Stuppy Aquaponics Blog

System Update: Frasier 10/9/17

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Oct 9, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Frasier

 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

9/6

7.5

0

 

0

30-70

75

60

0.7

9/13

7.45

0

 

0

-

76

-

0.7

9/15

7.45

0

 

0

40-50

77.5

-

0.7

9/18

7.5

0

 

0

80

76.5

60

0.74

9/20

7.5

0

 

0

-

79

-

0.72

9/22

7.43

0

 

0

-

81

-

0.72

9/25

7.22

0

 

0

80

80

50

0.77

10/4

7.21

0

 

0

100-120

77.2

 

0.8

8/30 -> 9/18 -> 9/25 -> 10/4: Total Hardness: 200 -> 210 -> 230 -> 230  mg/L CaCO3 equ
Calcium Level: 32-> 40 ->34 -> 35 mg/L   Magnesium level: 30 -> 26 -> 35 -> 34 mg/L
Phosphate Level: ~ 0 mg/L -> 2-5 -> 5-10 (as PO4-)

Water Quality

Water quality is maintaining as expected at this early point in the systems cycle. Nitrate has risev over the past month and pH is slowly decreasing to optimal levels. Nitrate levels are now high enough to bring the system to crop capacity with light to medium feeding crops.

 

Fish Update

The high grade tilapia have grown substantially over the past month. We weighed them on 9/26 to determine an average weight of 11.3 grams per fish. This has brought the feeding rate up to 34 grams/day at feeding 4% body weight. This means the tilapia have grown 7.44 grams since the last weighing on 8/29 and the feeding rate has increased from 14.5 grams/day to 34 grams/day. Unlike our previous trial these commercial grade tilapias are growing much faster than the tilapia obtained from a local fish farm.

Thus far waste from the fingerlings is settling perfectly in the clarifier. This is a sign that the fish are fully digesting the feed as expected.

The quick increase in nitrate accumulation that has occurred since the system was reset indicates that the system has the ability to grow more crops at a faster rate than currently indicated by the curriculum. 75 fish are the maximum number fish that should be added to the system at any one time. Less fish are recommended for systems utilizing a less rigorous growing strategy.

You can see the change in fish size over the past month in the images below. 

Visually it is easy to tell that the tilapias are significantly larger.

 

Crop Update

The float bed has been full of leafy greens since early September, only a week after the system was reset and new fish added. Nitrate levels are now more than significant enough to seed lighter feeding fruiting crops in the media bed. Basil and other heavier feeding leafy greens can also be grown at this stage.  Peas and string beans along with some rooting crops including radishes, beets and carrots were added to the media bed on 10/6 and are doing well. 

The float bed is full of crops now and the lettuce will be replaced with the heavier feeding crop basil.

The media bed has also been seeded directly with peas and beans which should sprout very soon.

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Topics: Aquaponics, Fish, Frasier

System Update: Frasier 9-14-17

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Sep 14, 2017 3:34:07 PM

Frasier

 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

8/22

RESET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8/23

7.8

0.5

 

0.5

0

76

-

0.65

8/25

7.75

0.5

 

0.25

10

76

-

0.62

8/28

7.78

0.25

 

0

40

77

-

0.69

8/30

7.7

0

 

0

-

76

-

0.66

9/6

7.5

0

 

0

50-70

76

60

0.7

8/30: Total Hardness: 200 mg/L CaCO3 equ
Calcium Level: 32 mg/L  Magnesium level: 30 mg/L
Phosphate Level: ~ 0mg/L (as PO4-)

Water Quality

Below are the results from the 8/10 water quality test which was sampled just before re-setting the system so these can be considered final results. There are some major differences since the previous test on 6/20. The largest is the decrease in both Nitrate and Potassium. The decrease in potassium is due to lack of addition of K2CO3 over the last couple of months as pH remained high.  This is due to the production of higher feeding crops. The decrease in nitrate concentration is also due to the increased feeding rate of heavier feeding crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and melons all added around 6/20. Nitrate concentration was highest on 6/20. This was due to the switching of light feeding fruiting crops like beans and peas to heavier feeding fruiting crops allowing nitrate accumulation to occur.  

