Strider

Dual loop system build.

299 posts in this topic

Hi,

 

Back at about post #40, Jim started to talk about a sand bed which, as he's indicated, he's not progressed……..my mistake.  That means it comes down to the hydro fertiliser……coupled with the capacity to concentrate nutrients on the plant side.

 

Gary

Well no doubt my fertilizer helped. I added  one dose early on. I am sure the whole Mineralization Tank/hydroponic part of the dual loop all contributed and let's not forget my damn good looks. 

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Well no doubt my fertilizer helped. I added  one dose early on. I am sure the whole Mineralization Tank/hydroponic part of the dual loop all contributed and let's not forget my damn good looks. 

 

I hadn't factored your looks into the equation but, since you mention it, that's probably the answer.

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How about the mineralization tank. I think thats one of the main reasons for those high nutrients.

You said somewhere that you added potassium, iron and magnesium? No calcium being added? It looks like some of the plants may have some calcium deficiencies?

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How about the mineralization tank. I think thats one of the main reasons for those high nutrients.

You said somewhere that you added potassium, iron and magnesium? No calcium being added? It looks like some of the plants may have some calcium deficiencies?

I have calcium but I can't for the life if me remember adding it. I am replanting and plan on letting everything grow without any hydroponic nutrients. I will still add individual things like iron and potassium but no pre-made hyrdroponic stuff.

I want to see if thete is a difference in the growth.

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I think that the mineralisation tank has to have a bearing on the ultimate nutrient mix because solids can take weeks to mineralise completely.  Removing the solids from the system (without reintroducing them) or failing to mineralise them completely has to impact the nutrient composition.

 

While I don't know this for certain, I think the solids yield much of the embodied nitrogen fairly quickly but more thorough decomposition is needed for other compounds.

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So I am taking the first step to what will eventually be a sand bed. I first want to test the coral sand to see if it is a viable medium. So I filled one of my dutch buckets with sifted coral sand. Then I planted two tomato plants, one in the sand and the other in the lava rock filled bucket. I am now measuring the growth rates of the two plants. So far, after about two and a half weeks, they are neck and neck. So it looks like this type sand will work. My only real concern with this coral sand mix is how it affects the Ph. But the good news is that the coral sand bags I buy at the big box stores is about 75% the size I need, maybe higher. That is all. :)

Edited by Strider (see edit history)

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Strider,

Have you noticed any solids acumulation in the media beds?

I run a single loop with two 50 gal barrels full of cloth and netting to filter out the solids. I still

manage to get buildup at the outlet area to the grow bed.

Your MT is always ONLINE on your plant side right? With all that build up in the MT tank, no solids make it past the MT filters?

I have a 4' X 32' X 12" media grow bed and I really don't want to deal with clogging or cleaning it.

A video of your MT build up would be nice. Have you ever emptied it?

Thanks.

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Strider,

Have you noticed any solids acumulation in the media beds?

I run a single loop with two 50 gal barrels full of cloth and netting to filter out the solids. I still

manage to get buildup at the outlet area to the grow bed.

Your MT is always ONLINE on your plant side right? With all that build up in the MT tank, no solids make it past the MT filters?

I have a 4' X 32' X 12" media grow bed and I really don't want to deal with clogging or cleaning it.

A video of your MT build up would be nice. Have you ever emptied it?

Thanks.

Hi Manny, yes MT is always circulating water and the water coming out of the MT is filtered to keep the solids in the tank and out of the plant system. No buildup to speak of and yes the MT is on the plant side. It gets solids from the RFF twice a day. I have youtube videos of my system just search dual loop aquaponics. I never empty my MT. I am thinking about putting a trickle filter over my MT to add O2 and help with additional Mineralization. Edited by Strider (see edit history)

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Strider,

Thanks for your time.

Yup, I have followed your videos since you started dual loop.

So since the MT tank is always online on the plant side, how are nitrate levels controlled? From readings online, plants like certain nutrients at different levels at different stages of growth to optimize production.

How much feed by weight are the fish getting daily? What are your nitrates running?

I have a single loop system and I'm in the planning stages of converting over to dual loop. I'll be creating a new thread for the conversion soon.

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Strider,

Thanks for your time.

Yup, I have followed your videos since you started dual loop.

So since the MT tank is always online on the plant side, how are nitrate levels controlled? From readings online, plants like certain nutrients at different levels at different stages of growth to optimize production.

How much feed by weight are the fish getting daily? What are your nitrates running?

I have a single loop system and I'm in the planning stages of converting over to dual loop. I'll be creating a new thread for the conversion soon.

