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Frydaze1 last won the day on May 13 2018

Frydaze1 had the most liked content!

About Frydaze1

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  • Birthday 12/19/1970

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    I'm a poker playing, computer programming, crochet and quilting, book-loving, lazy bum... who does aquaponics in her spare time.

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    Southern California

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  1. I did have a commercial farmer suggest to me that excessive nitrates might be absorbed by the plants in an AP system (if it were far enough out of balance) which would make the leafy greens unsafe for small children. I admit, I didn't do any follow up research.
  2. I think you've received bad information here. Many people start with seedlings that have been in dirt. Either ones they've started from seed themselves, or ones from a nursery. One of the dangers in getting them from nurseries is that you don't know what chemicals might be in their soil. But the transition isn't a problem. I've done it both ways myself. In fact, I seldom start with seeds directly in my AP system. I usually start my seeds in a coir mixture, and give the roots of the resultant seedlings a good swish in water before transplanting into my hydroton. But I've also used plants from the nursery. Especially when I was first starting and wanted something growing RIGHT NOW. For that, if I recall correctly, I used tomatoes, basil, and cilantro.
  3. My husband and I aren't together yet. I'm still only going home on weekends. But he'll move out here in a couple of months. Then we'll work on getting the new house in livable condition. It needs some love. But it's just another project, like AP is a project. I enjoy creating the life I want to live. I didn't realize that vinegar deterred raccoons! That's great to know. Thank you! I'll share that information with my husband so we can incorporate it into the system when we set it back up. Yay!
  4. I didn't answer that question because I don't have any real information. Depending on what type of tomatoes those are, your plant could get huge. And you'll almost definitely want a cage around it. Are you pruning it regularly? Personally, I pinch off anything that grows out of the center of a "Y". But that's just handed down knowledge from my exhusband. I don't actually know if that's the right way. But as you can see from my pictures, my tomato plants were about 10 feet tall when they finally hit the top of my greenhouse, and bushing out to the sides like 20 year old shrubbery. So I'm always pretty aware of how much space a tomato plant can take up. Peppers, on the other hand, usually stay pretty low. If your tomatoes are caged, and you keep the bottom pruned back, the peppers should be okay under them. Peppers can burn in direct sun anyway. On the other hand, I don't think they like complete shade. You may need to adjust. But if so, you can always move the peppers later if you have to. Thanks! It's been a busy six months and the garden is on hiatus (read: total neglect). Since September I've planned, organized, and had a wedding and honeymoon, quit my job, started a new job, moved into a rented room closer to the new job, worked evenings helping out with the old job, taken the train back home each weekend to spend time with the new husband, found a little house close to the new job (with a yard just barely big enough for the AP system - one of my house hunting priorities), negotiated and bought the house, and now I'm finalizing plans to move into it. The husband will follow in about two months, with all our possessions including the AP system. Hopefully he'll leave behind the raccoon who thinks we planted the garden just for him. Meanwhile, we're not going to try to move 50 full grown tilapia 100 miles. We'll harvest them all and clean them for the freezer. And we're not planting anything new, since it will all be torn down for the move. What was in there was torn through pretty thoroughly by the raccoon. Plus he managed to bust one of the PVC pipes that ran through the raft-bed side of the system. Since our system has an auto top-off from the faucet, this means we did a complete (and unintentional) water change before we noticed. The water all poured out of the pipe and the faucet just kept pouring fresh water back in. We lost about 10 fish during that. Actually we might have lost more. I'm not living there, and the husband knew better than to stress me out with details I couldn't do anything about. And then the water pump on that side died. Possibly from running dry when the water rushed out of the system. So we've got one side completely shut down, one side flowing to keep the fish healthy until I find time (THAT is hard to come by) to catch and clean them all, and whatever plants can fend for themselves while the husband packs all our worldly goods. And I expect after we move we'll wait until the house is fixed up and unpacked before trying to set it back up. By which time it will be winter, so we'll probably wait until spring to put it back together. So, no, no pictures or updates. But I'll get back to it next year. I miss my garden a lot. Oh, and the garden really doesn't take much time until it's time to harvest. Feeding fish and testing water is no more difficult on a big system than a small one. But harvesting is a LOT of work!