Sodium and sulfur levels are continuing to rise substantially. Our conclusion is that the compound are not reaching a plateau. It is these compounds that have maintained EC while nitrate and K levels have dropped over time.

Other nutrient levels are appropriate, particularly the micronutrients. Only Mn continues to maintain very low concentrations but it has remained high enough to keep any deficiencies from occurring thanks to the Micro-mix and MnSO4.

Overall despite lower nitrate and K the growth rate and quality of the crops within the system seemed unperturbed. The Asian eggplant in particular was producing many fruit at an aggressive rate and no crops developed any significant deficiencies other than micro (Fe, Mn) based. 

Parameter

Conc. (ppm)
(8/22)

Concentrations (ppm) (6/20)

Concentration (ppm) (4/20)

Previous Data from (2/20)

E.C.

1.53

1.49

1.17 mS/cm

0.95

Ca

64

63.19

56.49

40.2

Mg

79.5

75.18

48.53

24.6

Na

148.31

125.58

110.38

86.0

Cl

98.68

108.75

85.64

70.4

B

0.51

0.4

0.23

0.14

Fe

6.15

6.88

2.91

1.97

Mn

0.08

0.09

0

0.003

S

138.65

106.63 (300 as SO4)

88.03 (250 as SO4)

188 (as SO4)

Cu

0.46

0.25

0.2

0.131

Zn

2.35

1.43

0.62

0.396

Mo

0.23

0.06

0

-

NO3-N

29.53

64.96

47.2

19.7

NH4

1.18

0.81

1

-

P

10.58

7.5

5.83

1.26

K

28.34

46.67

14.7

16.3

 

Fish Overview

Below is a chart showing the appropriate size of tilapia over time. The tilapia from the previous growth period had trouble maintaining appropriate size during their early growth stages due to their lower quality. By week 6 the fish were still <30 g/fish (shown in red)

After reaching close to 50 grams/fish the growth rate increased. So overall it took approximately 16 weeks instead of the recommended 14 weeks to grow the fish out from 10 to 125 grams (shown in orange).

After this point the fish had no problem maintaining the appropriate growth rate and reached the correct size by week 20 (shown in green).

Week #

Increment increase in feed rate (g)

Fish Size (g)

1

 

10

2

0.1

 

3

0.1

 

4

0.2

 

5

0.2

 

6

0.3

<30

7

0.2

50

8

0.2

 

9

0.2

 

10

0.2

 

11

0.2

 

12

0.2

 

13

0.2

100

14

0.2

 

15

0.3

 

16

0.3

125

17

0.3

 

18

0.3

 

19

0.4

200

20

0.4

225

21

0.4

 

22

0.4

 

23

0.4

 

24

0.4

300

 

Below shows the change in size of the fingerlings over the past several weeks. The greatest change is in the fry’s color which has begun to darken as they slowly mature.

The fingerlings were weighed on 8/31 and average just under 4 grams each. This makes the feeding rate 11.6 grams/day at 4% body weight but was quickly increased to 14.5 g/day as the frys continued feeding.

Crop Update

Crops were added almost immediately to the system on 8/29 as nitrate accumulation has already begun just days after system re-set. Mixed lettuce and Asian leafy greens have been added thus far in a staggered fashion. More crops will be added to the system in the near future including light feeding fruiting crops to the media bed. Below is an image of the seedlings so far.

