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Balcony kit at Hillview (Qld)

Discussion in 'New Aquaponics systems - off-the-shelf ready to go' started by miadeb, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. miadeb

    miadeb Member

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    That's the fellow Castaway. The association of plant roots and soil fungi was being studied in Howard's time. In his book Soil and Health, Howard speculates that plant roots might similarly work with soil bacteria. There are references on the internet to endophytic and epiphytic bacteria in and on plant roots. Does anything of this kind exist in a grow bed? Has anyone looked? There may not be any fungi but there will be bacteria in the fish excreta. Will these do anything with plant roots?

    Why is the use of Seasol raised when nitrogen deficiency is the problem. This is likely to mislead. For those who do not know it, this product is an extract of Tasmanian bull kelp. It is not a fertilizer. It will not address a nitrogen deficiency. What is in it? Don't know. I doubt anyone on the forum does. Why put it in? Don't know. Well I do know what others expect of it so do not tell me. Only tell me of something if you have substantial references or evidence to support it. In the context of another recent thread, the one lambasting those that 'fiddle', one has to wonder if using this product is just another example of 'fiddling'.

    I only add fish food, and either dilute hydrochloric acid or lime as indicated by a Ph test; nothing else. For me water clarity is everything. I feed lightly to avoid any turbidity in the water. And I know this has consequences for growth rate of silver perch, see below, so I do not need any 'expert' advice on this point. Put too much by way of nutrients into a small volume of water and you risk feeding things other than fish. I leave the plants to survive as best they can on what the fish excrete. And there are plants that do well enough. There are plants that do not, but that does not bother me. Any plant growth is improving water quality.

    Optimum growth of silver perch is said to be achieved between 20C and 30C. Water temperatures here spend a lot of time below 20C. This coupled with my light feeding regime, to keep water clarity, results in a growth rate about 20% of what is achievable under more ideal conditions.

    The system has operated here without drama and this was to be the message of recent posts on this thread; you can take an off-the-shelf system, utilise a simple set of rules, operate it in less than ideal circumstances, with little effort, and still reliably generate a harvest. But, apparently we are not to believe that.
     
  2. Walks-In-Storms

    Walks-In-Storms New Member

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    Ah, but be careful of the sacred cow. There are (another of my life-long avocational studies of the human condition) words, phrases, and ideas that are so sacred, so inviolable that they result in annoyance, anger, even fury.

    I've resolved to stop saying things like yours here, and to stop questioning certain things - that or develop a thicker (about that of a rhinocerous) skin.
    You'll also find that the individual or ilk in question is absolutely unaware of his brain-paralysis affliction.

    Just the proverbial "word to the wise."
     
  3. llewelynj

    llewelynj New Member

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    felt like you have found a fellow IQ equivalent there WIS?
     
  4. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    Who says so.... in fact the message often given is "KISS"... less is more etc.... that aquaponics is meant to be easy....

    And that kit systems... if stocked correctly... and operated correctly... within simple rules.... shouldn't have "dramas"...

    Any "dramas" seem to arise... when people fiddle... with or without knowledge, or understanding.... and so be it for those that wish to do so...

    Other "dramas"... or failed experiments.. often seem to be the result of extrapolation of "beliefs"... or "interpretations" of "science" or "advice"...

    For all you say above Miadeb.... you also seem to suggest... that in fact you do step outside of just operating to a "simple set of rules"....

    And try to analyse what you're system is doing, or responding... and to perhaps even "tweak" it...


    Anyone who has suggsted that Seasol is a fertiliser.... or has a high nitrogen component... is wrong....

    It does have a "nitrate" content equivalent to 46ppm... and as such is beneficial...

    But in terms of a tradition N:p:K rating... it's not a "fertiliser" as traditionally referenced...


    Just as people are wrong.. if they suggest that it can be used as an ammonia source.... for fishless cycling...

    (Yes, it does have an ammonia nitrogen content... but it's very low... unless large amounts are used...)


    It is, and is usually referenced... as a trace element supplement.... and/or a general plant "tonic"....

    As to what's in it.... it is known... and the pdf analysis file has been posted previously.... (at least on BYAP anyway)...

    I've attached it below...


    Because it is a trace element supplement... and completely fish safe...

    And because the trace elements are in a naturally chelated form that allows for uptake... regardless of pH.... an important factor in new systems that might not be optimal in terms of pH...

    It has a high (relatively) ....Iron content... and a useful Potassium content...

    And is usually recommended as a "starter" supplement... to promote plant growth...in "fishless cycled".. or new systems ... that have not yet matured/mineralised...


    Great... as do most of us... although occassionally many people may also add some Seasol once a week... or once a month... or just every now and then...

    Personally... I don't know why you bother with the "limes"....


    Couldn't agree more Miadeb....

    And I've posted photo after photo.. of not only my systems... but those of my clients....

    That show copious plant growth.... of almost any, and every plant type imaginable...

    And yep... I've always advocated... lower stocking densities... and therefore lower feed rates.... to maintain water quality.. within filtration.. and oxygen parameters...

    A point which at times... seems to be either misunderstood... or misinterpreted...


    Personally.... I think that's way to low, and slow.... and I don't think it's optimal for the fish health long term...

    But if it works for you.. then fine....
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  5. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    And here's an example of where you seem to depart from your basic premise Miadeb...

    That you don't need to analyse the workings, or the science.. of your "off-the-shelf" system....

