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 Post subject: Israel Aquaponic Dreams
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 01:37 
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I have an IBC that had tilapia (until they recently died in a cold snap) this drains by gravity into 4 1/2 barrels cut lenghtwise, those have bell siphons which drop the clean water into the 4" pipe which takes it all to a sump. From there the pump sends it back to the IBC.
I have planted tomatoes, cabbage, corn, cukes and a few other things. They sprout and grow to about 5" and die. I've added iron and getting kind of frustrated. Thought I was getting too much sun and built a sun cover. All to no avail. Ready for advice. My GB's are full of well washed gravel.
The pump (3000litres/hour) was too fast for the outflow of the FB so I have it on a timer, 45 minutes on, 15 minutes off)

Ready to hear feedback.


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File comment: Hefty material to make the sunshade
20130606_224227.jpg
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File comment: This was during setup. Now full of gravel.
20130315_151520.jpg
20130315_151520.jpg [ 140.93 KiB | Viewed 6193 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 01:43 
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Some more information will help narrow likely issues down. Have you cycled your system? How does your water test (hardness, pH, ammonia/nitrates/-trites)? What kind of media are you using in the grow beds?

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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 04:13 
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Hi IAP,

Sorry you're having problems. This early on it's likely to be a nutrient deficiency. Do you have any pictures of the plants and an up close pic of the growbeds? Anything would be good but closer to when they start to die would probably tell us the most.

How many fish are in the system and how about a short run down of how the system works?

I could ask a lot more questions but this might give us enough.

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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 04:24 
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Yes the system was cycled. I also have a koi pond. I added moss and water from it to get things going. The media is crushed granite. The fish were tilapia and I had about 70. They were about 2cm when I put them in and they were about 7 to 14 cm when they all died about 3 weeks ago (cold snap).
Researching what species I can get. Thinking about hybrid bass stripers. Fingerlings cost about $1.6 each! Only other options that will survive year round are mullet and carp. Neither sound so good. In the winter we can get down to 4 degrees and summer hits 28.
I just added some iron to the system. Because of my busy schedule, like all of you, I don't get a lot of time to observe if the siphons are working perfectly. I have a suspicion that it does not siphon often enough and maybe I am getting root rot. In the morning I'll take some close up pictures. Stay tuned.

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Last edited by IsraelAP on Jan 6th, '14, 04:38, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 04:37 
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A friend just told me that he thinks the gravel may be limestone. I'll try to test the water tomorrow and let y'all know.

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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 05:07 
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Hmm, I see that catfish are not considered kosher. This is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishing_in_Israel

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Catfish is (Scribble - Clarias gariepinus - Catfish) species of catfish - fish edible, but is not kosher.


Sounds like HSB might be your best bet.


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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 05:09 
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You're right about the catfish. HSB?

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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 05:12 
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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 05:17 
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Pour some vinegar on the gravel, if it fizzes, then it's limestone. And causing PH problems. Which would affect your plants.

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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 19:12 
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I did the vinegar test and did not see any fizzing. Below are the pictures of the gravel and the struggling plants.


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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 19:34 
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Just spoke to someone knowledgeable and he said it is probably limestone. If it is, now what?

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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 22:16 
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Unfortunately it will never work. You need a media that is not pH reactive. Replace the gravel (sorry, easier said than done but nothing for it ) and invest in a pH and testing kit. Without you'll be taking shots in the dark. Definitely worth the fizz test mentioned earlier, but in your area if it's just run of the mill gravel you likely got limestone which is a guaranteed stopper.

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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 7th, '14, 00:17 
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Before you go doing anything drastic like replacing your gravel, and rather than relying on the word of others or simply pouring vinegar over some of the gravel... test it properly... place a handful of the gravel into a large glass then fill the glass with vinegar. If any of the gravel contains carbonates (ie: Limestone) there will be continuous streams of very fine bubbles rising from the gravel.

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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 7th, '14, 01:39 
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Sure looks like limestone...but the vinegar test will tell.


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 Post subject: Re: My plants are dying
PostPosted: Jan 7th, '14, 20:30 
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Dropped a handful of gravel in a glass of vinegar and looked like alka seltzer. Plop plop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it was not!
Found a guy nearby who has an AP system running and he told me to go with volcanic rock, as many of you did. I have priced it and am working in that direction. My kids are bummed after all the work we put into cleaning off the gravel. That was very labor intensive!

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