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Topics: Aquaponics, Water, Fish, Frasier

System Update: Frasier 7/11/17

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Jul 11, 2017 3:25:55 PM

Frasier

 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

6/23

7.2

0.25

n/a

0.25

300

82

75

1.67

6/26

7.1

0.25

 

0.25

-

76

-

1.61

6/28

6.85

0.25

 

2-5

-

78

-

1.60

6/30

7.00

0.25

 

0.5

290, 65 (as N)

78

70-80

1.66

7/03

6.95

0.5

 

2-5

-

80.5

-

1.68

7/05

7.00

0.25

 

0.5

-

79

-

1.65

06/23 -> 6/30 -> 7/07:  Total Hardness: 510 -> 470 -> 470-500 mg/L CaCO3 equ
Calcium Level: 65 -> 64 -> 60 mg/L            Magnesium level: 90 -> 83 -> 85 mg/L
Phosphate Level: ~ 25 -> 22.5 -> 20   mg/L (as PO4-)

 

Water Quality Overview: The pH is dropping more consistently than the previous two weeks. This is due to the removal of the collards that were being grown in a batched fashion. The collards have a high nitrate uptake and were causing the water to remain very basic.

On 6/20 we ran new lab water tests and just got our results back. You can see the results compared with the previous tests in the table below. Manganese Sulfate is being used to supplement Mn which is still considerably low (0.09 mg/L) despite the concentration available in the MOST micro mix, 10 grams was added. Just like the Niles system the MOST mix caused Frasier to accumulate boron and copper. This can cause crop toxicity symptoms in sensitive crops. Na concentrations are lower than anticipated and may be reaching a peak, further testing in the future will determine if this is true. Cl levels are rising fairly rapidly still and may continue to accumulate causing slight crop related issues. Sulfate levels appear to be reaching a peak as the nutrient solution has gotten harder over time (near 500 mg/L as CaCO3) which was expected. K levels have increased significantly thanks to the addition of K2CO3 and are now at more than adequate levels to support even the heaviest feeding crops.

Parameter

Concentrations (ppm) (6/20)

Concentration (ppm) (4/20)

Previous Data from (2/20)

E.C.

1.49

1.17 mS/cm

0.95

Ca

63.19

56.49

40.2

Mg

75.18

48.53

24.6

Na

125.58

110.38

86.0

Cl

108.75

85.64

70.4

B

0.4

0.23

0.14

Fe

6.88

2.91

1.97

Mn

0.09

0

0.003

S

106.63 (300 as SO4)

88.03 (250 as SO4)

188 (as SO4)

Cu

0.25

0.2

0.131

Zn

1.43

0.62

0.396

Mo

0.06

0

-

NO3-N

64.96

47.2

19.7

NH4

0.81

1

-

P

7.5

5.83

1.26

K

46.67

14.7

16.3

Fish Update: Fish feeding rate and growth is fairly strong with a near 25 gram/day increase in in the last two weeks. The fish were not be weighed this week due to the 4th of July holiday.

You can see the change that has occurred in size from 5/26 to 7/07 in the images here.  One thing to note is that Frasier has a few fish that are much larger than the others. 

 

  Crop Update: Below is a representation of the crops in Frasier’s media bed. All crops are growing well at this point. The only observable issue is that some of the tomato flowers closer to the fluorescent fixtures are unable to produce pollen due to the high heat and lower humidity. Flowers found closer to the surface of the media bed, away from the fixtures, are producing fruit verifying that the heat from the fixtures is causing the problem.

Below are images of the media bed over time. The first image is from 6/26 and the second is from 7/07. As you can see crop growth has exploded over the last two weeks.

The tomato crops are now beginning to fruit and we will hopefully be having our first tomatoes of the year very soon.

Thrips continue to come back every week or so and are easily kept in check using the natural pesticide pyrethrum.

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. To the left is an image showing the change in size of the crops from 6/09 to 7/07. Another row has been removed and the crops are in a vegetative state until temperatures decrease to 50 F at night.

 

 

The beets are getting close to being done and the wet paper towels around the roots continue to do their job, keeping the beets from cracking. Paper towels are replaced every week.