    And an example of how trying to "transfer" knowledge.. or science.. from one field.... to aquaponics... could be misleading...

    Do "endophytic and epiphytic bacteria ... exist in a grow bed? "

    Well "endophytic" bacteria might... (more shortly)...

    But epiphytic bacteria.... ???

    As we generally discourage any algae, moss or lichens... in our aquaponic systems... then, unless specific plants species are introduced...

    The likelyhood of such organisms being in a normal aquaponic grow bed... would seem to be slim... and/or non-consequential...

    Any "natural" occurrance... would by nature... probably only be of some benefit...


    Now ..."endophytic" bacteria... are primarily fungi... of three main types...


    Decomposers...

    Organic matter "decomposers"... the "recycling" end of the nitrogen cycle...

    Mutualists

    Mycorrhizal fungi are perhaps the best known of the mutualists. Mycorrhiza means fungus root, and mycorrhizal fungi grow inside plant roots

    Pathogens

    This group includes the well known fungi such as Verticillium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia and Pythium. (Manifesting typically.. as root rot)

    All three fungal processes... are primarily anaerobic.... and would IMO... not be typically found in an aquaponic system....

    There functions basically being performed by the worms we add to our grow beds...

    However.. they may exist in grow beds that are left "fallow" .. unused and unplanted for some period of time...

    And indeed... I do on occassions leave my, or my client beds... especially after heavy cropping.... fallow.... for exactly these reasons...


    How much of various "soil" processes translate to aquaponics... well it's unknown.. as are many of the processes...

    Aquaponics just hasn't been around long enough that it has attracted the sort of academic analysis.. that either soil, or (even) hydroponic processes have..
     
  6. miadeb

    miadeb Member

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    It looks like I will not see a chance to 'fiddle' with my water chemistry this year; with a potassium nitrate injection.

    Whilst july started out with frost down to -3C, the weather turned with temperatures rising. Morning minimums up to a high of 16C and tank temperature never went below 14C over the month, rising to a high of 18C. August has produced a -1C but overall tank temperature will not see last years lows. Ph reduction went into reverse with the latter half of july seeing it drift up slowly. My last Ph correction was a dash of dilute hydrochloric acid to bring Ph back to my 6.5 target. I hope I will get away here with the speculation that there was probably a lime overhang to be worked through. I add it as a powder into the inflow area, the permanently flooded zone, and I expect some of it was caught up there to go into play slowly. The downward temperature slide into winter had called up additions to hold the target 6.5, with an increasing bank of lime to come into effect later.

    Ph is holding steady now. The fish are feeding more but Ph is holding. Does this stike anyone as being odd. Rupert says the fish lower it, but whilst they are now more active and eating more, the Ph is going nowhere. A lime overhang might explain some of it for a short time.

    The reversal back to warmer weather has the system doing something needing an explanation. The slide into cold required increasing doses of lime to hold the Ph. Coming out of cold the rate of dosing is reduced. What might the reason be? This is odd behavior if the only processes in AP are ones to cause a lowering of Ph. And it is particularly odd then to see the Ph steady when the fish are more active and feeding more. If the fish cause the lowering of Ph, it should have slowed going into winter and accelarated coming out. The evidence is that the opposite occurs. I have proposed a possible explanation. Do not accept it? If not, there is still a problem waiting an explanation. What is yours?
     
  7. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    I sometimes get confused as to what you're trying to acheive Miadeb....

    On the one hand you make reference to continually adding lime... and on the other to adding hydrochloric acid...

    No matter... everything you say is consistant with the nitrification, and hence acidification of a system...

    You appear to have been adding lime consistantly during the "warmer" weather... to combat the pH drift...

    Indeed, with the warmer weather before winter... your feed rate was higher... more ammonia produced... more acidification/nitrification...

    With the weather cooling... your feed rates, and fish metabolic ammonia rates... dropped off... nitrification, and hence acidification drop accordingly....

    Having concsistantly added a pH buffer... lime.... up until July....

    You may well have, indeed I would say HAVE... added a degree of carbonate buffering... that exceeds the acidification rate... which has lowered with the temps/feed rate....

    Essentially, as you say... you have raised the pH slightly.... by creating a "lime" bank...

    With the water warming... and feeding increasing... you will no doubt... inevitably... see an increase in nitrification... acidification... and pH drop... as that carbonate "lime bank" is exhausted....

    (adding Hydrochloric acid will only exhaust the "lime bank" faster)....

    Evrything you're saying ... is totally consistant with the nitrification/acidification.. that you're reporting...

    There's nothing wrong with adding lime to maintain your pH at 6.5.... indeed a degree of carbon (carbonate) is required... for fish growth... and particularly nitrification....

    And you will/may see a slight increase in pH during winter.... but spring/summer... will see things resume their normal pattern...

    There's really no need to adjust the pH back down again during winter... any rise will be marginal... (unless you top up with high carbonate water).... and inconsequential...

    You may find that your system stabilises around 6.5 anyway.... many mature systems sit comfortably around 6.0....

    If the pH is a concern... and requiring regular additions... then perhaps you could look at using some shellgrit in a bag under a water return...

    The shellgrit (Calcium Carbonate)... will only dissolve when the system pH drops to around/below 6.8.... and will cease dissolving when the pH rises to around 7/7.2...

