Followup on land plants and loach tank- aquaponics

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Vancmann
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Post by Vancmann » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:10 am

Well, got some new lights today and pretty excited to see how the plants react. Will keep you all posted.
Thank you
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

wasserscheu
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Post by wasserscheu » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:50 am

wasserscheu wrote: ..., Ammonia is the form of N, that takes submurged plants the least energy to absorb. ...
Done some more reading and need to revise the above. The above works for some, but can not be generalized. Amongst terrestrial as well as aquatic plants there are also plants that take nitrate with the same effort as for ammonia.

Vance, congrats on the lights.
Wolfram

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Vancmann
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Post by Vancmann » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:53 pm

Thanks wasserscheu! :) With the new light, the plants are now growing twice as fast and look much greener, well, atleast the tomato plants look darker green.

In the past, I have read that some aquatic plants do a much better job at removing ammonia directly. Me, I dont want to mess with the stuff because it is lethal to the fish and fish is the main focus. I will save the ammonia for the biofilters. Imagine if my plants were using the ammonia form and something were to happen to them. The sudden increase in ammonia would not be fun. For me, something going wrong with the plants is very more likely than a failure of the biofilters. I have backup, two filter system just incase.
Thanks
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

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chefkeith
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Post by chefkeith » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:54 pm

Good to hear. Did the nitrates drop also?

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Vancmann
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Post by Vancmann » Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:22 pm

I havent checked it recently. My 5 little clown loachs are getting big fast and have started eating lots. Beef hearts are their fav. Their appetite compares to all but the alpha female. I imagine that this increase in feeding would be a factor as well. I will check the nitrates soon and post a reply. I need to do a water change tomorrow so I will check it before.
Cheers
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

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Vancmann
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Post by Vancmann » Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:24 pm

Chefkeith, I tested the nitrates today and I got 80ppm. I forgot what the safe range of nitrates is for loaches. My last water change was last wednesday so approx 10 days.
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

Diana
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Post by Diana » Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:01 pm

80 ppm is 4 times as high as I ever let the nitrates get in any of my tanks. I keep them around 5-10 ppm to be sure the plants are not deficient (dosing KNO3 if needed) and I do water changes if the nitrates reach 20 ppm.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

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Vancmann
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Post by Vancmann » Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:27 am

Wow thanks. I actually did a water change today. I never thought that 80ppm would be high. Good to know.
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

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chefkeith
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Post by chefkeith » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:13 pm

It makes me wonder if nitrate levels could be weighted differently. Nitrates are just a fraction of the organic load that can accumulate in an aquarium and be harmful to fish.

The factors that I'm thinking about:
1) Filtration
2) Suspended Solids
3) Dissolved Organic Matter

Some filters, like UGF's and HOB's, may breakdown organic debris so that it dissolves in the water better. Perhaps this would increase the DOM's and be better for plants.

Other Filters, like sumps and canisters, may allow organic debris to settle to the bottom of the filter. Perhaps this will decrease DOM's and would be better for the fish. I wonder if nitrates can be kept significantly higher with lower DOM's.

Removing the suspended solids is probably the most important thing though.

I'm perplexed.

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Keith Wolcott
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Post by Keith Wolcott » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:20 pm

That's a very good question chefkeith. We need to find out more about this.

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Vancmann
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Post by Vancmann » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:36 am

It is confusing. My fish definitely don't act like they did in the past whenever the nitrates got even close to this level so I am wondering about the DOM content as well. I use canister filters.
Regarding another possible cause of nitrates increase. I did mistakedly discover quite a bit of Planaria in the PVC tube a couple days ago. It was after I added some ph down solution to the tube and a bunch (about 20 or so) came down with the flow into the tank. They apparently did not like the sudden drop in PH.
I figured the cause for the Planaria was my flood pump timing. My aquaponic system uses similar principles to a "flood and drain" hydroponic sys. The flood pump is not pre filtered and would sometimes come on during or shortly after feeding. The pump would then suck up some food directly into the PVC plant tube.
For now, I will have to do some Nitrate control manually and keep checking, just to be safe.
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

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Vancmann
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Post by Vancmann » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:36 pm

Here is an update:
Like some of you suggested, I needed more light. Sorry for the delay of posting these but these pictures were taken about 2-3 weeks after the addition of the new light. The tomatoes started budding and the string beans are actually bearing. This is amazing to me since the only source of food for these plants is from the loaches.

Update #2: Nitrates are down to 20-30ppm and holding. I have decided that I do not have enough plants to effectively balance the system, thus keeping lower nitrates. There will be a modification to accomodate more plants coming soon. Probably this spring.

If I modify the system to accomodate more plants, I imagine I would have to add trace minerals and more lights. As of at this moment, the plants are much thicker and bushier than the new photos and there are lots of flowers on the tomato plants. The main and first tomato plant to flower broke under its own weight so there need a wire frame for additional support. As you can see from the photos, the plants are in great health, seemingly.

Image

Image

Image

Image
The Tomatoe plants quickly outgrew the other plants shortly after the addition of the lights.
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

Diana
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Post by Diana » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:05 pm

Those are great looking tomato plants!
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

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Keith Wolcott
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Post by Keith Wolcott » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:08 am

That is amazing plant growth and an equally amazing nitrate decrease! What kind of lights did you get? I know you said T5s, but what kind of bulbs?

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Vancmann
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Post by Vancmann » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:21 pm

Thanks Diana.

Keith, I use a hydrofarm single 4ft grow light kit. The bulb is the 6400k grow light tube that comes with their Hydroponic setup. Also, they can be daisy chained to add 7 more to total 8 units.

Re nitrates: I had to do 3 per week 30% water changes to get my nitrate back under control since my nitrates went up to 80-90ppm. That was for two weeks only. Although, I am now down to 20-30ppm N, I think I need more plants to suck the nitrates out at a higher rates. So, either I am getting lazy or I think it bothers me that I have to waste so much heated water for water changes every week. I estimate I pour 2600 gallons of used fish tank down the drain annualy. :shock:
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

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