The swiss chard and a few basil crops added more recently to the system on 6/9 are growing very well as expected.

Below you can see the change in crop size in the float bed from 6/26 to 7/07. As you can see, there has been a significant amount of growth in just the past 11 days. 

The basil and chard are doing very well and suffering a very minor Mn deficiency but no other issues. 

 

 


Outdoor Update:
Despite high winds the fruiting crops added to the outdoor grow bed have manifested very well. A couple tomato varieties as well as one cucumber and one cantaloupe are growing outdoors currently. More varieties will be added when the hydroponic NFT system is built for a direct three way comparison between aquaponics, hydro and outdoor grown crops.

 

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Topics: Aquaponics, Fish, Frasier

New Aquaponic Experiments: Red Worms, Shrimp and Carnivorous Crops

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Jun 13, 2017 2:30:00 PM

Introduction: A primary advantage of aquaponics is the ability to utilize natural organisms and processes that enable the conversion of ammonia based waste into dissolved nutrients for the crops.  The system is a miniature ecosystem that combines natural phenomenon to enable continuous recycling of the solution which in turn greatly reduces the wasting of resources, such as water or nutrients, while maintaining very high food safety standards.

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Topics: Aquaponics, Aqueduct Development, Fish, Experiments

System Update: Niles 6/6/17

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Jun 6, 2017 2:30:00 PM

System #2

 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

5/26

7.0

0.25

n/a

2-3

150

76

47

1.06

5/31

6.9

0.25

n/a

1

-

78.3

-

1.14

6/02

6.8

0.25

n/a

2

>150

78.5

32.5

1.17

05/26/17 -> 06/02/17 : Total Hardness: 330 -> 380 mg/L CaCO3 equ
Calcium Level: 53.5 ->54.4 mg/L        Magnesium level: ~47.8 -> 59.5 mg/L
P (PO4-) = 3 -> 10 mg/L

Above is an image of system #2 full of fresh seedlings which are now a few inches tall after being seeded a few weeks ago. The expansion float bed on the far right will be testing the LED fixtures and will be compared directly to the other float bed which will utilize the standard 650W florescent lights. Both will grow a variety of collards and mixed lettuce varieties. The harvest quality and amount will then be compared.

Water Quality Overview: The 200 gram MgCO3 and 100 g K2CO3 addition have acted as a very adequate buffer that maintained the pH above 6.6 for over a 10-day period. Since Niles is operating at the maximum fish capacity, this addition represents the max recommended carbonate addition for full capacity production.

With Mg levels reaching nearly 60 mg/L we are starting supplementing with CaCO3 and K2CO3. Calcium levels should be maintained around 80-100 mg/L and can reach concentration up to 200 mg/L without any significant negative effect.

Although the 40-gram addition of M.O.S.T Micro mix added more than sufficient quantities of all other micro nutrients 50 grams of chelated iron needed to be added in order to correct some Iron deficiencies that were beginning to form in the larger lettuce individuals in the LED float bed as seen in the image above. Therefore, in order to create an ideal micro nutrient profile both JR Peters M.O.S.T Mix and DTPA Chelated Iron are required once every few months.

 

Fish Overview: The blue tilapia in the Niles System continue to feed at more than the optimal rate. Since 5/23 the feeding rate has been increased from 233 g/day to an astonishing 300 g/day. The crop should be receiving maximum nutrient utilization around 375 - 400 grams/day for lettuce growth and the feeding rate will be slowed in order to prevent over accumulation of waste and nutrients. Heavier feeding crops will be transplanted into the media bed once a second addition of K2CO3 is added in order to allow the feeding rate to continue to rise.

 

To the left is a comparison of the change in size of the tilapia over the course of the last week with the first image image being from 5/26 and the second from 6/02. Although the size change is not that noticeable the significant increase in feeding rate suggests that the young adult tilapia are >100 grams average. The water color indicates that the nutrient content is building.