  5. I used the filter refills for aquarium water filters, purchased from my local fish store. It's just a mesh pad, sold in various sizes to fit various filters. They're pretty cheap. Your local HD probably has an aquarium supplies section where you can find them.
  6. Disclaimer: I'm also not an expert. But here's my take. You've identified the problem: not enough plants to balance out the ammonia. And your bacteria is working as hard as it can to do the conversion, but the nitrates just have nowhere to go. And your new tilapia are going to exacerbate the problem. I recommend you do a 1/2 water change. Put the water onto any outside plants/grass you've got. They'll love it. You may have to do that regularly until your plants get big enough to take up the volume of food you're providing them. But of course your tilapia will also being growing at the same time, providing more and more ammonia for the cycle. It's also likely that you're overfeeding your fish. This is one of the most common errors of new fish people. Not only does the food cause the fish to produce more waste, but the uneaten food will rot and produce ammonia also. For now, if you're feeding your fish every day, cut down to every other day. And review some of the guidelines on how much food to give them. As far as the pH, I suggest you take some of the gravel you've got and do a pH test on it. Run some of your tap water into a container and let it sit for 2 days, not doing anything to it. Then test its pH. This is your baseline. Put some of your growbed gravel into the container and let it sit another couple of days. Test the pH again. If it's lower, it is likely the composition of the gravel that's causing it. Various types of gravel have various affects on pH. It's something you really need to test before using it in AP. The good news is tilapia are pretty hardy and can handle some pH swings. But an AP system will tend to lower its pH over time anyway, so you don't want to start off with materials that are pushing that along. You may need to switch to a different medium.
  7. Great job! A couple of thoughts/concerns: The fishtank looks a little inaccessible. Granted, you'll only be feeding the fish, not trying to retrieve them for a while. But you'll also need to do regular water tests. And as with anything, the more unpleasant you make the task, the more you'll resist doing it. 20 - 30 fingerlings is a LOT for a tank that size. Once they grow out, you can't comfortably have more than probably two in there. I've got about 50 in my 350 gallon tank, and it's crowded. Also, they will produce much too much ammonia for your small growing space to use up. Please reconsider purchasing that many. Until you get another filtering device set up, you can easily put some filter material on top of the gravel under the water flow. This will catch at least some of the solids for you. Just pull it out and hose it off every week.
  8. I've got two rain barrels (a couple of feet apart) that I use as sumps, and have them piped together so they act as one large tank. I'm not sure why you've got a U siphon between them. Perhaps I'm missing something about your setup? Mine have a straight pipe between them and equalize perfectly. Are you using the "U" to avoid putting a hole into the sidewalls of your sump tanks? Depending on what you've used as the tank, the holes might be easier. Though I admit, it took me a bit of work and a lot of silicone to make them watertight. But I used standard PVC fittings. Bulkhead fittings would make that easier.
  9. Hobbies are cool. But they also tend to be luxuries. Witness the hobby of bashing a small white ball around a lawn using something that looks like a walking cane. The concept is simple and cheap. Any kid can and will do something similar without a penny spent. But when adults do it, it's GOLF and it's a hobby associated with the upper classes because doing it regularly isn't cheap. Growing one's own food shouldn't be a luxury reserved for those with disposable income and/or disposable time. Aquaponics, which provides more food with less manual labor than traditional gardening, should (in an ideal world) be even less of a burden to the... practitioner? Hobbyist? Gardener? Whatever. It should (again, in a perfect world) help those with lower incomes to feed themselves with healthy foods, the way traditional gardening can. Many of us look at aquaponics as a way to become more self sufficient. If a path to self sufficiency is too expensive, one must ask if the wiser path would be to invest in a large freezer and pantry, and stock up at a store instead. Why don't I card my own wool and weave my own clothes? Or sew them on my sewing machine? I have the skills to do both. But it's more expensive than buying clothes at the store. Aquaponics is a "hobby" if you choose to make it one. I would prefer it to be a method of reducing food expenses while increasing the quality of that food. To that end, I try to make it as inexpensive as I can and would like it to pay for itself eventually even if the ROI took 5 to 10 years.
