Stuppy Aquaponics Blog

Light Feeding Crops to Grow in Cycling Aquaponics Systems

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Feb 21, 2017 11:46:11 AM

Light Feeding Crops: Light feeding crops are used when system start-up has just begun and a new batch of fish have been added to the system. After adding the fish to the system a short waiting period of 7-10 days is recommended before adding seedlings to allow nitrifying bacteria to begin manifesting. Wait until the first formation of nitrate is measured before adding your first crops. 

It is best to begin with just arugula in the float bed to ensure no deficiencies will occur as it is a very light feeder compared to most other crops. Once arugula show healthy growth then

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Topics: Start-up

Insects in the Aquaponics System, Flowering Tomato Plants and our NFT

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Feb 21, 2017 11:35:35 AM

The media bed is beginning to accumulate a dense population of detritus consuming insects already which can help break down the waste in the system even further without causing harm to the crops thus far. If insects are observed a couple inches or so below the surface of the clay media it means the system has sufficient waste density to support these organisms and is a positive incident. The small insects can be seen in the image below on the PVC siphon.

 

Bucket Testing Station: Unfortunately, the low temp and more importantly low humidity has negatively affected the fruit production of the tomato crop. The lack of

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Topics: update

How is the aquaponics system performing since the restart?

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Feb 21, 2017 11:25:56 AM

 

 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

02/06/17

7.5

0.25

Neg.

0

60

74

55

0.86

02/08/17

7.7

0.25

Neg.

0

-

73.5

55

0.88

02/10/17

7.7

0.25

Neg.

0

75

72

55

0.89

02/10/17 -> Total Hardness: 220 mg/L CaCO3 equ

Calcium Level: 45 mg/L  Magnesium level: ~26 mg/L

Phosphate Level: ~5-7 mg/L (as PO4-)

By: Conor Quinlan

Water Quality Overview: Nitrate levels are finally beginning to rise more significantly however this process is still expected to be slow as fish are now not eating as much (<4%). This will continue to be the case until the feeding rate can be significantly increased. The pH is relatively high still but the arugula is not showing any significant signs of deficiencies. It is surprising that the pH has remaining constant over such a long period of time, I would have expected it to drop by now. For this reason, I decided to test the pH of each tank to see if a pattern could be deduced, below are the results:

Fish tank -> clarifier -> media bed -> sump -> float bed

7.63 -> 7.6 -> 7.5 -> 7.65 -> 7.7

So it can be clearly seen that the media bed does preform significant nitrification because the pH drops from 7.7, in the float bed, to 7.5 in the media bed but why does the pH increase back to 7.7 when it reaches the float bed again? The most likely reason behind this is that the arugula is releasing hydroxide (OH-) ions into the solution as nitrate is up-taken. Crops need to maintain a constant balanced ionic charge within the roots so when more negatively charged nitrate ions are taken into the crop it balances the charge in its roots by releasing hydroxide ions.

Fish Update: The fish appear to be very healthy and are

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Topics: update

Test Between New Aquaponic Water, Seasoned AQ Water and Hydroponics

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Feb 10, 2017 12:23:33 PM

I will be restarting the experiment in mid-February which is a more ideal time to seed tomatoes as the air temperature and humidity should rise and be far more adequate for production. A lot of the damage the tomato’s sustained was due to the cold temp, low humidity and lack of light but overall some unexpected results were obtained as discussed below.

Currently I have left one aquaponic tomato and the artichoke to continue observing growth patterns. The tomato crop is flowering and will hopefully produce fruit soon. The overall quality of the vegetation should also improve with more light focused on this individual instead of three. The artichoke flower is continuing to grow larger and the crop looks a lot better overall with

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Topics: Aquaponics water, Hydroponics

Plug-In NFT System for Stuppy's Aqueduct, Aquaponics System

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Feb 9, 2017 1:33:44 PM

The new prototype for the NFT has been completed. It should grow crops far more effectively than the older prototype which would get clogged with roots and was very difficult and tedious to clean.

    

Above are images of the NFT system fully assembled, the actual product will look very similar overall. We will be offering it as an add-on for the Aqueduct and as a stand-alone system with its own reservoir and small pump.

