A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners
A place for IBC tote systems to share what they have learned and system designs.
Latest Activity: Oct 23
Started by Steve Armeros. Last reply by Phil Slaton Oct 23.
I posted under the wrong area with question..Hello AllIs there an easy way to get gold fish out of the Tote? These suckers are really fast to net.SteveContinue
Started by Angela Pierce. Last reply by Jeff S Oct 20.
This is my first year with Tilapia in an IBC tote, I have them in my greenhouse. I am wondering what others will do for winter? Ie, insulating tank, running grow beds, heater???Continue
Started by Steve Federwisch. Last reply by Paul Anguiano Oct 8.
I was told the bottom valve on my IBC totes were 2" pipe thread so I went to the store and got the PVC 2" pipe female connectors thinking they would screw right on. I cannot even get them started. Is…Continue
Started by Arthur King, Jr.. Last reply by Jeff S Sep 24.
I went to feed my fish this morning and it seems my IBM has sprung a leak! Anyone have experience with this. It is lest than a year in service, I would not have expected a failure this…Continue
I've had egg shells in my system for a couple of months and still have the pH going down. I add calcium carbonate to one 45 gallon system and potassium hydroxide & hydrated lime to the other to raise the pH. My IBC never goes below 7.2 and I never add anything to it. Not sure why the pH doesn't go down in the IBC.
The seaweed extract here in the states is called "Maxi-crop". Murry Hallum in Australia says it is called Seasol, I found my in a plant nursery, I don't think just any nursery has it but the bigger ones do. You can also order it online but you will pay a hefty price for shipping.
If you want to buffer with egg shells or oyster shells you must be patient as these break down very slowly, you add either and then check the pH and see that nothing happened so you add more. Suddenly you find that your system is all out of whack so you add a buffering agent to lower the pH. It can become a battle if you don't know that it works slow. Right now - don't worry about the finesse part of aquaponics, worry about the basics, learn, read, experiment and MOST OF ALL have fun.
I have heard a lot of people use Seaweed extract to provide trace minerals to growing environment. Also, you will find that the fish food will have some of these in as well. The only thing I see at lot of people needing to add is a source of iron. I have found that for me, the amount I get from my water replacement is sufficient. I use both potassium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate via egg shells to buffer my water pH.
It may have some trace minerals but remember it is volcanic GLASS. Sand is basically sterile so no trace minerals, scoria is made of melted sand. It also is very dirty and all that bits of glass and dirt gets into your pump shortening its life. If you must use a mineral supplement use granet dust or a phosphorous compound and little of it. I have heard of someone using "green sand" but never heard of anything much after that so no results to be passed along. Don't know what happened, maybe another aquapon can give you the answer to that one.
@ jeff ... very nice
@ Leo and Arthur King ... noted .... yeah to think about it mother nature did not evolve plants to expect light from under.
river rock in my area is about $40 per yard. I like the lava rock a lot. porous and lightweight too. i'm for sure using gloves ;) hyrdoton is just out of my budget...way out.....
in soil gardening a lot of people uses azomite rock dust / volcanic dust and they swear by it. lots of trace minerals. I would assume that the lave rock dust will have some trace minerals too. maybe ?
I use pea gravel (3/4" river rock) that I checked for limestone before getting it at $45 a yard. Seems like a lot of media prices vary depending on what is available in your area.
I would not recommend the white gravel top for two reasons: 1. It might look nice at first, but unless you spend time washing it down, it won't stay white for long. And 2. although I'm in no way a biologist, I would argue that reflecting light back up to the leaves will have little affect as Mother Nature has designed plants to receive light top down. I would also worry about algal growth on the white surface where the water is entering. ( I guess that is three :) ).
I sow my seeds in my grow media. I even built a small bed over a 45gallon aquarium just to germinate seedlings. If you are trying to produce as fast as possible it saves a few weeks of growing time in your GB if you have a separate germinating system or soil bed.
I covered my Grow Stones with hydroton for appearance and easier planting.
There are pros and cons in every media. As with the scoria - the pros are, it is relatively light, it has a MASSIVE surface area (someone said on a 1" piece of scoria there is something like 4-miles of surface area) for the bacteria to grow on.
Cons are it is volcanic glass and will cut your hands if you don't use HD rubber gloves (that's right, voice of experience) and it is very difficult to get clean because of the surface area. I don't want the bacteria to enter any cuts, don't know if it will do me any harm but I won't take the chance.
I direct seed my plants in the quartzite and have not encountered any problem with germination. Just pull back the media and plant the seeds in the wet zone, cover over with the dry media and "Bobs your uncle"
Unless there is a definite perk in covering your gravel with expensive river rock that MAY contain limestone and give you fits with trying to keep the pH in control, I wouldn't bother. People that view my system can't believe that I grow my plants in the quartzite. They can see what I use and I'm not that picky about my systems. These are for my personal use so I don't care what it looks like. At your price of river rock $65 that's too expensive, my purple quartzite cost me $36 a yard and I think it looks very nice.
If you want to reflect light to the underside of the leaves place aluminum foil, shiny side up on the media. This will reflect light very well but compare soil gardening, there is no reflective light bouncing off the soil and the plants do well. That's your choice.
@ Leo "Another media you can use/with drawbacks is scoria or lava rock. It is very dirty and WILL cut your hands if you don't use HD rubber gloves but it is light and relatively inexpensive"
I'll be using red lava rock because as you said it is cheap @ $50 per yard. is that the only drawback in using those, dirty and cut hands ?
How about germinating seeds directly on a GB that is lava rock ? Will it hurt the roots of the seedlings as it starts since since it has some sharp edges ?
Also, I was going to use decorative river gravel (@$65 per yard) on top 2" of the GB. The idea being that the deco rock is kinda white reflective and it will reflect back light under the leaves.
Is there any validity on this idea ?
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