    It's essentially self regulating... (until exhausted)
     
  8. miadeb

    miadeb Member

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    Putting egg shells and the like into AP is akin to flying blind. You cannot know what is happening if you do not seek it. Better to put in measured amounts at set points. Give yourself the chance to see if there is a pattern. If there is you may be able to use it.


    You are recasting my words to suit your world view. I find myself in a different world. I am telling you that what exists in my world is the exact opposite of what you would like it to be. And I wonder why it is that you cannot run with it.

    I am not the first person to wonder if the plants affect water Ph. Last I saw it asked on the forum the answer was a dont know. No one said then that it could not happen, that it would go against any rule. Why now?

    If memory serves someone on the forum said duck weed was an acidifier and no one said dont be silly.

    I am not going to present a set of URLs. No one reads them. I have seen this game played over on the freshwater mussel thread. There I took a line our moderator did not approve. I supplied references. They were ignored; and our moderator allows the thread to continue with what I consider lame advice.

    If you are putting egg or oyster shell, or blocks of limestone into your grow beds as a buffer, and if you do not operate in a seasonally variable climate, dropping into cold, you will not see how Ph reduction takes more carbonate to buffer it in winter. If in a cold climate, change practice, put in measured quantities of lime. If my observation is confirmed then proceed to explaining how more buffer is needed in winter. And if you choose to blame it on the fish, try to explain it with particular reference to there being less food added in winter, which leads to an expectation that there might be less acid. I do not see how it can be made to add up. It can be made to add up if you look to the plants for an effect. Feel free to think. Your mind can't be read. Wrath only follows a post on the forum.

    It is easy to find references to Ph influences of plants. I am cautious about things claimed on the internet but when many sites say the same thing there might be something in it. It is so easy to find these references that I wonder What can be wrong with the concept that nitrate uptake associates with alkalinity. Do the research yourselves. That way you will be left wondering as I am that this should be made an issue here.

    The story told about Ph, as I understand it, runs like this. It is a physical chemistry thing. For there to be flow of ions across cell walls charge must be balanced, or flow is stopped by an opposing electric field. When a negative nitrate ion is transported into a cell a negative bicarbonate ion is passed out into the water. There is electrical balance, but the water is made alkaline. When the transfer is of a positive ammonium ion in, a proton is passed out. The water is made acidic.

    In a plant that works both channels, the balance between the two channels determines how the plant changes the Ph. Working equally they cancel.

    If the nitrifying process induces acidity in proportion to nitrate production (I have a question regarding this, see below), and the nitrate is taken by a plant to induce alkalinity, then in balance the two cancel and water is neutral. I proposed that imbalance exists when there is a separate plant uptake of ammonium and this would not be uncommon, depending on choice of plants. But there is more.

    Temperature plays a role. I had not delved this deep into the process earlier. Cold affects the plant nitrate channel the most, leaving only the ammonium channel operative if temperatures go low enough, and the trend to acid dominates. There might be reduced ammonium in winter cold, as fish metabolism slows, but with only the ammonium channel at work, the trend to acidity can seem to be elevated as the other channel closes. This is what I have observed, but at the post now questioned, I had not looked this deep into the problem. I had been thinking that the effect was due only to a choice of plants. That will be a factor, but the temperature effect needs to be considered also.

    The shut down of the nitrate channel is the point at which my suggestion to add nitrate might fall over. If the nitrate channel be closed by cold, will an increase in nitrate availability make a difference? Even if this be so at some point, a nitrate channel shut down, using nitrate as the temperature is going down towards that point, and saving the lime till later, might be an option. My outdoor, under frost setup saw, in july 2011, temperatures down to a measured afternoon water temperature at 8C and a likely morning 5C. The closing of the nitrate channel is probably gradual down to some point before these lows, and nitrate addition might work over part of the temperature fall.

    There is reason not to add lime. There are plants that are not happy with bicarbonate ions. Playing with an alternative seemed to me to be a useful thing to do. But now there is an additional problem. If the nitrate channel spits out bicarbonate, then the result will be the same as adding lime. All the same it seems to me to be something to play with. I do not see why anyone should object to my suck it and see proposal; add some nitrate and see if any is taken up.

    Why bother with any of this? Why not? Nitrate is not unnatural in AP. Why not add some potassium nitrate instead of potassium carbonate as some do? Lime does not overcome a nitrogen deficiency but nitrate might. Two bangs for the same buck.

    Our moderator wants to blame the fish. Let him explain how they can shoulder the blame. There is a water chemistry section to the forum. How about a thread titled; How fish affect Ph and why they do it more so in winter cold. I look forward to learning more. I would like to see more on the biochemical pathways between fish and nitrate. I am guessing at this stage, based on what little I know, that the nitrite bacteria may be spitting out two protons with only one negated when a plant takes in the nitrate leaving the water acidic. So the story might leave the fish innocent and enjoin the plants.

    All in all, over time, tank water will contain more bicarbonate ion and some plants will suffer. In my reading, all aquaculture involves fresh water flushes, and it looks to me as if AP may need it also. Currently my system experiences some flushing when it rains and it overflows. The auguries are saying that El Nino is returning and if so we here can expect half the usual rainfall and half the flushing. A problem may build up. Maybe I need a meter for bicarbonate.

    Rupert blames the fish. Others have blamed the nitrification process. I am suggesting the correct perspective works back from the plants. The nitrate from the bacteria when taken up by the plant cancels the acidity of the nitrification process leaving the water neutral. What you are buffering is acidity generated by the ammonium channel at the plant roots.

