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 4 2011

Watermelon Garden – 2 weeks from seed

Watermelon Sprouts

Feb 4 2011

Aquaponics in the Yard-5 days

After a failed attempt at Hydroponics using the wrong chemicals, I decided to go the organic route and start an Aquaponics system.  After shopping the different types of systems an techniques, I decided to go with an NFT system.  After seeing a few YouTube videos from our Aussie friend showing commercial hydroponic systems.  I decided to give it a try.  If it works, I can always scale it up.

I built it out of 4″, thick-walled PVC, but only becuase I couldn’t find the thin-walled stuff.  I used my existing hydroponocs bin as the reservoir, which I hope to also put plants in.  With all the resources available online, I will hold back on writing a guide until I feel I got it right.

Week 1:
I basically filled it up and got everything in on Saturday.  No cycling or maturity time.  After only 5 days, I already have root growth!  My ph level is too high (8.0), but the plants are growing and I can see some strawberries forming already.  I’ve been feeding the feeder gold fish twice a day, and lose a few fish (dead) daily.  I checked today, and had 10 feeder fish dead.  Tomorrow I will buy an ammonia and nitrite/nitrate kit to see if I can identify why my fish are dying.