bcotton

Bcotton's EPIC backyard conversion , Aquaponic Cowboy!

90 posts in this topic

Lowering the PH seems to have helped in some areas.

 

The new growth on the cucumbers are very green. The tomatos never really "looked bad" but i think  they look better. The pepper plants however have not improved and are even getting worse with wilting leaves and brown spots. I do see ants on the raft so maybe its aphids, i will try to investigate better but i didnt have a lot of time this morning.

If anyone knows what the issue is from the pictures, i am open to ideas.

 

 

cukes.jpg

peppe.jpg

toms.jpg

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Cool....we need some good wine to go with the fish and salad...and vinegar.

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Brian...try to get your pH down to sub-7.0....ideally at around 6.5...and you'll see some of the nutrient issues around your plants ease. 

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Posted (edited)

i am still dosing a cup or so every day... PH bounces around a lot  because of the alkalinity of the shale i added. It was down to 6.6 last night but based on how its been so far, i expect it to be back up to 7 by the time i get home today. 

been trying to keep it around 7. I am just concerned going from 7.9 down to 6.5 will cause the bacteria to cycle again ,.. ( i am not sure they wont do so anyway) and i am feeding heavily right now. but yah. i hear yah. I have just always been hands off on adjusting ph cause i didnt want to mess with i t.. but as long as i am messing with it, i might as well do it right.

 

 

Edited by bcotton (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

this is roughly two weeks growth on the greens grow beds (kale, chard, bok choi, pak, choi, lettuce, cabbage, etc.) There's been uneven growth and a lot of caterpillar damage to some plants.. specifically the kales. I have treated with liquid BT and most plants seem to be recovering.  I am not sure on the uneven growth. The ones on the sides are growing much slower than the ones in the middle. I am thinking it may have something to do with air stone placement. 

Also, inspired by rob bob. I am experimenting with root pouches in 4x4 foot grow beds. in the future i will call them "modular wicking beds" cause that's how i view them. I plan to grow some small trees, potatoes, sweet potatos, herbs , etc in the root pouches. Things that can be a pain to manage or harvest in a large soil grow bed or in the ground.  

 

Because of the liners, i have a lot of options.  If i end up not liking the root pouches  i can always fill them in like real wicking beds. Also, i plan to try  "kratky method" hydroponics in them. I am putting these in a lot of the open places that dont have aquaponics or other projects.. In total i expect there will be 12 throughout the yard.

 

 

 

2017-06-01.jpg

modular-wicking beds.jpg

Edited by bcotton (see edit history)
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On 6/3/2017 at 2:34 AM, bcotton said:

i am still dosing a cup or so every day... PH bounces around a lot  because of the alkalinity of the shale i added. It was down to 6.6 last night but based on how its been so far, i expect it to be back up to 7 by the time i get home today. 

been trying to keep it around 7. I am just concerned going from 7.9 down to 6.5 will cause the bacteria to cycle again ,.. ( i am not sure they wont do so anyway) and i am feeding heavily right now. but yah. i hear yah. I have just always been hands off on adjusting ph cause i didnt want to mess with i t.. but as long as i am messing with it, i might as well do it right.

Dr Nick Savidov demonstrated that nitrifying bacteria survive below pH 6.0...so I wouldn't be too concerned about 6.5.  This is another thing that you'll enjoy about iAVs if you decide to try it.  The pH in an iAVs system regulates itself...so long as you have plants in the system.  It seems that the soil microbiology that exists in iAVs knows a thing or two about such things.

The key to pH adjustment is to make gradual changes.

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correct me if i am wrong but my understanding of the nitrifying bacteria at PH 6 isnt the same bacteria working at 7.9. He said that there's bacteria at 6.0 that would perform the nitrifying function. Or at least that is how i understand it. Anyway. that;s what i meant by the possibility of having to cycle again if i move ph too drastically. It may or may not really be an issue, i dont know.

Wouldnt  any aquapoinics system, (not just iavs) regulate PH to some extent? The nitrification would lower ph and the plants uptake of nutrients would raise ph? The issue i have right now is just the substrate i am using in the ferrocement bed but i could decouple that from the big system if i wanted to It would just require an addtional (small) pump.

My system is designed in a way that could could decouple the fish/filtration from the DWC beds and do dual loop but I dont plan to do so..  i just figured to design it that way in for optionality in case i change my mind later

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 6/4/2017 at 1:06 PM, bcotton said:

correct me if i am wrong but my understanding of the nitrifying bacteria at PH 6 isnt the same bacteria working at 7.9. He said that there's bacteria at 6.0 that would perform the nitrifying function. Or at least that is how i understand it. Anyway. that;s what i meant by the possibility of having to cycle again if i move ph too drastically. It may or may not really be an issue, i dont know.

The nitrification situation was never quite as simple (in terms of the bacterial composition) as we've presented it in aquaponics.  There were always other organisms at play.  For example, Dr Tim Hovanec determined (years ago) that nitrospira were the dominant species responsible for the conversion of nitrite to nitrate in freshwater systems....but the popular (non-scientific) consensus is that nitrobacter played that role.  In any case, given that your system appears to be quite robust, I would be unconcerned about the possibility of toppling nitrification so long as the changes that you make are gradual and consistent.

