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).

Feb 3 2011

Hydroponics Attempt

For my first Hydroponics attempt, I used the popular aerated tote method, found all over the net.  This was the easiest and cheapest to do, and was recommended for beginners.  After watching Hydroponics for Beginners a few times, I went ahead and attempted it.  It lasted about a week, and I didn’t really see any root growth.  On the contrary, my strawberries didn’t look too happy.
While, I only gave it a week, I can conclude tht my problem was that instead of the recommended Peters 20-20-20 with Micronutrients, I used All Purpose Miracle-Gro.  Don’t waste your time.  Luckily, I have some other fruits and natives around the yard that I don’t mind fertilizing, so it’s not a complete waste, but for a Hydroponics setup, I can’t recommend it.

Here’s a shot at my first attempt, not too many pics, but you get the idea

So I began to look at what could have been wrong when I ran accross Aquaponics.  I spoke to a few people and see some potential of even giving it a shot commercially.  So keep a look out for my aquaoponics project, which I fully track it’s progress through the blog.

Jan 26 2011

Ortho Dial N Spray with powder mix

How do I use powdered fertilizer, pesticide, etc with my Ortho Dial N Spray?  Simple, dilute the powder.  I had the same problem.  I had a box full of Miracle Gro All Purpose fertilizer, the ECONOMY box.  By the time I went through the first little baggy, I was tired of premixing in 5 gallon buckets.  I already owned the Ortho Dial N Spray, which I successfully used to murder my lawn before planting new grass.  That thing comes well recommended online and in person.  So how much to mix into this contraption?

For All Purpose Miracle Gro which uses a 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon ratio, simply:

1) Fill the Dial N Spray halfway with powder (16oz line)

2) Fill the rest with water (32 oz)

3) Stir or shake vigorously and make sure all of the powder has been diluted into the water.  We don’t want to clog the apparattus ; ).

4) Set the dial to 1oz.
Why this works:

Forget about the 16oz we added, this amount of water is negligible, when considering the gallons we’re pouring out in total.

When filled up to 32 oz, spraying at 1oz per gallon, the sprayer will spray a total of 32 gallons of water.  10z is 2 tablespoons.  This means with a full bottle, dialed at 1 oz, we will mix a total of:
32 gallons of water total, with 64 tablespoons of solution.
This is a 2TB/gal ratio (too much)

So by cutting the powder down to 16 oz, we’re left with:
32 gallons of water total (can’t change that), 32 tablespoons of solution.

Thus, 1 Tbsp Powder/ 1 Gal Water

General Formula:
Fill the reservoir with half-powder, half water.  Set the dial to twice the amount of powder recommended per gallon, and you’re done.   Assuming, of course, that the recommended amount is on the dial.

Remember 1 oz = 2 Tbsp = 6 Tsp.

Feel free to leave a comment if this helped, or if you have any suggestions on something to add.