 Crop Overview: The crops are growing very well and there is no doubt that nearly all lettuce varieties have no problem growing immediately after nitrate begins to form and micronutrients are added.

A few fruiting crops were added to the media bed in order to determine if heavier feeding crops can be placed immediately in the system at this higher production capacity. The squash crop and peppers are looking good with the tomato crop showing major K deficiencies as well as some slight P deficiency. A second addition of K2CO3 and Super Triple Phosphate will be required before adequate tomato growth is obtained.

In the images above you can see the change in crop size in the past week. The Squash, in particular, is thriving. 

LED Testing Trial: Thus far the LED grown crops are already showing some slight differences in plant morphology. Mainly that the LED crops are more compact and have better pigmentation. The LED grown crops are also slightly larger in size mainly due to the higher level of PAR produced by the LEDs. Below is a comparison of the crops grown under the different light sources:

 

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Topics: Aquaponics, Fish, Niles

System Update: Frasier 5/10/17

Posted by Conor Quinlan on May 10, 2017 2:30:00 PM

System #1

Frasier 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

04/26

7.1

0.25

N/A

0

225

79

30

1.30

04/28

7.0

0.25

N/A

0

-

78

-

1.32

5/03

6.5 to 7.1

0.25

N/A

0

-

76.5

-

1.37

5/05

6.4 to 7.3

0.25

N/A

0

225-250

76.5

35->50

1.50

04/24/17 -> Total Hardness: 420 mg/L CaCO3 equ
Calcium Level: 78 mg/L  Magnesium level: ~54.5 mg/L
Phosphate Level: ~ 20 mg/L (as PO4-)

 

Water Quality Overview:

The pH has finally reached levels low enough to add K2CO3. I have added a total of 150 grams to the system from 5/03 to 5/05 which had a significant effect on the pH but had some unexpected consequences. K levels actually decreased since our most recent lab conducted water quality test from 16.3 mg/L to 14.7 mg/L. The addition of K2CO3 will begin increasing this concentration fairly rapidly.

On 5/03 50 grams of K2CO3 was added to ensure the change in pH and alkalinity was not too extreme. The pH increased from 6.5 -> 7.1 because of the very high solubility of the compound. MgCO3 and CaCO3 are dependent on lower pH for greater solubility where as K2CO3 is not. Upon retesting the system on 5/05 the pH had dropped dramatically to 6.4. This is much faster than expected but 100 g more K2CO3 was added on 5/05. This increased the pH to 7.3. This should retain the pH for a longer period of time with the alkalinity at 50 mg/L. It Is possible that the feeding rate is great enough to substantially increase the effects of nitrification causing the quick drop in pH. On the other hand, this larger addition of K2CO3 will improve K levels for crops. Since there is plenty of Mg and Ca in the source water K2CO3 will be my pH adjusting compound of choice until K levels are sufficient (>150 mg/l). This will allow us to utilize more fruiting crops in our system in the near future.

The most recent laboratory based water quality test was received early this week. Low levels of Mn and Mo were reported, the kelp powder did not add significant levels of these micro nutrients. We have therefore ordered chelated Mn as that is the nutrient causing the most severe deficiency problems. Mo is only required is very small amounts to encourage optimal crop growth. The lab tests currently show none available, so we are hopeful that this will not become a problem. 

P has risen significantly since the addition of super triple phosphate, 1.26 mg/L to 5.83 mg/L, therefore 50 grams per month will continue to be added throughout the life cycle of the system to keep strawberry production and quality high.

Among the more significant problems discovered with the water quality test is the accumulation of sodium in the solution which is becoming toxic to many crops. The two sources of sodium are source water and fish feed. The most significant is the feed. We are currently looking at alternatives that are more ideally suited for aquaponics purposes. 