On 6/4/2017 at 1:06 PM, bcotton said:

Wouldnt  any aquapoinics system, (not just iavs) regulate PH to some extent? The nitrification would lower ph and the plants uptake of nutrients would raise ph? The issue i have right now is just the substrate i am using in the ferrocement bed but i could decouple that from the big system if i wanted to It would just require an addtional (small) pump.

The role of plants certainly impacts the pH in any system but Mark McMurtry determined that, so long as he kept plants in the system, it became self-regulating around pH 6.4.   He discoved that, if he removed the plants, the pH fell through the floor.  In other systems, calcium (or other elements) is added to the system to offset the acidification that is occurring.  This is obviously impacted by the fish biomass load (and the subsequent feeding rates) but I believe that any conventional aquaponics system will tend toward acidification over time.  Of course, this will be offset by the use of media containing carbonates...or make up water with a higher pH.

On 6/4/2017 at 1:06 PM, bcotton said:

My system is designed in a way that could could decouple the fish/filtration from the DWC beds and do dual loop but I dont plan to do so..  i just figured to design it that way in for optionality in case i change my mind later.

In my view, this is just as all aquaponics systems should be.  The ability to isolate the fish from the plants is essential in the event of disease or infestation but it has other advantages, too...not the least of which is the ability to supplement nutrients from other sources.

European researchers first looked at dual loop (decoupled) systems back in 2009 (I think) with a view to more effective nutrient utilisation.  If I recall correctly, they concluded that decoupling was probably impractical for backyard systems.

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after working to get the PH down below 7, the peppers are getting better.. they look like hell because  they are dropping all of he yellow leaves but the new growth is dark green.. i estimate it will take a couple of weeks for them to start looking normal but everything else is growing great.


With the exception of the pak choi the greens are a little leggy, presumable from  the heat. I have ordered some more heat tolerant varieties of greens to start rotating into the rafts as i start to harvest what i have grown

pakchoi.jpg

rafts-jun8.jpg

sfg-jun8.jpg

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The pak choi seemed to have gotten ready overnight... This morning when i wen to feed the fish I saw one of them starting to make seed pods. I will cut them down asap and i may let the ones starting to go to seed go to seed. The other stuff is still behind and not bolting  so they may end up being true to type. 

These are the first cucumbers of the season. 3 of them from the aquaponics and one from the raised bed. (i know i am like 2 months behind, trying to catch up!)

The plan is to try some lacto fermentation with the pak choi and the cukes. 

2637314583699412727-account_id=1.jpg

2984051255170404265-account_id=1.jpg

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Hi Bcotton,

Ive always had the same issue with bok choi and pac choi.
It seams that even during summer that a couple of low light overcast days is enough to send them to seed.

Looking good mate !

Cheers
Joe

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I have never lacto fermented before... so this is all new experience... but as my dad used to say, "you wont learn any younger"...

 

pickles.jpg

sauerkraut.jpg

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A bit of drama over the weekend... i have been harvesting 1-2 pounds of greens a day, juicing, eating raw, making sauerkraut.. i was working around the rafts and i saw something black with a tail under the leaves slip into the water.... 

It really messed with my mind, i wasnt going to be able to harvest anymore greens until i figured out what it was... so i took out each raft one at a time until i caught him.

 

In this area there is a very poisonous water viper named water moccasin or in this area that are often call "cottonmouth".  As it turns out it was something harmless.. I let him go out on the easement after explaining to him he was not welcome.

 

Does anyone have any experience with these vibrating/inaudible snake  repelant solutions? like https://www.amazon.com/Vensmile-Repellent-Repeller-Control-Waterproof/dp/B01N5JRXEH/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1497894749&sr=8-2&keywords=snake+repellent+for+yard


Sorry some of the pictures are blurry i was working in water , plus it was 95 degrees outside hot sweaty and humid and i think i got the lens wet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

greens_bed-20170618.jpg

raft-remove.jpg

waersnake1.jpg

watersnake2.jpg

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Some pictures of the bluegill tank at feeding time.. theres about 300 bg and res in this tank give or take

20170621-bg-top.jpg

20170621-bg-top-food.jpg

20170621-bg-underwater1.jpg

20170621-bg-underwater2.jpg

20170621-bg-underwater-close.jpg

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On 19.6.2017 at 10:04 PM, bcotton said:

A bit of drama over the weekend... i have been harvesting 1-2 pounds of greens a day, juicing, eating raw, making sauerkraut.. i was working around the rafts and i saw something black with a tail under the leaves slip into the water.... 

It really messed with my mind, i wasnt going to be able to harvest anymore greens until i figured out what it was... so i took out each raft one at a time until i caught him.

 

In this area there is a very poisonous water viper named water moccasin or in this area that are often call "cottonmouth".  As it turns out it was something harmless.. I let him go out on the easement after explaining to him he was not welcome.

 

Does anyone have any experience with these vibrating/inaudible snake  repelant solutions? like https://www.amazon.com/Vensmile-Repellent-Repeller-Control-Waterproof/dp/B01N5JRXEH/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1497894749&sr=8-2&keywords=snake+repellent+for+yard


 

greens_bed-20170618.jpg

raft-remove.jpg

waersnake1.jpg

watersnake2.jpg

They sure don't look wery eficient :lolu:

 

cheers

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