    I look forward to being corrected, or to seeing an apology to the fish.
     
  9. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Very true MiaDeb. It is better to apply base when needed then one can observe the health or otherwise of the system because pH should be trending downward.

    Sorry about that, I do not contest every thing that is posted. I rely to a large degree on the intelligence of the readers to sort material into good and not-so-good. Members read and evaluate for themselves. Every (well almost) post has value one way or another. Usually someone will come back and add information that will push the info one way or another.

    Very true, and it is a bigger factor in reality that our ammonia to nitrate model we see as the basis of how AP works. It is usually assumed by folk that the work done by the two main groups of beneficial bacteria, is all that is happening. The beauty of AP is its simplicity and yet within that there are complexities that cannot be easily formulated .

    I use KOH most of the time. The tomatoes love it. I only use potassium carbonate as a foliar spray to assist with mildew control.

    Interesting points you raise Miadeb. Thanks for the post.
     
  10. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    I didn't suggest "egg shells", or even "oyster shells"... I suggested "shell grit".... crushed shells...

    Whole shells have hard external layers... that are very slow to dissolve and release the Calcium, and carbonate..... ground shell is more readily dissolveable...

    As to flying blind.... as I said.... the process becomes self-regulating... with the shell grit only dissolving when pH lowers below 7.... and ceasing when the alkalinity (carbonate buffering) raises the pH above 7....

    So while you might be "flying blind".... it's not posible to have too much shell grit... Many people utilise shell grit for exactly this reason...


    On the contrary MiaDeb.... I offered you an explaination... which is totally consistant with both your experience... and the science of nitrification...

    It is you that is choosing to cast things within your own "world view"....

    And you very postings not only confirm what I'm suggesting... but negate your own postulations...

    It's not a matter of "blaming the fish".... :(

    It's just their nature.... they transpire ammonia.....

    And the nitirifcation process... is the conversion of ammonia.. to nitrite... to nitrate.... A process researched for decades.... and often explained.... and in depth... in "chemistry" threads...

    There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that they do....

    On the contrary.... with colder water temperatures... lower fish metabolism, and feed rates... thus ammonia production....

    While the rate/speed of acidification may lower... it does not cease....

    And it certainly does not raise pH.... it just slows the decline, if anything...

    Everything you've posted confirms this from your own experience....

    During warmer periods... you were consistantly adding lime....

    And even as the water cooled... and ammonia production declined, and hence the rate of acidification eased.....

    You continued to add lime... up until mid July.... where upon... having added more carbonate buffer than the acidification rate would counter-act...

    Your pH rose slightly..... such that, by your own admission.... having created a "carbonate bank"....

    You adjusted your pH down... by using Hydrochloric acid.....

    Your pH didn't rise... because your plants were producing ammonia/ammonium....

    Your rate of acidification just slowed... because the ammonia production due to fish metabolism.. and feed/waste production..... hence nitrification.... slowed....

    Your pH rose... because you continued to add lime.... as the acidification rate slowed....

    Totally consistant... with both the chemistry... and your own posted observations....

    The chemistry of nitrification... has been widely researched... and known... for decades...

    But it's due to the production of ammonia/ammonium... by the fish.... not the plants....

    Whether or not the plants may use.. to varying degree... ammonium... is another question....

    But there's just not any evidence that plants produce significant amounts of ammonia/ammonium.... such that they would exceed the fish.... as the principle cause of ammonia production... and therefore the basis of nitrification... and ultimately acidification...

    It will only do so... if the carbonate buffering capacity... exceeds the nitrification/acidification rate....

    By the introduction of "alkaline" carbonate buffered source water.... or by the introduction of a carbonate buffer... such as lime etc...

    Not true at all..... flow through systems certainly... and some pond based aquaculture may at times introduce some fresh water... but usually to address "top ups"... as in AP.... and most RAS systems don't...

    Again... just not true... most rainfall is probably acidic.... and often very "soft"... i.e... it is/has... a low carbonate buffer.....

    Even if your rainfall is low... you will, especially through summer... be adding water to top up your water losses...

    Unless your source water is high in carbonate buffer.... your feed rate, and metabolic rate from your fish.... will be driving your nitrification... and pH.. towards acidicy...

    Your "carbonates".... will only increase... if you continually add amounts of lime, or othe carbonate buffer.... beyond the acidification trend....

    And there's no evidence to suggest that high carbonate buffered water... is directly "bad" to plants....

    But there is evidence that the raised pH (usually) associated.. with high carbonate buffered water... will impede the uptake of trace elements... especially Iron...

    Even if there might be some truth to the osmotic exchange of nitrate and ammonium ions by plants... (I don't believe it to be so)...

    There's no evidence that the plants produce the "ammonium"... and/or to any extent... that they add to.. the acidicfication due to nitrification....

    The vast bulk of ammonia production... is related to fish transpiration... feed/waste conversions....

    Even by your own explaination... you suggest that any osmotic exchange is essentially "neutral".... not that the plants are generating significant amounts of ammonium....

    By your explanation... and the osmotic equlibrium... they'd also have to be intaking corresponding amounts of nitrates.... during colder periods....

    I don't remember this being referenced as such....

    But duckweed is one of the few plants that does directly uptake ammonium rather than nitrates....

