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PostPosted: Feb 26th, '18, 19:24 
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Took 6 months of fits and starts to get this started. Scotty435 and Mr Damage largely held my hand through the process in my intro thread, Hi Folks and Bell Siphon Cycle Time.

It has been almost four weeks since Sara and Maybelle, 1 ½" Fantail Goldfish, were brought home and the first grow bed was planted. Sara is smaller and all gold. Maybelle is the slightly larger Calico, yellow gold with black markings. Her name may be changed to A.P. if rumors of mistaken gender persist.
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Sara and Maybelle share their 20-gallon fish tank with an as yet unnamed pair of yellow Mystery Snails and some severely abused aquatic plants.
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This is the first of two planned growbeds made from restaurant bus tubs. The lettuce on the far right was planted about a week before the growbed was ready and transplanted into it. Bright green ones are Sweetie Baby Romaine and next to them are Sea of Red Cutting Lettuce. Several Romaine in the left rear are thinings that were tossed into the corner where they took root and grew. Surrounding the gravel guard are five basil plants. A casual remark about growing basil indoors is what got me started on this cockamamie adventure.
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Here is a closer view of the newer plants on the left. In the back, between aforementioned Romaine and Basil are four tightly grouped Common Thyme. Slightly in front of them are three Cilantro and in the bottom left corner are two Big Italy Parsley. Several Spinach planted in the lower right of this picture didn't sprout. A couple days ago I dropped a second seed into the same rockwool holes. At the same time I sprinkled a some radish seeds in several places; they sprouted within a day or two.
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You can't really see it in the picture but the cilantro leaves seem to be turning yellow. Tommorrow I will get a cuttlebone for the fish tank which I hear is good for snails and cilantro and should add calcium to the water in the growbed. I'm wondering about other minerals, like iron, necessary for plant growth and human nutrition. Would appreciate any guidance forum members have to offer on that subject. I also plan to visit a bait shop this week to pick up some earthworms to live in the constant flood growbed. It started out as flood and drain but I lacked the experience to pull that off, exaspirating Mr Damage I fear. May revisit that in the future.

The plan from the beginning was for two growbeds on shelves above the aquarium. Bought two bus tubs. In a couple/few months I'll add the second. Sara and Maybelle may need to grow a little. In my minds eye there are also two buckets in the system, one for tomatoes, the other for jalapeños.

Any and all feedback will be very greatly appreciated.


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PostPosted: Feb 28th, '18, 21:31 
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Now I see yellowing leaves on the thyme as well as cilantro.
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Petco was out of cuttlebone. Ordered these from Amazon; eta tomorrow.
Advice? Related to constant flood?


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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '18, 01:26 
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If it's the new leaves that are yellowing first then it's probably an iron deficiency. Different types of iron are available at different pH's or you can spray them on which avoids the pH issue. I don't have a lot of time at the moment or I'd go through the full explanation - try a search for chelated iron if no one posts back with more detail.

General yellowing is usually a nitrogen deficiency - I think yours is iron deficiency though.


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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '18, 05:40 
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Thanks for looking at it Scotty. I ordered 1 lb. of chelated iron, DTPA - 10% from Amazon to arrive Friday. It may be nitrogen though. The nitrate number is dropping and that lettuce is growing pretty quickly. Maybe it is just more than two little goldies and two snails can keep up with? I'm posting another picture of the growbed as of today and water test numbers since filling the aquarium on 9/1/17. Neither fish nor plants added until 2/1/18.
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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '18, 12:42 
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Looks like you have a nitrate reading. I'm almost certain that this is not a nitrate shortage. I've had systems that show no nitrates at all and they still don't have a shortage - they're just using it as fast as it's formed. Your system may get to the point where there is a shortage but it's not there yet. Hang in there and treat for the iron when you get your supply :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '18, 12:54 
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Thanks, Scotty.

Setting aside the possible nitrogen deficiency for the moment.

The local utility claims 2016 tap water contained, on average 0.06 ppm iron with testing results varying from 0.01 to 0.27. So it seems safe to assume virtually no iron currently present in the system. To bring it up to 2 ppm I will add 1.5 grams of the 10% chelated iron when it arrives Friday and add approximately 38 mg to each two-quart jug of dechlorinated water for future use. Then I'll see what that does to pH and reassess first of next week. I'm boring you with this because it took every bit of arithmetic from my third-grade education to figure it out and hoping you'll warn me if I'm doing something stupid. :think:


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PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '18, 01:47 
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It's not so much that the iron solution will affect the pH it's more that at certain pH's the iron is locked up and no longer available to the plants. The DTPA iron you ordered should work fine at the pH you currently have.