Fish Update: The tilapia in system #1 are finally eating the appropriate amount of feed for their size and are up to consuming 188 grams/day which is nearly 70 grams greater than the feeding rate on 4/24! This means that the fish are close to weighing about 100 grams each. I am hoping that the higher feeding rate will being adding more micronutrients to the system, particularly Mo which is a difficult micronutrient to source.

As you can see the fish tank is getting darker due to the higher feeding rate of the fish. They are difficult to see but have grown substantially. The feeding rate will be kept constant until the water clears some. The darker water is a sign that the fish are at their feeding capacity

Crop Update: The crops are still producing very well and the beans harvested last week were delicious despite a couple nutrient deficiency (mainly Mn and K). Crop quality should increase significantly now with the addition of K2CO3. A couple cups of micronutrient hydroponic blend have been added to the solution to temporarily raise the Mn and Mo levels while more viable fertilizers are found. A chelated Mn powder will be used to raise the levels of this micro nutrient. Mn is definitely causing the most significant deficiency in both bean and strawberry crops and will need to be corrected as soon as possible.

Sodium is turning out to be a significant problem and is likely the cause of previously observed plant growingproblems. The herbs oregano and thyme aren’t growing well and even other crops like swiss chard and spinach appear to be impacted. A test will need to be done to demonstrate the effects of hydroponic solution with reasonably levels of Na compared with the effects of high Na. Many crops remain unaffected by the high sodium levels including the mixed lettuce, strawberries, peas, beans, rosemary and lavender.

The peas are now producing fruits and the strawberries are developing very nicely! Beans are continuing to produce very rapidly as well!  No problems to report here despite the deficiencies observed.

In the image the peas have grown so large that they have to be placed on their sides to keep from hitting the lights. The peas will continue to be wrapped around the PVC poles as they grow.

You can see the dramatic change is strawberry crop size from 4/24 to 5/5. Most of the varieties are bearing fruits and many are already producing side shoots (runners) which produce more individuals. These should be cut in the NFT channels. You can see the Mn deficiency forming slightly on the upper most leaves with a light green color. So far the rest of the crop remains unaffected

 

 Finally, you can see the strawberry crops beginning to form and the peas are looking exceptionally great. 

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Topics: Aquaponics, Fish, Strawberries

System Update 4/27/16: Niles

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Apr 27, 2017 2:30:00 PM

Niles

 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

04/19

7.7

4

N/A

0

0

73.6

85

0.65

04/24

7.7

>8

>0.05

0

0

68.2

90

0.70

 04/24/17 -> Total Hardness: 190-210 mg/L CaCO3 equ
Calcium Level: 40 mg/L           Magnesium level: ~24.3 mg/L

Water Quality Overview:

It has been over 10 days and there is no nitrite or nitrate formation yet. This is most likely because of the low water temperature with no heater attached. The NH3 concentration are reaching toxic levels and care must be taken to ensure that ammonia does not rise further. If nitrite isn’t forming by the end of the week we will try inoculating the media bed with media from system #1, that should help grow the bacteria a little faster. 

Fish Overview:

The tilapia are doing better than the locally sourced fish in the Frasier system. It is apparent that the source of the fish greatly influences their quality and feeding rate.  Using the feeding rate of about 80 grams/day the fish are estimated to be about 20.5 grams each which is already a 4 gram increase over the last 12 days.In the images belowe you can see the change in size of the tilapia over the course of the week. So far, the fish are gowing as anticipated. 

 Crop Overview:

The mixed lettuce will be transplanted into system #2 once the fluorescent lights go up. We should have those ready to go by the end of the week. With no Nitrate being formed and the high levels of Ammonia the crop growth will not be optimal. The water temperature is having a significant effect on bacteria colonization in this system. 

