starter), but from what I am told the stuff is garbage.

The plants in the left are Cal. Wonder Orange Bell Pepper and Celebrity Tomato plant. I know both of these platns will get huge and will most likely need to be seperated due to space requirements, but I will deal with that when the time comes. Also planted in grow wool as seeds are Basil and Chives. I haven't seen anything sprouting up yet. I am assuming the seeds are to water logged or bad germination %.

The plants on the right are Banana Pepper, Culantro (a strong type of cilantro), Jalapenos, Rosemary, and Oregano. Again, had an herb plant in rockwool, but no signs of life yet.

Is rockwoll bad to use in this type of growing environment as it keeps the seeds to waterlogged?

Anyways, I am excited to join another forum and look forward to my adventure in AP gardening!

Start of the build:

image_zps30d8ed5a.jpg

Build finish in 5 hours, including two trips to HD:

image_zps89312e4d.jpg

Plants:

image_zpsab7f8146.jpg

Cheers,

Chris

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kellenw,

Have a bell and banana pepper plant showing some beat up leaves. Could you provide any advice?

image_zps61a5791d.jpg

This is the water test that I took a few days ago.

image_zpsf971478a.jpg

The system is only 12 days, which I know is the major factor, but are there any recommendations you might have?

Also, how many small goldfish should I have in my system? I am looking to get Tilapia at some point, but for now small goldfish work for me. Per the rule I have read a few places, one 1" fish per 1 gallon of water. I couldn't imagine this system really needing 40 fish.

Edited by FloridaChris (see edit history)

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Is it possible you might have accidentally switched the ammonia and nitrate vials? The colors look "switched". Perhaps you could do them again just to make sure?

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I will do them again. I only hvae 5 remaining goldfish in my system, so I do not expect to much of anything to be in my system... Which I believe which is why some of my plants are not really growing at all. Hoping to add tilapia this weekend. How many fish should I be adding. I figure my FT is roughly 40 gallons. I figured 3 or 4 tilapia. Any recommendations on Tilapia food? Purina fish food? If so, what kind? I was going to start a worm bin and feed them produce leftovers.

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Hi Chris,

Curious to see the results of your next round of water tests. As far as food goes, we use Premium Fish Food Co Tilapia diets (Premium Fish Food Co. - Wholesale bulk fish food). I had a hand in developing the tilapia food line, and now have an equity position in the company, so I'm certainly biased. hehe....

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Kellen,

Thanks for the advice. Went ahead and ordered a Growout #2 Kit from the site. How long should this last me for 10 fish? Ordered 30 fingerlings, but found out that is to many for my tank size!

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So.... I am not an expert by any means, but something doesn't seem balanced in my system! Help!!!

image_zpsf600be44.jpg

According to the API guide, my pH should be around 7.0, but it is sitting at 6.4(ish). I have crushed egg shells in my grow medium, which I believe has been helping my pepper plants out. Should I be concerened about this pH level?

Ammonia has climbed since my last test and is between .25ppm and .50 ppm.

Nitrities around .25 ppm

Now, Nitrates are cranking! Between 40 and 80ppm, I would guess around 50ppm. API recommends 40 ppm or less, what can I do to bring this down?

I am worried about these numbers as I have 10 tilapia fingerlings showing up on Friday and I don't want to loose them all right off the bat!

Do I not have enough plants in the system to suck up the nitrates and nitrites?

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Actually Chris, those are promising readings. You're well on your way to being fully cycled now. Maybe a few days away. You asked how to bring the nitrate level down, and the simple answer is to add more plants.

The Tilapia growout combo kit from Premium should last you about 4 months or so with 10 fish.

Looks like you're progressing nicely. :)

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Kellen,

Thank you for you encouraging words. Everyone else had me worried for a second. I think my ammonia and nitrite levels are high due to over feeding. I am cutting the feeding for the next two days, before the addition of the 10 tilapia fingerlings on Firday. Plus, some of the rain we are expected to receive should dilute some of the water.

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All sounds reasonable to me. It would be nice to see your pH a tick higher, but if it seems to settle in at the level it is now, I'd just let it be. Fighting pH can end up being a real pain.