I only glanced at the numbers but I think you'll be OK.


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PostPosted: Mar 6th, '18, 06:55 
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Friday evening added my best guestimate of 1.5 grams chelated iron to the 20-gallon aquarium.
Attachment:
File comment: 1½ grams?
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Planning to add three ppm to all the future water replacements. I dechlorinate 3 gallons (11.36 liters) of water at a time so will add 34mg to each batch. 5 Gallon Bucket Hydroponics is the vendor and they recommend 5 ppm, but they also say, "Apply weekly and ensure multiple irrigation cycles occur between applications." That makes zero sense to me unless it was copied and pasted from instructions for use with plants in soil. Was difficult to guesstimate 1.5 grams. No way I can do that with 34 mg so a scale for small amounts arriving from Amazon Wednesday. Also wondering if this iron checker is worth the $84 investment.

The iron dyed the water yellow a little but doesn't seem to bother the fish or snails.
Attachment:
File comment: Yellow water
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The white thing floating front right of the tank is a cuttlebone for birds made with a minimum of 25% calcium and 5% salt. Ordered it, before Scotty weighed in, on the recommendation of an aquaponic youtuber who said it would cure yellow cilantro leaves as well as, according to the package, sharpen fish and snail beaks. Up to then my snails deliberately avoided each other. After adding the cuttlebone they started following each other around the tank, kanoodling to beat the band.
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File comment: Lovey-dovey?
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It is too soon for me to be able to judge the effect of the iron on the plants. There is necrosis on the bottom leaf of some, but not all, of the basil and parsley plants. More thyme leaves are afflicted with chlorosis and little if any change to the cilantro. Overall basil and radish growth may have accelerated.
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File comment: Basil
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File comment: Thyme
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File comment: Cilantro
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    Am very interested in feedback on the strategy of iron dosing all future water replacement at 3ppm.
    Any experience or opinion regarding the value of the iron checker?


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PostPosted: Mar 9th, '18, 23:45 
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It has been a week since the first dose of Iron Chelate. Cilantro and thyme are improved. The whole bed is doing well. Raised the lights twice this week.
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File comment: Cilantro
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File comment: Thyme
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File comment: Whole bed. Empty section in front left was intended for spinach but can't get it to sprout?
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Added water today to replace evaporation. Replacement water dosed at 3ppm.
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File comment: New scale was inexpensive and much better suited to the task.
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File comment: 11 quarts dechlorinated by boiling 20 minutes.
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Attachment:
File comment: Bottled and ready to add
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PostPosted: Mar 11th, '18, 07:41 
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Attachment:
File comment: Thanks for the cuttlebone, but it's a little unhandy don't ya think?
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Attachment:
File comment: Much better! Thanks boss.
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DSCF0022.JPG [ 69.92 KiB | Viewed 2573 times ]

Sara and Maybelle, the goldfish, give it a quick lick many, many times a day. For the salt, I guess.


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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '18, 00:30 
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I'm calling the routine addition of chelated iron and liquid kelp successful despite darkening the water.
Attachment:
File comment: Nitrate and ammonia may not be zero exactly, but close.
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File comment: This may be all the plants the system can support.
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File comment: At least until Sara & Maybelle grow a little more.
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Attachment:
File comment: No more chlorosis on cilantro or thyme
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Attachment:
File comment: Started pinching the tops back to force more branching below.
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DSCF0010.JPG [ 96.04 KiB | Viewed 2482 times ]

Will watch for signs of nitrogen deficiency.


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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '18, 08:33 
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Looks good :thumbright:


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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '18, 03:58 
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This is the dechlorinated water fortified with .3 grams 10% chelated iron and 1½ teaspoons Liquid Kelp added to 11 quarts, 3.75 gallons water. It is the color of apple juice or weak tea but becomes clearer pretty quickly when added to the system.
Attachment:
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This is today before top-off. Only slightly darker than normal.
Attachment:
DSCF0001.JPG
DSCF0001.JPG [ 77.18 KiB | Viewed 2451 times ]


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PostPosted: Mar 24th, '18, 04:42 
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I wasn't going to plant anything else until nitrate supply increased or demand decreased but there was an empty spot where the spinach wouldn't sprout so on an impulse I shook the seed, or whatever they are, from a dandelion puffball into the empty spot. Hope I don't regret it.
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PostPosted: Mar 25th, '18, 07:34 
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