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Up and running-I think

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by buttonboxguy, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. buttonboxguy

    buttonboxguy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Hello fellow AP-ers from Sisters, Oregon
    Winter is here on the eastern side of the Cascades with snow falling . I have a grow room outside that's well insulated with heat from a 400watt metal hallide. Have been into Hydroponics for years with some success but with alot of headaches with the nutrients and the warm water on the roots. Did grow a tomato plant for 15 months then it just up and died. Saw Murray on You-tube and I switched over that night. I am starting out with a 30 gal tote with 6-12"x30" trays (see photo before planting) with 3/4 rock and about 200 red worms in each. Cycled the system with a kit from The Aquaponics Source and it took about 3 weeks for my Nitrates to show up and my ammonia to drop to .25 or so. I have 25 comet goldfish in the ft that seem to be doing fine-have only lost one. I have chard, kale, tomato, basil, arugula and spinach, all in the early stages-seem to be growing but slowly. My basil is showing yellowing on the leaves as is my tomato plant. Have added a little liquid iron and it seems to help but it comes back. My question is does the worm casing in the grow beds keep the nitrates high and do the fish feed on the casings that get back into the ft because I feed the fish only a little bit once a day to see if the trates drop. My system fills and drains about every 4 minutes, is that too wet for the root system? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, hello from Oregon.
     

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  2. Castaway

    Castaway Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Messages:
    2,472
    Hi BBG The water should return to the fish tank sparkling clean, free of any worm castings.
    Compost worms will feed off bacteria growing on fish waste. The worms usually hang around the plant roots so I don't think they'll have any influence on your pH or nitrates but help in breaking up or mineralizing the waste.
    As one bloke teaching holistic soil management said to me - "Think of nature as a big fountain recycling the same minerals over and over again."

    The worm eats the mineral, the bird eats the worm and mineral, a fox eats the bird and mineral and it dies of old age and that very same mineral is deposited back into the system.

    Some Permaculture people harvest their own manure through composting toilets. Any pathogens are broken down over many months, remixed in compost, turned over and deposited back on their gardens and returned back to their mouths as vegetables.

    The cycle continues endlessly...

    We can't really poop back in our growbeds. Not Kosher really...or hygienic..so not advised but putting kitchen scraps through worm compost bins and returning worm juice back into aquaponics is a small way you can recycle some of the mineral wealth back into the system.

    When using goldfish keep in mind how much you feed them and how much waste they are producing...You want to settle in for a nice balance. If your plants look like they are struggling, have a look at your fish mass - the engine of your system.
     
  3. buttonboxguy

    buttonboxguy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Thanks Castaway, since my nitrates are high and have not really dropped, I'm feeding the fish less. But after a week of putting the fish on their diet the nitrates are still high. I just think that my plant are still young enough that they are not processing the water fast enough. I think I'll add another small growbed with some seedlings and hope for the best. Those goldfish are starting to look at me differently, I better keep my hands clear of the water!
     

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