May 5 2011

Fishing for Oscars in Cacita Pond

With the 1 week of rest between classes coming to a close, I had to stock up my Aquaponics tank.  With nothing left but 2 Koi’s and an overgrown feeder fish, I needed more meat in the tank.  As planned in my previous post, I wanted to get some Oscars.  Off to the Glades.

My last hike to Cacita revealed lots of fish in this dried up pond.  So after trying to fish with bread by the canals near the Mikosukee Gaming resort, I made a quick run to Dade Corners, who supplied me with a fresh batch of worms.   After trying my luck again with the worms, and striking out, I decided to make a run for Cacita Pond.  An hour later, with 1 clean hour to fish, I made it.  And the result was some Alligator Gar, some Oscars, a couple Bream, and 1 lonesome Bass.  Oh yeah, and a whole lot of peace and quiet.

I stayed there until sundown in order to take a few long exposure shots.  Best one here.   Enough to see the gators come up from the bottom and start moving around.  Then back to civilization.  Here are a few pics of the catches.  I took home 1 Bream and 1 Oscar, which barely made it home, but survived.

Apr 15 2011

Aquaponics in the Yard Week 10

About the Aquaponics. This is about the time where I move on to something else. Lately it’s been hiking and engineering mainly. But to touch base on the Aquaponics subject.

I threw a few dozen feeders in the tank which died over a period of 3 weeks again. Instead of removng them, I left them in there, to make the wate super nutrite-rich for the plants. The green pepper seemed to be the only one to enjoy it.

At this pont, the only plants that I can call success with this deep water nutrient technique was the cilantro and definitely the mint, which seem to so well in any system for that matter.

The lettuce was also a success. I am going to change the system now. I plan to plug the current drain, and begin to drain the PVC lower. Thus creating a nutrient film this time.

I may also use a timer versus the constant flowing system. I beliee this will make the strawberries happier and reduce rotting.

So next on the menu,
Drill a hole to drain the system almost completely. Put a timer. Increase the oxygen pump. Change the fish to oscars (while giving away the Koi).

Mar 15 2011

Aquaponics in the Yard – Week 6

Engineering Midterms made it a little crazy to update, so here a summary of the last two weeks.

The bell pepper plant didn’t make it.  It never had any new root growth, and started to deteriorate until it competely turned brown.  The new feeders kept dying so I left the original four or so and they survived.  The mint did well underneath, but the lettuce is still suffering.  It’s root ball has not completely decended like the mint.  I added two Koi fish to the tank and they are doing fine.  I also purchased pellets that I’ll start using once the flakes run out for the fish. 

The cilantro and mint are doing well, and the lettice is starting to rise so it’s about time to harvest.  I was told to harvest it before the flower shows, otherwise it will taste bad.  For the next round I will be planting Iceberg lettuce, on the underside, and on top, to compare.  The mint will stay permanently below, and I will grow the tomatoes and peppers on top.  The strawberries and coming out small, and I am definitely having root rot issues with some of them.  A drip began coming off of one of them and was killing the plant below.  I keep eating a strawberry here and there weekly but it’s not enough to justify the system right now.  I am hoping the other veggies will make up for it, but I need to add more fish.

I noticed, as the root balls grew, the water flow went down, and I believe I am getting root rot because of this.  I plan to drill a lower drainage hole to bring down the water level, in hoped that this will decrease the root rot problem.

Mar 2 2011

Aquaponics in the Yard – Week 4

Well, it’s been a month now, and the Romaine lettuce is looking good (but what do I know). I picked the rest of the strawberries which,by the way were the sweetest strawberries I’ve ever eated. If only they were bigger.
I put in 5 new feeders in the tank this week, and lost all five over the course of the week. My originals are in good shape and it’s been 3 days with no deaths. I’m narrowing it down to too much temperature/not enough oxygen. That, or just a diseased batch of feeders. I have a donated larger air pump I’m throwing into the rig, and I will add healthy fish, to see what happens. I would also like to add some more Hydroton in the place of gravel, but 60% of it floats even after soaking it in water.

I’m finally getting some growth and health coming from the bottom set of plants. The bell pepper and habanero are taking their time to kick in. Engineering classes and work are kicking my butt now, so the posts will be rather short for a little while. Here are some pics.

Feb 23 2011

Aquaponics in the Yard – Week 3

This week I put in four more feeders into the tank, but only 2 survived, I;m guessing they were just sick.  All water readings are stable, and the 7 live fish, are swimming and eating without any problems.  To make room for some peppers on top, I moved one lettuce and the bushy Mint tree to the bottom (over the reservoir).  They both went limp as you can see.  The water it not reaching the bottom of the new pots, so they are suffering.  I do see some root growth on the lettuce so I have high hopes for it.  On another note, the strawberries are doing great.  Looking forward to see the next batch.

Feb 14 2011

Aquaponics in the Yard – Week 2

So my PH went down-good
My Ammonia went down- good.
But my Nitrites are still high, and my tank is still cycling, so I cannot replace any of the fish yet. Other than that, here are some pics.

Mint Aquaponics 2 week root growth

Feb 10 2011

Aquaponics in the Yard-Day 11

2 days ago with 4 fish left in the tank, I did the following to reduce ammonia.
50% water change
Ammonia still at danger
90% water change
Ammonia went down to stressful

This took about 4 hours as I put water in 5 gallons at a time, after dechlorinating and thermostabilization. I only lost 1 fish overnight to that. Also I filled a basket pot with bio rocks and put it at the bottom of the reservoir, with the pump inside.

Today, I came home to 3 dead fish, but stable ammonia. Also nitrites and nitrates are high, so I can see my tank is finally cycling. It two days, I’ll show plant progress. And when my levels go down, I will put some more fish back in. For now I can conclude that all my fish are dead due to ammonia or nitrite poisoning. I will continue to “feed the fish” daily to at least provide an ammonia supply to the system.

Feb 7 2011

Aquaponics in the Yard-Day 8

Quick update. Fasting the fish for two days didn’t help. I lost two more fish, and the ammonia is still high. For the sake of the single fish or two left, I will wait a few days for another water change. Tomorrow I will pick up some fish gravel or something else that will give more room for the nitrites to grow. On a good note, nitrite levels are increasing so it appears the tank is beginning to cycle.

Feb 6 2011

Aquaponics in the Yard-Day 7

So after losing an average of 2 or 3 goldfish feeders a day, and ultimately 7 one day, I broke down and decided to buy a water testing kit.  After testing th water, I realized that everything was OK for the fish (Still high PH for plants at 8.0), but my ammonia was at dangerous levels:

So I perfomed a 30% water change.  I emptied the water out, and replaced it with tapwater mixed with some dechlorinating drops.  The next day, I checked the ammonia, and, it’s still too high, along with 3 more dead fish.  My tank has obviously not cycled yet, and I think the problem at this point, it I am not giving a place for the bacteria to grow.  I will not feed the fish for two days, and if the ammonia levels continue to peak, then I will add some gravel to the botom of the tank.  Meanwhile, root growth is still good.  But there is a littl bit of burning on the edges of the Cilantro (high PH, I’m assuming).