    As such, then theoretically... as it removes ammonia from the system... it would leave less available for conversion.. to nitrites, hence nitrates...

    Thus it would slow the rate of acidification.... but it would not stop the trend....

    The nitrification process.... trends towards acidicy..... by the nature of the chemical processes....

    See PartII ... next page...
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  11. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    Part II

    Sorry Miadeb.... but everything you have posted... contradicts your supposition....

    During the colder months.. having continued to add lime (carbonate buffer).. and having created a "carbonate bank"... (as you yourself postulated).... you then used Hydrochloric acid... to lower your pH....

    You not only didn't have to use more lime... because your pH was dropping "faster".... but in fact you either had to use "less" lime.... or some acid... to buffer back.... as you reported...

    I don't believe that the evidence exists to support the proposition... but let's assume that there is some degree...

    So you're suggesting (essentially correctly)... that osmotic processes... are "neutral".... positive/negative ion exchange... to maintain a balance...

    Whether that occurs within fish blood osmosis (it does)... or plant tissue...

    What comes in .... positive, or negative... is balanced... by what goes out...

    Ergo... no change to the actual pH intake/output... to the water....

    But this does not then.... effect, or counteract the acidification of the water... due to the nitrification process...

    To do so.... the plants would have to be producing a net output of "alkalinity"....

    Regardless of whether or not this is true... it's not what you've observed... posted.. or postulated....

    You specifically posted that you had to lower your pH... by the addition of acid...

    Your nitrification rate... hence your rate of acidification... had also fallen...

    With the slower metabolic rate.. and hence feed rate, and waste reduction... from your fish... the nitrate rate will fall during colder periods accordingly...

    This was amply demonstrated during the trials conducted in NZ when Wilson Lennard partially converted a hydroponic installation to aquaponics...

    The carp metabolism slowed.... and nitrate production... and plant growth slowed accordingly....

    There's no evidence to suggest that plants have a need for carbonate/bicarbonate ions... and indeed you postulated that the osmotic processes esentially "swap them out" anyway....

    Lime (Calcium Carbonate)... is added to increase the alkalinty of the water....

    The plants, and fish/crustacea... utilise the Calcium... not the carbonate/bicarbonate.... for essential growth processes...

    The carbonate... while it raises pH.... is actually required... for the bacteria....

    As a source of Carbon... for their food.... and the nitrification process....

    And this relates to suggestions of alternating pH buffers....

    It is widely suggested that you alternate between a Calcium, and Potassium buffer (by many reputed people)..... to provide both for esential life cycle stages of plant (in particular).. and fish... growth...

    And indeed... Calcium Hydroxide (CaOH)... and Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)... are widely suggested...

    However... while they will both benefit plant growth... and raise pH....

    They do not provide an "alkalinity" buffer.... in the sense of a "carbonate" buffer... and as such do not provide/address the Carbon availability required for bacterial nitrification....

    As such.... lime... or similar "carbonate/bicarbonate" compounds... are required... and should also be alternated withn the above...

    Indeed it will.... and all true...

    But the plants associated with colder temperatures... have evolved to a lower nitrate requirement anyway.... and/or to a slower growth rate....

    But it wont change the basic acidification processes of nitrification... and the fish are the principle production cause of ammonia in AP systems....

    I remain unconvinced that our plants... somehow during winter...sudddenly start producing large amounts of ammonium...

    If they were/do.... then I be expecting to see this reflected either as...

    Potentially toxic readings of ammonia in our fish tank/system.... due to the sudden increase in ammonium production by the plants... and possible inhibition of nitrification due to lower temperatures..

    Or as a RISE in nitrites/nitrates... during the colder months..... due to nitrification of the increased ammonia...

    If the latter were true.... then you wouldn't need to add further nitrates would you... ;):D
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  12. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    I don't tend to test my systems very often... well hardly ever to be truthful... :D

    But the system down at West Nowra is tested, and recorded weekly....

    And almost always reports... ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels... of 0,0,0....

    Always... regardless of season...

    But the pH always trends down..... and I adjust it accordingly... whenever I'm down there... (about once a fortnight)...

    Other than someone that feeds the fish... sometimes regularly, sometimes not... :D

    And the bloke that tests the "chemistry" once a week... the system is stable and self-sustaining....

    As I said... i go down about once a fortnight... to tidy up.. harvest, or replant the plants....

    How easy is that.... I've never had the need to over-analyse the system....

    Oh... and by the way.... it is an "off-the shelf" system... albeit a large one... and a well designed and stocked one... even if I say so myself..... :(
     
  13. miadeb

    miadeb Member

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    Entered spring with only one grow bed having ponding around the inlet. This one was planted with leeks and these have roots that are individually thick and numerous, to form a substantial root ball, sufficient apparently to block free flow. Lettuce, bok choi and onions have left their bed open with no ponding. Ponding may or may not be a problem. In the open it offers birds a place to bathe and increases dunging over the grow bed. This can build in dry periods to be flushed in a single alkalizing hit. If you have it in winter cold, and see it as a problem, then plant selection may affect bed performance. Will continue to seek out those plants with light root systems.

    Now the boring stuff.

