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.wasserscheu wrote: ..., Ammonia is the form of N, that takes submurged plants the least energy to absorb. ...
Vance, congrats on the lights.
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.
Happy fish keeping!
The factors that I'm thinking about:
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.
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.
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.
The Tomatoe plants quickly outgrew the other plants shortly after the addition of the lights.
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.
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