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Nutrient cycling and Aquaponics

Discussion in 'Lounge Area' started by wormtec, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. wormtec

    wormtec New Member

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    Hi Group
    I have included a link to a very good short read on soil biology, You will find out about who does what and why you need to promote your soil biology in your Aquaponic system.

    http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/concepts/soil ... ology.html

    Also another link to the world leaders in soil biology testing, lots of information on soil biology if your interested.

    http://www.soilfoodweb.com.au/index.php?pageid=338

    If you can understand the basics of soil biology you can then can grow organic vegis in your Aquaponic system, with less guess work, with the correct biology you can also decrease the disease pressures on your plants.

    Regards Wormtec
     
  2. wormtec

    wormtec New Member

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  3. Aussie AP

    Aussie AP New Member

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    Click on 'understanding the soil food web', then the 'nitrogen cycle.'
    It is a great read and turns a lot of what we believe about nitrification on it's head.
    For example, some plants will take up nitrogen preferentially as ammonia.
    Also, perennials prefer nitrogen in a different form to annuals.
    Finally, nitrifying bacteria buffer alkalinity and require ANAEROBIC conditions to perform. Oxidation is a by product of their metabolic processes.
    It is a very interesting read and thanks for the link.
     
  4. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    Humm... I've bookmarked the article you refer to for further reading Darren...

    But I'm not sure I agree with some of your interpretations... on some of those within the article...

    For example...

    This is true, in as much as this is only a "part" of the nitrogen cycle... the "de-nitrification" part of the nitrogen cycle... which is performed as stated in anerobic conditions with the resultant off-gases...

    However the "nitrifying" part of the cycle is definitely performed under aerobic conditions... and is the primary process involved in water systems such as aquaria, aquaponics and oceans...

    This doesn't preclude the "de-nitrifying" processes... but by nature that process represents an imbalance of normal aerobic conditions... and the subsequent putrification and breakdown under anaerobic conditions... essentially a waste management reclaimation....

    And as such represents an imbalance of normal conditions... an unhealthy system, particularly from the viewpoint of an aquatic environment and eco-system such as aquaponics...

    And I'm not sure I agree with this part either...

    Yes nitrifying bacteria buffer alkalinity... so to speak... and we observe this by the tendancy toward acidicy in aquaponic systems....

    But they do so in aerobic conditions... as an oxidisation of nitrites... i.e they take up oxygen as a part of the process... not as a byproduct of the process, which would imply a production of oxygen...


    Having said that though... there is now research that suggests that we should "stand the common view of nitrification on its head"...

    Particularly the belief that it is Nitrobacter that is responsible for nitrification (the conversion of nitrites to nitrates) in aquatic systems....

    It has been consistantly shown that in both fresh and salt water systems ... that it is in fact Nitro Spira that is responsible...


    Certainly true of aquatic plants... i.e duckweed and azolla as classic examples..
     
  5. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    There are far more bacteria at work in a balanced aquaponics system than expressed the simple explanation we normally give when talking about the "nitrogen cycle" I found Dr Wilson Lennard's recent lectures at our semminars, very interesting on this topic.
    The more one learns about this subject, the more we realise there is so much we do not know.
    It is just fantastic, to think just how nature works, if we just give it a chance.

    Thanks for the links wormtec.
     
  6. Aussie AP

    Aussie AP New Member

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    I must read the article again Rupe.
    I have a good understanding of the nitrifying process.
    I guess we tend to think of the conversion to plant available nitrate as the end point, where in fact it is a step in a continual process.
    I don't remember de-nitrification being mentioned in the article, must have another look.
     
  7. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    The "de-nitrification" process is referred to when he discusses...

     
  8. Tsaphah

    Tsaphah Member

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    If we take a natural river course or a dam, there would have to be anerobic areas, and there are certain microbes within that area that are essential to keeping a system in ballance. We are only scratching the surface when we talk of the cycling of a system. If we had a perfect system, we would not need to restock, as the fish would be breeding, but I guess it would need to be a pretty big system too :!:
     
  9. dufflight

    dufflight Member

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    Its developing an ecosystem but not really a natural one. If the water volume was large enough the fish would breed and the plants would grow and take up the waste that is produced. But we want more fish and plants and less water. So some elements of the ecosystem have to be manipulated. Its still using nature as a base but in a more intensive setting. I find it interesting to see how older mature systems seem to be able to grow a wider range of plants than newer systems. I've had plants that didn't go well the fist time but grow better now that the system has matured. Eager to see how tomatos go this summer compared to last year.
     
  10. Psinet

    Psinet Member

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    If you want just a hint at how much we dont understand about microbiology.....

    ...google "archaea". Archaea are now recognized as a major part of Earth's life and may play roles in both the carbon cycle and nitrogen cycle. They are not bacteria, yet they may make up as much as 20% of the ENTIRE EARTHS BIOMASS.

    And I have still not seen a single reference to them in any aquaponics literature. Period.

    A search of this forum shows only two references - under archae or archaea - both by me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  11. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    "archaea"....yep we present on that all the time in our 4 day course. A quote from our text book we produce in the media bed section.
    "Media beds or “gravel” beds are just the most wonderful bio filters for your Aquaponics system. Massive amounts of good living spaces for, not only the two main beneficial bacteria but the myriads of other beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa, archaea, nematodes, earthworms and, microarthropods."
     
  12. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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