    This misrepresents the situation. Winter 2012 is a no show here. The lowest tank water temperature was at 14C. It rose from there early on and the system has returned to normal levels of production. The rate of increase in lime additions seen last winter did not repeat. I do not think Rupert misunderstands me. He chooses to misrepresent as a debating ploy. Despite some weeks of higher feeding levels, the Ph is still not going down. Any lime overhang will have been exhausted, but the Ph is not going down. It should by his account of the goings on in AP. The new leaves in lettuce are greener indicating to me an increase in nitrate availability and in Rupert's world there ought to be some acidity to go with it.

    Rupert has shown his skills in use of the internet. He has used his skills to prove people wrong. I did not think he would miss an opportunity to do it here. I read this response as meaning he has looked and seen what I have seen, and has seen reason to be cautious. I think an experiment is worth doing and will do so as soon as I have some nitrate.

    If you have not followed the argument to date, Rupert and I largely agree regarding the evolution of nitrate and acidity, through either fish (he) or bacteria (myself and others). Rupert appears to think this is all there is. But my real world experience is at odds with this. There must be something extra neutralising acidity. The internet told me it was the plants taking up nitrate and it may be so. Continued debate by Rupert, that looks to me like denial, does not put aside the real world effect of something buffering the Ph up. My system is warming, fish are feeding more, plants are greening up to indicate nitrate is up, and yet Ph has remained stable for some weeks. Where has the acid gone?

    There are people bringing anomalous Ph numbers to the forum. I expect that someone wanting to play doctor to the forum would be on top of this. It is worth a deeper look. It is not over thinking the thing to do so. I see it as adding interest to doing AP.


    I did not say it was so. I do not see that I implied it was so. I do not believe it is so. So why does Rupert bother to argue it is not so? This is another gambit played by those who think debate amounts to something. It is the straw man ploy by which to run another argument.

    I did not say it was so and all that follows is irrelevant. It might be so but it is not relevant to what is under discussion. The straw man is usually dragged out by those who have nothing left to say.

    First a bit of head kicking to discredit the messenger. Then debate to discredit the message. Why try to keep debate running? Here I remind myself that Rupert is a retailer.

    After a long and eventually inconclusive response to a question as to what might be the best option in grow bed design, permanently flooded or flood and drain, on an earlier thread, I decided our next system should be different from our first to enable some comparative experimentation. I looked at Rupert's website and his product but having in mind what he had been saying to the forum I decided his product might not be a goer here.

    We are in an area of Queensland where tank water temperatures go as low as 5C and rise to around 30C. This environment will be similar to much of NSW, at least to the west of the Great Dividing Range. What we see in AP here will be similar to what will be experienced over much of Rupert's territory. I can see there are limitations to what can be achieved as compared to others in more stable environments with the unit we already have. I can understand a need to make limitations known to purchasers of product.

    What Rupert is saying to me as a customer of off-the-shelf equipment is that what he sells might do the job but it needs to be operated within constraints. Over stocking and fiddling may cause problems; and do not harbour any hope of going commercial. Whilst he has said his product is easy to use, this is clearly qualified by his stance against variation from a basic set of rules, made known by him across this forum. He is saying to me that his product might need more skilled management if it is to be operated outside his dictates, and that is where I want to go. When you have this sort of thing from the horses mouth you ought to take notice.

    Why does Rupert use the forum in this way? He has his own website and could run a list of product limitations in association with his product listings, to be read before anyone adds anything to their shopping cart. This is where I would expect to find this information. Having put it there, there is no need to keep popping up all over this forum pushing for restraint. There may be those in NSW who will be disheartened when told their system will not fire with the power realised elsewhere, but asking the forum to restrict its discussion to what level is achievable in NSW is a step too far for me.
     
  14. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    Miadeb, I’ve posted in relation to what information you've posted, and what you seem to be postulating

    Not to prove you wrong, but to question whether your premise, or your interpretation of your “resultsâ€, is consistent with the premise

    I have been doing some research and exploring links of other inter-relationships, some known to me, others that research has thrown up

    And I’ll happily continue to engage with you, but you seem to be personalising the issue

    Indeed it is, and you seem to suggest a degree of agreement between us

    But the bulk of your post has me perplexed, concerned in parts, and in others, somewhat bemused

    Particularly when you suggest

    And then proceed

    What could be more of a “straw man ploy by which to run another argument….. usually dragged out by those who have nothing left to sayâ€

    Than to engage in a bit of “head kickingâ€, and to “discredit the messengerâ€, to play the man, not the ball, and shoot the messenger, rather than debate the message

    What on earth does the fact that, among other things, I, or Murray, Joel, Yabbies, Sylvia, TCLynx, or anyone else for that matter, retail aquaponics systems,kit or otherwise, have to do with the subject

    If your “premise†has any validity, and/or implication for aquaponics system design, or operation, then it would apply to all systems, retail or DIY

    You say

    I’m delighted that you took the opportunity to look at the products on my website, presumably some weeks ago, as the site has down for a total redesign

    But I’m not sure why you feel that any of the systems I retail are substantially different to those that others retail, or how it relates to discussion of “permanently flooded†methodology, or to the premise you postulated, or your climate/location, which you yourself concede is essentially the same

    None of the “kits†I, or anyone else for that matter, sell, are currently based upon a “permanently flooded†methodology

    In regard to the comparisons done between “constant floodâ€, timed, or siphoned flood & drain, if you look through the thread often referenced, you’d see that, like others, I was surprised by the initial performance of the “constant flood†module

    But like others, and is the general consensus, the results over time show little difference between the three methods

