Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just a quick update with some pictures.

Still trying to get the Nitrite levels under control. Put the heater back in the system. I was told that the idea temp for the beneficial bacteria to do their job is between 76 and 85. My system is running about 67 right now. Gotta get it warmer. Hopefully this along with the added grow beds will balance things out. Got to get it right before I add any Tilapia.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The fish are dying!

Yes its very sad the fish are all dying off. There may be 10 of the 50 original left. Sadly the Nitrite level has stayed up and never gone down. I have done water changes and added grow beds (which haven't been going long and need time for the beneficial bacteria to grow in it. I may have overfed them some. I am definitely going to have to add more filtration. The good thing is they were all cheap goldfish and not tilapia or catfish or something. They can be replaced cheap but still disappointing.

After 3 days of water changes here are my readings:

Ammonia - 0 
PH - 6.8 to 7
Nitrate - 160 to 180 ppm
Nitrite - between 5 and 10 ppm

These readings if my understanding is correct mean that my system is definitely cycled and the ammonia is being converted to Nitrite like it should but due to not having enough established biological filtration the Nitrites are not being converted to Nitrates. Since Nitrites are just as toxic as Ammonia this is not good. I will continue to try and get things running smooth. I am way too far into this to give up now. One more thing the plants are still doing great. They are green and growing fast.

If anyone has any tips or ideas please post a comment.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Aquaponic Basement Garden NFT system update

Well another week has gone by. I didn't really get to do much with the system. We had a really beautiful day after a couple rainy days so I worked in my dirt garden and got some much needed yard work done. I decided to take some pictures just to document the growth over the last week.

This is actually a tomato plant that was almost dead outside. It had turned yellow and the tips of the leaves had burned and were getting crunchy. This is it after about 3 or 4 days in the aquaponics system. Still a much duller green than the one in the foreground of the picture but another couple of days and it should be looking good too. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Adding some grow beds to the system.

I decided to go ahead and do some grow beds on the lower level of the system instead of doing more NFT tubes. I want to see how well they do in the same system. I want to try and have the tubes on the top tier feed the beds on the lower tier and then everything just drain back to the tank and only use 1 pump. I will be very happy if this works.

Here are some pictures of the beds and the bell siphons installed and system plumbed to drain into the fish tank.

 Yes that is a potato cannon sitting off to the left lol.

Update on system.

It appears that the cycling is getting along pretty good. A bit of a problem with a few fish dying but a water change or two and I think I have it under control. I will probably do another in a couple days. The ammonia had spiked but then another check tonight showed no problems. Plants in the system are doing very well. Here are a few pictures so you can see how green and healthy they look.

This is a tomato plant I threw in to see if I get nurse it back from starting to look yellow. I think its looking a lot better. 

The next 3 photos are broccoli plants getting huge dark green leaves. They are doing fantastic.  

Next 2 photos are cabbage. 

Some random shots. 

 A few to show you the roots are starting to grow nicely now. hopefully it wont be long and it will be a nice mat of roots in the tubes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

65 watt CFL Grow Light

Here is a picture of that huge 65 watt CFL I told you all about in an earlier post. Its the equivalent of a normal 350 watt bulb. This bulb puts out 4000 lumens and has a color temp of 2700k. I think it will be best for tomato and pepper plants fruiting.

Update pictures of plant growth.

Below are a few pictures of the plants from a couple days ago. I should have taken new pictures tonight cause I can tell they are really starting to take off. I see a difference every day now when I get home from work. Sorry for the way the close up picture came out. The grow lights really mess with the close up pictures for some reason. What you don't get to see here is the root growth. Each cup now has several roots coming out of each one that are a couple inches in length. So far so good just need to figure out why I have had those few fish dye off now.

Small system hickup and lighting change.

I noticed one dead fish the other day and really didn't think much of it. I mean I added 50 fish and this is the first one to die. I figured things were ok but still checked the water readings and things seamed fine. Honestly the levels haven't changed much since adding the fish. PH may have gone up just slightly. System is still not finished cycling yet though. I checked again yesterday and found another dead fish and a few moving slowly. I also noticed now the water getting cloudy. I think I might have been overfeeding. I am going to cut back for a few days and see what happens. I also need to add water to the system even with the cool temps in the basement I am still losing a bit to evaporation. I have noticed a few gnats or maybe fruit flies around the plants the last couple days. I won't use pesticides in this system so hopefully a few stick fly traps will work. Keep you guys updated on the status of the fish with an update this coming weekend.
On a side not I found a large 65 watt CFL bulb that I am going to work into the system lighting. It puts out 4400 lumens and light temp 2700k. It is quite bright and I think it will help with peppers I am going to add to the system this weekend. I changed out some of the bulbs in the neon fixtures as well. I am now using 1 bulb light temp 6500k and 1 bulb 3300k in each fixture. The plants really seem to like this now.