Yes, my MT is always flowing because I have a venturi tube that requires constant water injection. The water coming out if it is filtered with a buffer pad. I have not added any nutrients this go round. But I do add iron and hydroponic nutrients as a rule. I am feeding 1.2% of feed to the fish. This is a best guess as I have had to approximate fish weight since I have both adults and youngsters. My nitrates are higher than I would like... I control the fish side by adding freash water daily. On the color chart the nitrates are running dark red....above 160...

I am going to add a trickle filter above my MT on the plant side and a large sand bed where my dutch pots are currently located.

Edited by Strider (see edit history)

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Strider,

 

So your not controlling the nitrates on the PLANT side.  

 

 

 

The water coming out if it is filtered with a buffer pad.

 

When you have some time, can you make a video of your MT tank.  Do the buffer pads get clogged?  Do the buffer pads need cleaning?  Is the screen still under the buffer pads?

 

 

... But I do add iron and hydroponic nutrients as a rule...

 

Oh, I'm confused, I thought you were NOT adding hydroponic nutrients.  

 

 

 

On the color chart the nitrates are running dark red....above 160...

 

I have tilapia in my system as well.  I'm overstocked i believe for now but I think the plants are finally catching up to the fish load.  I'm feeding only 160 grams per day.  When i switched over to the huge MGB ( 4' X 32' X 12"), I lost most of my plants.  The Nitrates skyrocketed.  I was feeding the fish 160 grams every 2nd or third day and nitrates were well over 300 on the api test kit.  To find out what the nitrate is if its of the scale, simply dilute the sample 1:1 with tap water (assuming your tap water is nitrate free or very little) then double the results.  Still too high? dilute a new sample further...etc.... until you can get an actual reading.  Or I think HANNA sells a colormeter for nitrates.  I'll probably pick up a nitrate test from hanna for that reason.  Nice to see a digital readout.  

 

 

 

I am going to add a trickle filter above my MT on the plant side and a large sand bed where my dutch pots are currently located.

Why are you adding the trickle filter?  more aeration?  or for another process.

 

 

Strider, I truly appreciate your time in answering my questions and sharing your experience via the forums and YouTube.  I read tons of stuff but my mind comprehends by seeing things work not by reading from very high IQ research papers and and people.  Seeing your setup at work is a great pleasure for me.  On my dual loop conversion, I hope to tweak it in such a way that I can control nitrates on the plant side.  Not sure if having a 24/7 online MT is the way to control nitrates.  Still exploring and keep the updates coming.

Edited by LMannyR (see edit history)

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I plant in cycles to experiment. The last cycle of tomato plants was a time when I used hydroponic fertilizer. This cycle I am just adding iron, mag., and potasium in very small amounts. When I get my sand bed done I will only add iron....

The trickle filter over the mineralization tank is to add aeration and I hope to get my Ph down. I have a big Ph issue on the plant side and I can't just keep dumping muriatic acid into the plant side everday.

There are some plants that are not in need of hydroponic fertilizers. Others like tomato plants seem to need additives.

I don't need to clean the buffer pad in the MT. I don't have the 100 micron screen in it anymore as I really don't need it. I may add an air stone to increase O2.

Keep in mind I am experimenting and half the time I do not know why I do what I do except it seemed like a good idea at the time. :).

Edited by Strider (see edit history)
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Strider,

 

 

 

I plant in cycles to experiment. The last cycle of tomato plants was a time when I used hydroponic fertilizer. This cycle I am just adding iron, mag., and potasium in very small amounts. When I get my sand bed done I will only add iron....

 

ok...great...  

 

 

 

The trickle filter over the mineralization tank is to add aeration and I hope to get my Ph down. I have a big Ph issue on the plant side and I can't just keep dumping muriatic acid into the plant side everday. 

 

Adding aeration will increase PH.  I add muriatic acid to my pool and with salt water generator (aeration) the ph is back up to where it was in a day or two.  I'm wondering if your turning the solids enough in the MT.  If not, it may be going anaerobic and denitrifying causing the ph to go up.  Nitrification on the fish side will cause the ph to go down.  Solids in an MT tank not properly aerated will go anaerobic.  What is the relationship of the MT venturi to the solids.  In other words, if the solids are settling to the bottom of the MT and the venturi is not at the very bottom, your solids may not be turning.  The aeration should be on the floor of the MT tank to turn ALL the solids.  If not, you'll develop anaerobic areas causing denitrification causing higher ph and also lower nitrates.  (if lower nitrates and high ph is what you want, this is one way to do it).  