    I have not posted anywhere, within this, or other threads, that any “off-the-shelf†systems, “might not do the jobâ€, or need to be “operated within constraintsâ€

    Other than perhaps a constraint with regard to stocking density, a matter of much discussion, but within the caveats acknowledged, a general consensus

    I have never, to my knowledge, suggested that the systems I, Joel, or Murray,retail, don’t work, or have any “constraintsâ€, other than those agreed, ultimately by all

    You then go on to actually confirm that

    Indeed, and Murray, and others have also suggested exactly the same

    The kits are designed to work as “turn key†systems, with minimal maintenance

    Those that wish to “fiddleâ€, or push things beyond levels recommended, are perfectly entitled to do so,and experiment if they wish to

    But I don’t see any where, where either myself, or Murray, or anyone else has suggested that they do so

    Another complete straw man “furphyâ€. None of the “kits†sold, are sold as “commercial†systems, not even Murrays

    I am aware of one “retailer†that lists concept drawings of a “commercial “kitâ€, but to my knowledge has not built even a “proof of concept†system to date based on the design, or proven it to work, let alone be “commercially†viable

    Yes there are “plans†for DIY “commercial†systems available, which people, particularly overseas have built. And I’m sure Murray, and even others might well offer to design a “commercial†system for anyone interested, based on their climate/location, or “commercial†parameters

    Certainly there’s been discussion revolving around what constitutes “commercial†viability, and matters of scale

    But that’s a completely different discussion, and totally unrelated to any “off-the-shelf†systems, methodologies employed in “off-the-shelf†systems, or to the premise(s) that you postulate within this thread

    Rubbish, the kit systems sold, regardless of who sells them, are designed as kit systems

    For those that don’t want the “ease†of a kit system, and/or wish to operate outside of the “dictates†of any kit design

    Then absolutely, it will very probably require a level of more “skilled managementâ€, and I’m delighted that you endorse and suggest that people take “notice†of such suggestions

    I’m not sure what â€limitationsâ€, or “restraints†you feel I should, or need to list on my website with regards to my products

    But I can assure you that I fully discuss all matters relating to the operation of any product, or system I design or supply to any client, and I’m always available to support any questions any client may have

    As to the suggestion that anyone in NSW has been “told†that their systems “will not fire with the power realised elsewhereâ€, or that I’ve suggested that

    It’s a complete fallacy, a deliberate misrepresentation, and not backed with any evidence what so ever

    I’ve seen many systems based in NSW, posted here, elsewhere, or not even posted at all… that perform admirably, usually beyond expectation

    Although I’ve not posted anywhere near all the systems I’ve supplied or designed for clients here, or even on other forums where it might be more appropriate, those that I have, including my own, speak for themselves

    I take exception to the suggestion that I’m “using this forum†to push my products or business. I do not do so

    These matters were discussed between Murray and myself, and guidelines agreed upon

    I can assure you that if on any occasion I step beyond those guidelines, Murray will, as he has done once or twice, in the early days, remind me accordingly

    Murray may well decide to delete this post, and other sections, as he has done previously, and indeed I’ll raise the matter with him

    But I’ve addressed your post publically, because you raised it publically, with an obvious, and stated intent to discredit myself, products and business

    And given the content I believe it is both my right, and appropriate to do so

    You don’t produce any evidence to support any of your claims

    If you can’t do so, and merely make un-factual assertions, or smear by innuendo, then I ask you to retract your assertions, and to “cease and desistâ€

    Perhaps it’s more a reflection of a “ploy†that seems to have arisen in a few threads lately, (hey, everyone likes a good conspiracy theory :D )

    Nobody is obliged to take notice of anything I post, I do so to try and provide information, and do so freely

    Perhaps, as has been suggested, I should do so by blogging on my own site, (a feature of the redesign), and perhaps, as others do, I should even charge for it :D
     
  15. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    To return the matters more directly related to your thread, and the questions you ask... and in the spirit of assistance...


    Perhaps the answer lies within your very question... and perhaps evidences a mis-assumption contained within it...

    Your water has warmed, feed rate increased, nitrification increased.. reflected in your "greener" lettuce...

    Your pH however has not (yet) shown any decrease...

    Perhaps that's because any "lime overhang".. has not yet been exhausted... as you assume...
     
  16. miadeb

    miadeb Member

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    Let us approach the issue this way.

    Step 1 : nitrification process produces acidity in proportion to fish metabolism.
    Yes or No

    If Yes at step 1 then

    Step 2 : fish metabolism runs higher in summer than winter and nitrification process produces more acid in summer than in winter.
    Yes or No

    If Yes at step 2 then

    Step 3 : if there is no other process affecting Ph then more lime will be added in summer than in winter to buffer the Ph.
    Yes or No

    If Yes at Step 3 then consider this.

    This is not what I have observed in the system here. The call on lime is the reverse. Step 3 is not met in practice. The corollary to Step 3 is that there is another process affecting Ph, something negating the acidity. There is only one entity not yet entered into consideration, the plants.

    At this point I believe we face one of three choices: my ability to measure Ph is in question; the internet story is true, plants taking in nitrate ions spit out an ion to balance electrical charges and one that is an alkali; or, there is another process. I like the internet story.