  10. If your system is squeaky clean, and you don't have fish or another source of ammonia, you're not actually "cycling". That won't happen until there is some ammonia to start the cycle. There are certainly methods you can use, other than fish, to do this. Most people use a seaweed extract. Your local aquaponics store will have some Maxi-crop or similar. Fair warning: The instructions on the bottle had me adding enough to my tiny system that the water turned blood red and looked like the biblical plague. I probably just misread them, but I asked for a second opinion and got the same result. So use more common sense than I did.
  11. No, I saw that. And I was surprised that anyone who has to put up with others' attitudes about the "right" body shape would speak the way you do about skinny women. I don't drink energy drinks. I don't drink caffeine. I don't get much exercise. And I was still a 00 through puberty and my 20's. I got a personal trainer and nutritionist to help me gain weight. 8 months and a lot of money and misery and protein shakes and carbs later, I weighed 10 pounds more than when I started. And it all went away the month after I quit. I understand very well that your body is going to be the way it's going to be. (I question why you do the energy drinks, but that's a completely separate subject.) Yes, I agree that people shouldn't be torturing their bodies to change them to a different shape. But that's true in both directions. Saying that skinny is bad isn't the answer. The answer is that your body, when fed and exercised properly, will find the size and shape that is healthiest for it. And that is beautiful. Whether it's a size 0 or size 28. Tell your mom to try hat bands in western shops. I wore my husband's hat band for a belt for years. And I was 00 32" so I feel her pain. I wish I'd known, I could have sent her the jeans I finally got rid of a couple of years ago. I had about 15 pairs, because once I found something that fit I hung onto it like grim death. For you also, Wranglers come in all those sizes. Down to 25" waist for men: Shop Men's Jeans - Wrangler Jeans For Men | Wrangler
  12. Most definitely. But the way you stated it here is inclusive, not exclusive. I believe that's a better way to express it. "This is attractive as well" rather than "This looks better than that." I'm sorry that it's still like that. And yes, I'm aware that it is. I hope your daughters didn't get it stuck in their minds that there's anything positive about starving themselves. I can't change the industry, except by doing my best to change the way society views beauty. I'm doing my best.
  13. I don't object to education either. I attempted to educate the participants of this thread. If you find my post here to be less acceptable, less respectful, less educational, less well written, less polite, or even less grammatically correct than the others, feel free to say so and I'll step out. Until then, if some blokes I've never met can tell me I look like poop for being too skinny, I can tell them they're being just as disrespectful and elitist and bad for women's image as the fashion industry they're objecting to. Except, of course, that it's your house. So, again, if you think their behavior is perfectly acceptable and mine isn't, say so and I'll leave.
  14. You're mistaken. I read your first post. In fact, I read it several times, along with the rest of the thread, before deciding to respond. As I said, I don't care if your preference is my body style or not. I don't care if you (or several of you, or all of you) say you prefer the women that some fashion industry has labelled as "plus size". I think that's great. And I think it's great that you'll say so. Here are the comments that I do NOT find so great: MY point, which I think you missed, is that it's perfectly acceptable to say you like someone's looks without having to bash someone else's. You don't like that fashion industry, the media, etc. saying that skinny girls look good and none of the others do? Me neither. But I also don't like all the posts saying that the bigger girls look good and skinny girls don't. It's not necessary to put one group down in order to make another feel better.
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