Stuppy Aquaponics Blog

System Update: Frasier 6/15/17

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Jun 15, 2017 2:30:00 PM

Frasier

 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

5/26

6.6 -> 7.3

0.25

n/a

0

350

75.5

25 -> 65

1.50

5/31

7.15

0.25

n/a

0

-

76

-

1.54

6/02

7.25

0.25

n/a

0

350

76.5

80

1.60

6/05

7.05

0.25

n/a

0

-

77

-

1.64

6/07

7.15

0.25

n/a

0.25

-

76

-

1.56

6/09

7.00

0.25

n/a

0.25

350

76

50

1.60

05/26 -> 06/02 -> 06/9/17 Total Hardness: 480 -> 510 -> 500 mg/L CaCO3 equ
Calcium Level: 74 -> 68 -> 68 mg/L            Magnesium level: ~72 -> 83 -> 82 mg/L
Phosphate Level: ~ 35 -> 30 -> 25  mg/L (as PO4-)

Water Quality Overview: The 100g K2CO3 and 125g MgCO3 addition continued to maintain the pH above 7.0 for two full weeks. The alkalinity is also increasing to levels higher than have previously been observed with just CaCO3 and MgCO3 due to the higher addition of K2CO3 which dissolves fully in water regardless of Ph.

Other than the typical carbonate addition, 50 grams of chelated iron (equ to 2 mg/L Fe) was added on 6/09 to replenish levels. The last 50 gram addition was added on 4/28 so that addition lasted just over 2 months.

Nitrate levels are more than sufficient for the growth of any crop and enough K has been added over the course of the last couple months to support the growth of any heavy feeding fruiting crop.

The only supplements to the solution, besides fish feed, are the three carbonate compounds (K2CO3 MgCO3, CaCO3), JR Peters M.O.S.T Micro mix, Chelated DTPA Iron and Super Triple Phosphate. This is the max number of supplements that can be used in the Aqueduct for the growth of larger fruiting crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, melons, strawberries, squash, ect.

Fish Update: The fish are performing well now that they are larger in size. The feeding rate is now increasing as predicted and has increased from 204 g/day to 252 g/day over the past weeks for a total increase of 0.4g of feed/fish/week. Using this data, we can assume that the fish are around 200 grams in weight which is a significant increase from 125 grams. The fish will be weighed next week to determine their progress since the last weighing on 5/23.

Crop Update: Additional heavy feeding crops have been added to the media bed including more tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, Asian eggplant, and habanero pepper. Pictured below is a drawing showing the placement of the crops paired with a picture of the media bed right now. 

crop_placement.pngplacement_2.jpg

The indeterminate tomato added to the system is growing without a problem with no signs of deficiencies at all. The new crops added to the media bed are expected to perform just as well.

The only hitch is that some of the recently added seedlings have been stunted by the sudden thrip population explosion. Luckily the infestation has been reduced to nearly nothing with the use of a new organic natural pesticide called pyrethrum. When incorporating IPM it is extremely important to rotate natural pesticides regularly to prevent tolerance. For the past year we have been utilizing spinosad, sesame seed oil and insecticidal soap which have become useless against thrips; we are now incorporating pyrethrum, neem oil and diatomaceous earth to control pest population. Since the first application of pyrethrum on 6/02 the thrip population has been reduced to near harmless levels. Crops will be observed on a daily basis to ensure the thrips don’t return to problematic levels. These organic pesticides can be found at local home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes.

The strawberries fruit trusses have been clipped since the quality of the fruit is beginning to decline. We are now waiting for the next blossom initiation. In the images below you can see the dramatic change in crop size in the past month. 

strawberries_1.jpgstrawberries_2.jpg

 Another row will be removed from the NFT component soon as the strawberries are taking up more and more space.

The radishes were harvested last week, showing significant cracking. This was due to the low humidity of the surrounding air (see image below). The beets are showing similar symptoms and in order to control it moist paper towels have been wrapped around the fruits to keep them wet (see image below). The crops can easily be grown via aquaponics but should be placed in the media bed for adequate humidity and moisture levels around the roots.

 beets.jpgbeets_2.jpg

Outdoor Update: A variety of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers have been transplanted outside to provide a comparison with our aquaponics grown crops.  Below is an image of the strawberries planted outside. With the increasing summer heat, the strawberries may need to be covered with a shade cloth.

outdoor.jpg

Topics: Aquaponics, Insect Control, Pest Management, Frasier