    If you do not like the internet story, Which of the remainder do you like

    Step 4 : my incompetence with the Ph test and/or the addition of lime.
    Yes or No

    I expect that you Rupert want the answer here to be Yes. I prefer NO. It is at this point I suggest we agree to disagree, at least until someone else reports the same Ph pattern in their system.

    If you do not accept the internet story and you answered No at step 4 then

    Step 5 : Bring a new story to the forum.


    If you are at this post with no idea what went before, then the issue in question is the pattern of change of Ph with a drop to low temperatures, in a system where there is no blind carbonate buffering, the only inputs being fish food and either of lime or hydrochloric acid to buffer to 6.5 as needed. I add a teaspoon (literally, I use a teaspoon) of lime when Ph, measured by the API test, drops below 6.5, towards yellow. A teaspoon might be added every 2 to 3 days to hold at 6.5 in winter. In summer it can be at fortnightly and longer periods.

    Rupert refers to a lime overhang, something that I bought up earlier as a possible explanation of a Ph excursion upwardly at an acute weather change to warmth this july, and to more normal operation, instead of the expected decline into colder tank temperatures as occurred last year. If you think about it, the lime overhang effect should not be there if the answer at Step 3 was Yes.
     
  17. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    I feel the answer to #3 is yes, but I feel there is most likely more to it than just a simple yes or no.
    I have noticed swings in pH when temps change that is for sure.
     
  18. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    Indeed, there is undoubtably a relationship between the rate of nitrification and temperature...

    At extremes.... ie... above 32 degrees, and below 10 degrees... temperature is not only effecting bacterial activity... but is becoming outside the temperature tolerances of fish species as well..

    But it also needs to be measured against the feed rate, and protein percentage being fed...

    For instance... at higher temps, your fish metabolism is high, your feed rate high and the percentage protein of the feed high.... (hopefully resulting in high growth)... and waste production correspondingly high

    Conversely at lower temperature extremes...
     
  19. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    Miadeb, firstly a thanks for bringing the discussion back to the issue... and I hope you accept my responses.. in the same "light"...

    No criticism intended in any way Miadeb... just a furtherance of discussion...

    Yes.. agreed...

    Yes.. agreed...

    Yes... agreed... this is what would be expected to be observed...

    (there could be some variation at temperate extremes... but let's hold that thought.. as it might, or might not be a factor... in relation to this specific instance...)


    I'm not suggesting that your reported pH testing...or lime additions... are inaccurate in any way...

    And the "internet story" might, or might not... have some validity... especially in an aquaponics context....

    It would be helpful if you could link to it... so that we can both discuss it... and compare "apples with apples"...

    To compare the "story" and/or any implications... within either an aquaponic context... or your observations...


    Does the paper relate to the effect of plant processes alone, or in relation to soil bacteria...

    Do these plant processes occur in a hydroponic context,, or an aquaponics context... or if the latter... do the bacterial inter-relationships occur.. either hydroponically... or aquaponically...

    Are the "processes" related in the paper consistent with your observations...

    Might they apply to aquaponic systems generally...

    Or do the factors relate more specifically to your system... location... and/or management of the system...

    Are your observations consistant... if not....

    Are there other possible factors that might explain your "observations"...
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
  20. miadeb

    miadeb Member

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    Leeks are monsters in grow beds. Their roots fill the bed to the bottom such that pulling them brings gunk up into the flow through the bed and dumps a cloud of it into the fish tank. I know about cleaning grow beds and do not need to be told again. What I could be told is some neat and easy technique for doing this. This question has been asked a number of times across the forum and I am yet to see any suggestion beyond scoop it out, rinse it of, and put it back. I see myself removing the siphon, putting a cork in the stand pipe, using the pump to fill the bed to above the media to make it buoyant, scooping the it out in a sieve to dump in a tub, draining the bed of water and gunk (a bottom drain plug would have been good for this), then reversing the process from the tub to refill the bed. Someone might one day invent an adaptation of the grow bed to implement something like a reverse flush process to do away with any handling of the media. Meanwhile I am harvesting leeks by cutting them out with minimum disturbance of the roots which are fleshy and should, I hope, rot away quickly or be eaten by worms to clear the bed soon.

    Now some housekeeping.

    I thought this thread was about a Balcony kit at Hillview, a thread on which to post our doings with it and what thoughts those doings trigger. Why does it have to be about what the moderator thinks?

    We have a situation here where the real world is telling us something but we are not to give it any heed until someone can locate a research paper to confirm to the moderator's satisfaction what the real world has told us.

    Think on it further. We are agreed that the nitrification process produces acid, and more of it in warmer weather when fish are feeding more. It is now some two months since winter reversed and I last added any lime to our system. Where has the acid, acid we agree has been generated, gone. In this time ammonia has been produced and clearly it has gone through to nitrate and that nitrate has gone into plants, as test readings are around (0,0,0). We are agreed that the fish and bacteria are associated only with acid production, so what associates with acid removal? What else is there to consider besides the plants and nitrate removal? Why do I have to ignore this until the moderator agrees that I have a paper that is acceptable to him as backup to the concept? Why not just proceed to nitrate addition and test the concept? Instead of scouring the internet looking to see if anyone has done the task and reported results, why not do some science, an experiment?

    I might one day get around to finding research papers but currently I am working on Rupert's earlier posts. In a world where silence might imply consent, where I do not agree with him, I feel a need to rebut him. I am currently working on his post number 48 on this thread. There is much to be addressed before I get back to his immediately preceding post.
     

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