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Hi FC

I would postspon the recival of the Tilapia (like Frydaze said in your system thread).

Your set up is 14 days old, you allredy had half your goldfish die, amonia probbably from dead fish citchen sckrapings and overload of still living fish + fisfood.

Your fish tank aprox 40gallon = 151liter is to litle to handle 15 fish without xtra filtration, and not being cycled. IMO

Add more plants and wait out the cyceling process

cheers

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Ande - Thanks for the concern. The first half of the fish (10) died off because of the grow media was added after the fish were put in. It dirtied up the water really bad, so I believe the poor water quality is what did them in. The other 10, 6 remain so 4 magically dissapeared as I never found dead bodies floating in the tank. I believe they jumped out when the water levels were high, due to rain fall.

I am going take a reading today to see where I am at and again tomorrow to determine whether I will add the fish. We have rain all day today and tomorrow, so I am hoping this will dilute the system and help balance things out a little.

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Hi FC

I would postspon the recival of the Tilapia (like Frydaze said in your system thread).

Your set up is 14 days old, you allredy had half your goldfish die, amonia probbably from dead fish citchen sckrapings and overload of still living fish + fisfood.

Your fish tank aprox 40gallon = 151liter is to litle to handle 15 fish without xtra filtration, and not being cycled. IMO

Add more plants and wait out the cyceling process

cheers

Judging from the test kit readings, ammonia (which looks like .5 ppm to me) is not currently an issue of concern. Due to the low pH (looks like 6.4 to me), it is almost entirely of the ammonium form and non-toxic at that level. In fact, at that pH level and assuming temperature is no higher than 85F (his is probably more in the mid 70's), there would need to be over 8 ppm of TAN (total ammonia nitrogen) present before things became a serious concern. The nitrite level is a bit high, but completely within safe levels for tilapia. Nitrate levels are possibly a bit high, but easily solved through the addition of more plants. Regardless, the nitrate is of little concern to fish health until it gets much, much higher. The system is not entirely cycled, but it's very close. You should be fine to add the 10 fingerling tilapia. The load created by their addition will be fairly minimal initially. Just be careful not to overfeed, and obviously keep an eye on water quality.

Longer term, supplemental mechanical filtration and biological filtration would be a very good idea (I'd actually say a "must") with the desired stocking density you've mentioned. The 55 gal barrel, which is probably more like 45 gal of water during operation, is technically plenty of room for 10 harvestable adult tilapia. Fish tank volume has very little, essentially nothing, to do with the carrying capacity of a system as long as the fish have enough room to carry on normal functions (swimming, eating, etc.). The biofilter is the limiting aspect for a system. Currently, as built, you're relying on your grow beds to perform that entire function, but also relying on them to be your sole mechanical filter as well. I really prefer to see systems operate with some sort of mechanical filtration pre-growbed as it greatly improves stability. You will need more bio capabilities down the road as the fish grow. This will be in the form of additional growbeds, a supplemental biofilter or both.

Edited by kellenw (see edit history)

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Kellen,

Definitely will be expanding with more grow beds, most likely end of the summer when I start planting the winter crops. Funds are tied up for a few fishing vacations, Keys for one week and Bahamas for two! I am thinking some earthworms and scud (tiny freshwater shrimp) will act as living biofilters. I am picking up approx. 1,000 earthworms on Friday to start a worm bin with. Figured I will use a hand full in the GB's and occasionally treat the tilapia to them as well.

Thanks again for the reassuring support on the water quality. When I pick up the tilapia on Friday, should I ask for a sqeeze of their filter in the water I get with the tilapia? Or just let my system keep building on its own?

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No problem. Happy to help. Worms can be very helpful, but they aren't a total solution. Should something cause them to experience a massive kill in your beds, they can potentially result in a fish kill as well (due to O2 depletion and ammonia spike). Scuds are useful too, but they also will not make solids magically disappear. Even a simple $5 sock filter will far outperform worms and scuds in the mechanical filtration department, by orders of magnitude.

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Hi Chris,

A belated welcome to APHQ.

You seem to know your way around the attaching photos side of things (we luv photos) but you might find other useful information in this thread.

Nice little barrel system.

Gary

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