Arizona Aquaponics

Helping each other to learn and grow big nutritious plants and fish to help feed the world.

Location: Phoenix
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Discussion Forum

It happened, now its time to move on

Started by David Schwinghamer. Last reply by David Schwinghamer Aug 18. 4 Replies

Just a question. Why do you do aquaponics?

Started by Dr. George B. Brooks, Jr.. Last reply by Jim Fisk Aug 3. 5 Replies

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Comment by Rob Nash on November 26, 2012 at 7:38am

@ David, yes i know a guy, who knows a guy, etc.. that has had very good luck with ganja in ap. in a media based system, no problem... add rock phosphate. 

Comment by Vlad Jovanovic on November 26, 2012 at 4:28am

Greetings Dr. Brooks, Well...the AP greenhouse is just part of the 'big farm' (not very big by US standards I'm sure, but it's big enough for me:) It's a little over three hectares plus some forest, there's a bunch going on there, but I'm guessing your interested in the new AP system...Not much to tell really, 8 IBC media beds and 546 sq. feet of DWC raft space...Nursery trough and seedling table. About 5000 litres of fish tank. It's kind of an experiment in 'ultra' low fish stocking densities...So we'll see how that goes. I've tested out some things in the 3 or 4 smaller bio-ponic systems, which I will be applying to the 'big' system should the need arise. I make my own struvite (NH4MgPO4·6H2O) and my own potassium nitrate (KNO3) and potassium hydroxide (KOH). The struvite has been a great experience in biological phosphate recovery, and I've come up with 3 part hydroponic nutrient (for different growth phases of fruit bearing plants) that is derived and processed from humonia. The only other materials I use to make all this stuff, is Epsom salt (for the Mg...without which you could not make struvite) and the ashes of hardwood trees (filtered through rain water to make KOH, the KOH is then used convert calcium nitrate to potassium nitrate. The calcium nitrate comes from humonia soaked straw beds which precipitate the CaNO3). I've enjoyed this learning/creating process immensely, and figure I like playing around with organic chemistry much more than I'd like regularly having to clean out grow beds, taking them off-line, or cleaning various filters due to having lots of fish, and hence lots of fish solids over time...Or paying for large back up power systems...extra air...filtration etc...that having a high density of fish often entails. My belief is that worms will "only" (60-70% get you so far...which is still nothing to sneeze at)...Which is why I want to stick with a really low fish stocking density, (yet have a really decent amount of plants essential elements in solution...which is where the other homemade/natrual bio-ponic inputs come in...while keeping it fish safe). This in a nut shell has been some of the more interesting things happening on the AP side of the farm

Comment by Dr. George B. Brooks, Jr. on November 25, 2012 at 10:26pm

@Vlad. I was just looking at your photos. Very impressive. What can you tell us about the big farm?

Comment by David Schwinghamer on November 25, 2012 at 6:50pm

Has anyone out there tried to grow maryjane in their ap system? A friend gave me one to try, very ph sensitive and fish dont give it enough phosphorus I think. No Im not a pothead, I just thought it would be a challenge to try, anyone know more? 

Comment by Bob Campbell on November 25, 2012 at 5:36pm

Several months ago I built a debris filter using cooler pads.  It worked great but as my fish began to multiply and grow larger I went from cleaning the pads once every couple of weeks to everyday.  Today I replaced it with a bed of 3/4" gravel.  It sits in one end of the raft tank so it will be a continuous flow gravel bed.   I'll add some worms too.  

I probably should have asked this before spending 5 hours cleaning gravel and filling the bed, but I'd like to hear your opinions on this change.  I don't plan to grow anything because all I want is the gravel to filter fish poo.

On the right is the gravel and the rafts are on the left

Comment by Dr. George B. Brooks, Jr. on November 25, 2012 at 5:22pm

@Vlad ;-)

Comment by Vlad Jovanovic on November 25, 2012 at 4:56pm

Well, the pH range for nutrient availability on the soilless graph is far below my experience as well. At least as it relates to AP or bio-ponic growing ...Which is kinda why I told David not to get too hung up on those numbers shown there...and that he'd be just fine with a pH in the mid 6's...I like to keep my pH just a tad lower than the range Sylvia or Murray suggest. At any rate, that is the chart David was asking for. Not sure what you mean by "going with David on this one", since it seems we're all on the same page 

Comment by Dr. George B. Brooks, Jr. on November 25, 2012 at 3:54pm
Greeting @Vlad and @Dave. I really have to go with Dave on this one. The pH range for nutrient availability on the soilless graph are far below my experience. I hold mine at 6.6 to 6.8 in water (floating bed) and get excellent growth. At least in my work this suggests Dave's graph appears to work.

Comment by Vlad Jovanovic on November 25, 2012 at 3:53pm

David, don't get too caught up with the numbers on those charts...A mature AP system ran in the low to mid 6's should be a plants producing powerhouse. (Besides the bio-filter precludes the systems ability to function at a pH of 5 anyways)...

Comment by David Schwinghamer on November 25, 2012 at 3:32pm

Damn, thats a pretty low ph, 5-5.5? I guess it would affect different plants differently cuz my peppers are producing!


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