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Topics: Aquaponics, Fish, Niles

System Update 4/26/17: Frasier

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Apr 26, 2017 2:30:00 PM

Frasier

 

Nitrogen (mg/L)

 

 

 

Date

pH

Total Ammonia

Ammonia

Nitrite

Nitrate

Temp (Fo)

Alkalinity

mg/L

EC (mS)

04/19

7.25

0.25

N/A

0

225

76.5

45

1.28

04/24

7.15

0.25

N/A

0

225

76.5

35

1.25

04/24/17 -> Total Hardness: 350-360 mg/L CaCO3 equ
Calcium Level: 64 mg/L  Magnesium level: ~48 mg/L
Phosphate Level: ~ 25-30 mg/L (as PO4-)

Water Quality Overview: 

Nitrate levels are remaining constant while total hardness and EC are falling slightly. This is most likely due to the large addition of 45 gallons of source water on 4/23. It is significant enough to assume the system has reached the peak production capacity for now. The level of crops that can be supported in the system is more than we expected for the current feeding rate of 120 grams per day.

The pH is finally beginning to drop significantly with alkalinity levels dropping. Even with the addition of the source water(which has a higher pH levelof 8) the pH still managed to drop significantly. It shouldn’t be much longer that K2CO3 can be added to help raise the K levels.

The addition of the 700 grams of kelp powderhas made a significant difference in the concentration of trace nutrients. We have shipped out a water sample to see the concentration of all nutrients and compare them against our previous sample from 2 months ago. 

Fish Update:

The fish are doing well but with slower growth than anticipated. It is apparent now that the source of the fish is the source of the problem. The high quality tilapia recently added to the second system are feeding and growing better, already consuming slightly over 4% body weight.

The feeding rate for the Niles system is now at 120 grams/day. This is enough to sustain the crops in the system with a couple additions to correct the trace nutrient concentrations and increase K and P levels. It is quite surprising that the crops can be sustained on such a low feed amount. Tomatoes and cucumbers are still unable to pass seedling stage, suffering severe deficiencies, It will be some time until they can be added to the system. A lack of K seems to be the main source of the deficiencies.

In the first image below you can see what the fish tank looked like on 4/17 and in the second what it looked like on 4/24. The water has cleared up considerable since adding the kelp power which quickly dissolved nutrients into the system within the matter of a couple days.

 

Crop Update:

We have seen great improvements since the addition of the kelp powder. All previous trace nutrient deficiencies on the bean crops are nearly gone and even the K deficiency has let up quite a bit. 

 

Since the addition of 50 grams of super triple phosphate the growth of the strawberry crops also appears to have improved immensely. Nearly 75% of our strawberries now have flowers and some are even beginning to form fruit already.  The lower humidity since 4/19 (<50% humidity, 35% average) is causing some cracking on the lower ends of the beans but other than that they look very healthy. The humidity doesn’t appear to be affect any other crops in the system right now. 

You can see a dramatic change is strawberry crop size from 4/17  -> 4/24 . No more crops have died since our initial planting, a very good sign. 

Below is an image of the flowers that are being seen on many of the strawberry crops. All of the varieties appear to be doing well. The Earlyglow and the Sparkle are doing much better, even better than the Cabot variety which is now showing some Ca deficiency due to transpiration problems.

The peas are also flowering heavily and should be producing fruit very soon.

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Topics: Aquaponics, Plants, Fish

Aqueduct System Update(Frasier)

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Apr 20, 2017 11:30:00 AM

The Aquaponics Team has opted to nickname our original system "Frasier" becuase Scott has a terrible sense of humor. Moving forward you can distinguish which system we are talking about by the name used in the post title. 

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Topics: Aquaponics, Plants, Fish

Meet "Niles" our second in-house aqueduct

Posted by Conor Quinlan on Apr 19, 2017 2:30:00 PM

In some of our previous posts you may have noticed that we are building a second Aqueductsystem in our warehouse. This new system features a Float Bed Expansion rather than the NFT bench on our older system.  To help our readers identify which system we are talking about, we have decided to call this new system “Niles.”

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Topics: Aquaponics, Aqueduct Development, Plants, Fish