Below are images of the inside of the NFT channels (left) and gutter (right). Our gutter design will

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Topics: Aquaponics, NFT

Leafy Greens in a Young Aquaponics System

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Feb 7, 2017 3:25:33 PM

 

 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

01/30/17

7.6

0.25

Neg.

0

55

74

55

0.84

02/01/17

7.45

0.25

Neg.

0

-

73.5

55

0.86

02/03/17

7.55

0.25

Neg.

0

 

73.4

55

0.85

02/03/17 -> Total Hardness: 205 mg/L CaCO3 equ

Calcium Level: 35-40 mg/L            Magnesium level: ~26 mg/L

Phosphate Level: ~3 mg/L (as PO4-)

 

By: Conor Quinlan

Water Quality Overview: EC and nitrate levels are now remaining more or less constant likely because the arugula is beginning to have a significant effect on nutrient concentration. This will continue to be the case until the feeding rate is significantly increased and the arugula can't keep up with nutrient accumulation.  The pH is relatively high still but

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Topics: Aquaponics, arugula

Are the fish supplying enough nutrients to the aquaponics system?

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Jan 31, 2017 9:04:28 AM

 

 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

01/20/16

7.8

0.25

Neg.

0

50

80

55

0.81

1/24/17

7.58

0.25

Neg.

0

55

73.4

55

0.83

1/25/17

7.5

0.25

Neg.

0

55

74.6

-

0.84

1/27/17

7.7

0.25

Neg.

0

50

74

60

0.82

01/25/17  -> Total Hardness: 205 mg/L CaCO3 equ

Calcium Level: 35-40 mg/L            Magnesium level: ~26 mg/L

Phosphate Level: ~3 mg/L (as PO4-)

 

By: Conor Quinlan

Water Quality Overview: Water quality is maintaining well and steadily nitrate levels are rising but it’s still not at a significant level. The arugula in the float bed is likely keeping levels more constant. pH is starting to be more affected by nitrification which is gaining momentum as more waste is produced and the feeding ratio goes up. pH is still fairly high though and until the pH drops to 7 ideal crop growth cannot occur; this is another reason why light feeders like arugula are used when starting the system and why its recommended to start fish between 10-50 grams and not less. The build-up of nitrifying bacteria has proven to be more than rapid enough to sustain transformation of waste from

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Topics: Aquaponics, NFT, water quality, Plant Updates, fish

Aquaponics System Improvements for 2017

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Jan 31, 2017 8:21:28 AM

The aqueduct system is being modified to perform more effectively and rid the system of any small issues that have cropped up over the last year since its first release. 

The most significant changes are to the siphon and float bed height:

  1. SIPHON OVERVIEW- Until now a bell siphon has been used in the aqueduct’s media bed to make it ebb and flow (fill and drain). This action allows the media (expanded clay) to absorb oxygen each time it’s drained and is important to nitrification and crops grown in the media bed as they both require
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Topics: Aquaponics, siphon, float bed

Aqueduct Planting Schedule Guide

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Jan 27, 2017 3:05:13 PM

 

By: Conor Quinlan, Stuppy System Engineer

 

PROPAGATION:

 

OVERVIEW: Before crops go into the system they need to be sprouted from seeds into seedlings. It is recommended to propagate crops outside the system in a separate propagation tray because high nutrient levels can stress small seedling and cause early developmental issues. Seedlings also generally require higher humidity levels so a dome to place over the seedling helps keep

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Topics: Aquaponics, Aquaponics Seeding, planting

Cleaning and Restarting an Aquaponics System

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Jan 23, 2017 12:02:00 PM

OVERVIEW: The research system was shut down to begin an improvised cleaning process that should remove any pathogens; viral, bacteria, ect. from every component of the system. 

Deep cleaning an aquaponic based system is one of the most important procedures required to run the system effectively and efficiently over long periods of time and should be accomplished at least once per year! 

In recycling systems, particularly aquaponics based systems, the buildup of organic waste and matter over time leads to the eventual inoculation and spread of a variety of potentially threatening microorganisms that can thrive within the nutrient solution. The environmental parameters of the system, which are set to produce optimal growth of fish, plants and nitrifying bacteria (for nutrient conversion), are generally also the optimal parameters required for the growth and high spread of many destructive diseases and pathogens. So in the end system contamination is an inevitable consequence of recycling systems. 

The only way to fight contamination of the system is

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Topics: Aquaponics, media, restart

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