 

To the EXPERTS out there, is anaerobic minerilization also bad for a plant loop or only the fish loop?  OR BOTH??

 

 

 

There are some plants that are not in need of hydroponic fertilizers. Others like tomato plants seem to need additives. 

 

 

Chatterson Farms seem to do GREAT with tomatoes EVERYTHING really without hydroponic fertilizers (as far as I know).  Also, Cookie on BYAP had some great tomato crops in a single loop.  I hope your figure it out and share your adventure and findings.

 

 

 

I don't need to clean the buffer pad in the MT. I don't have the 100 micron screen in it anymore as I really don't need it.

 

Thats good to know.  Considering all the solids your dumping into the MT, I would assume some periodic buffer cleaning may be required to prevent clogging.  Unless the solids are not totally fluidized or unless the aggressive aeration self cleans the buffer pad.  I don't know know.  

 

 

 

 

I may add an air stone to increase O2.

 

Id suggest you invest in a dissolved oxygen meter (DO).  Milwaukee (sp?) has a very affordable portable DO meter for about 150 bucks (160 on amazon).  That meter has saved my fish many times.  Knowing the DO of an MT tank is important.  It goes back to my denitrification point above.  Not enough DO and you also run into problems in an aerobic MT going anaerobic.  

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind I am experimenting and half the time I do not know why I do what I do except it seemed like a good idea at the time.  :)

 

I'm with you there Strider.  My best gardening has been with AP and I'm loving it.  Now I want to tweak it.  I wish i had tomatoes like you though, lol.  I hope to soon convert over to a dual loop.  Your setup seems to be doing great.  Id like a bit more control of the nitrates and other nutrients if possible via an MT or whatever other means as long as its ORGANIC you know.  Trial an error I guess.  Trial and error can get frustrating and expensive though.  

 

BTW, picked my FIRST CUCUMBER off my media GB.  NEVER grew cucumber before.  Freaking AWSOME.  More to pick in the next few days. 

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Strider,

 

 

ok...great...  

 

 

Adding aeration will increase PH.  I add muriatic acid to my pool and with salt water generator (aeration) the ph is back up to where it was in a day or two.  I'm wondering if your turning the solids enough in the MT.  If not, it may be going anaerobic and denitrifying causing the ph to go up.  Nitrification on the fish side will cause the ph to go down.  Solids in an MT tank not properly aerated will go anaerobic.  What is the relationship of the MT venturi to the solids.  In other words, if the solids are settling to the bottom of the MT and the venturi is not at the very bottom, your solids may not be turning.  The aeration should be on the floor of the MT tank to turn ALL the solids.  If not, you'll develop anaerobic areas causing denitrification causing higher ph and also lower nitrates.  (if lower nitrates and high ph is what you want, this is one way to do it).  

 

To the EXPERTS out there, is anaerobic minerilization also bad for a plant loop or only the fish loop?  OR BOTH??

 

 

 

Chatterson Farms seem to do GREAT with tomatoes EVERYTHING really without hydroponic fertilizers (as far as I know).  Also, Cookie on BYAP had some great tomato crops in a single loop.  I hope your figure it out and share your adventure and findings.

 

 

Thats good to know.  Considering all the solids your dumping into the MT, I would assume some periodic buffer cleaning may be required to prevent clogging.  Unless the solids are not totally fluidized or unless the aggressive aeration self cleans the buffer pad.  I don't know know.  

 

 

 

Id suggest you invest in a dissolved oxygen meter (DO).  Milwaukee (sp?) has a very affordable portable DO meter for about 150 bucks (160 on amazon).  That meter has saved my fish many times.  Knowing the DO of an MT tank is important.  It goes back to my denitrification point above.  Not enough DO and you also run into problems in an aerobic MT going anaerobic.  

 

 

 

I'm with you there Strider.  My best gardening has been with AP and I'm loving it.  Now I want to tweak it.  I wish i had tomatoes like you though, lol.  I hope to soon convert over to a dual loop.  Your setup seems to be doing great.  Id like a bit more control of the nitrates and other nutrients if possible via an MT or whatever other means as long as its ORGANIC you know.  Trial an error I guess.  Trial and error can get frustrating and expensive though.  

 

BTW, picked my FIRST CUCUMBER off my media GB.  NEVER grew cucumber before.  Freaking AWSOME.  More to pick in the next few days.

y

I believe the mineralization tank will cause the Ph to drop. It seems to be doing that on the fish side with my MBBR. The bacteria that take up shop in the MT should do the same thing as the MBBR. I may have to send more water to the plant side from the fish side to increase the ammonia and other solids so the Trickle Filter bacteria has more to work on....

But I am certainly up for suggestions on how to keep the Ph down on plant side..... :)

Cucumbers do well if I can keep the fruit flys off them.

Not too worried about DO.....I have all kinds of water falls, veturies, and air stons to keep things oxygenated.

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I believe the mineralization tank will cause the Ph to drop.

 

Hopefully Swede will jump in here and comment on this.  He has done lots of mineralization experiments and may have a clue.  

 

 

 

It seems to be doing that on the fish side with my MBBR.

 

 

Yes, the ph drop on the fish side is from nitrification.  (ammonia->nitrite->nitrates)  by the time you pull the solids to the plant side, nitrification is complete.  There should not be any ammonia in the fish side.  I don't know enough about mineralization to know how it affects pH. SWEDE???  

 

 

 

The bacteria that take up shop in the MT should do the same thing as the MBBR.

 

The bacteria in the MBBR is different from what breaks down the solids (mineralization).

 

 

 

I may have to send more water to the plant side from the fish side to increase the ammonia...

 

When you check ammonia levels with the API test kit it should be ZERO.  If not, your MBBR is not working optimally for your feed/fish load.  Sending more water from fish side doesn't increase ammonia.

 

 

Cucumbers do well if I can keep the fruit flys off them. 

 

 

No fruit flies here so far.  They do have aphids though.  The lady bugs seem to be keeping the aphids under control.  Minor leaf damage from aphids.  

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Hopefully Swede will jump in here and comment on this.  He has done lots of mineralization experiments and may have a clue.  

 

 

 

Yes, the ph drop on the fish side is from nitrification.  (ammonia->nitrite->nitrates)  by the time you pull the solids to the plant side, nitrification is complete.  There should not be any ammonia in the fish side.  I don't know enough about mineralization to know how it affects pH. SWEDE???  

 

 

The bacteria in the MBBR is different from what breaks down the solids (mineralization).

 

 

When you check ammonia levels with the API test kit it should be ZERO.  If not, your MBBR is not working optimally for your feed/fish load.  Sending more water from fish side doesn't increase ammonia.

 

 

 

No fruit flies here so far.  They do have aphids though.  The lady bugs seem to be keeping the aphids under control.  Minor leaf damage from aphids.

Ammonia is at about .25 in fish side. Since the MBBR is after the RFF there should be Ammonia draining into the plant side from the RFF. The bacteria may be different at different stages but they all exist in the MBBR and RFF, and should be in the lava rock I plan on using for my TF. IOWs if the ammonia and solids are present there should be a nitrite / nitrate making reaction which I hope drops the Ph.

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Lmannyr you are right. In a MT there is an abundance of heterotrophic bacteria where as in a MBBR (biofilter and no solids) there are auto trophic bacteria. A mt that goes completely anaerobic will drop pH But it will increase as soon as you add air. Air helps strip the co2 which is making the water acidic during anaerobic conditions. Now if you have anaeobic zones in an aerated MT the pH will go up as the co2 is offgassed This is why people notice pH increasing in their MT. (i think) :)

Edited by SwedeAquaponics (see edit history)
ande, LMannyR and crsublette like this

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Lmannyr you are right. In a MT there is an abundance of heterotrophic bacteria where as in a MBBR (biofilter and no solids) there are auto trophic bacteria. A mt that goes completely anaerobic will drop pH But it will increase as soon as you add air. Air helps strip the co2 which is making the water acidic during anaerobic conditions. Now if you have anaeobic zones in an aerated MT the pH will go up as the co2 is offgassed This is why people notice pH increasing in their MT. (i think) :)

  

So in an aerobic MT we should expect a rise in ph - the fish loop will also rise due to plant action..... which means the only way to keep the fish loop ph down (other than by adding stuff)  is passing some fish water direct to the plant loop before it has a chance to go through the MBBR and allowing nitrification to reduce ph in the plant loop.

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I was under the impression ph should fall in a healthy aerobic MT.  So mine has been worknig fine all along with a rising ph?

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So in an aerobic MT we should expect a rise in ph - the fish loop will also rise due to plant action..... which means the only way to keep the fish loop ph down (other than by adding stuff) is passing some fish water direct to the plant loop before it has a chance to go through the MBBR and allowing nitrification to reduce ph in the plant loop.

Not sure I follow. But, my plant side needs constant Ph adjustment to keep it low and my fish side needs constant adjustment to keep it high. IOWs the fish side wants to go below 7.0 and the plant side above 7.0. The MT is on the plant side and so has no impact on the fish side.

Edited by Strider (see edit history)

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