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 Post subject: Tookairr's Studio System
PostPosted: Mar 5th, '10, 07:51 
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Hi All,

I am a new member here and have just gotten my system up and running. I posted a photo of my set up in the Small Systems thread but I figure I should make my own thread now that I am seeing progress!

I have a basic flood and drain system set up with a 30 gal fish tank (Rubbermaid storage container) and the grow bed above it. Since my apartment has little to no natural light, I have 2 twin tube florescent shop lights above my grow bed. My pump is an ECO264 submersible pump with a ball valve to regulate the flow. I also have a simple aerator in the tank. My growing medium is basic gardening gravel from Home Depot. I chose this because of its low price compared to clay pellets.

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For fish I currently have 8 goldfish (1-2" long) and one Plecostomus . My system is still cycling, so I am keeping a close eye on my Ammonia and Nitrites levels until I get some bacteria in there to help out with that! But as of right now, everything is looking good.

6 days ago, I planted Arugula, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Basil, and cilantro, and today both my Arugula and Lettuce sprouted! I love seeing plants grow from seed. Its a magical experience. Below is the arugula.

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In the near future I am planning on throwing a few worms into by grow bed after all of the rave reviews worms have gotten in this forum!

As always if anyone has any questions, suggestions or comments about my set up, I love to hear them! I will post some more photos of my actual set up and plant growth here soon.

Happy growing!

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PostPosted: Mar 5th, '10, 14:12 
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Nice start. It will be interesting to see how it progresses...

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '10, 05:30 
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Hi AP Friends!

Thought I would do a quick update on my system. Things are growing! My arugula and lettuce are growing very well, with tomatoes and basil in a close second. For some reason the cilantro has not been sprouting very well, but I have not given up hope!

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I have lost a few goldfish. I am now down to 4. I added salt to the system (~1ppt) for general well being and the next day 2 fish were dead. I think this may have been due to shock from the change in water salinity. The remaining goldfish appear to be doing well, though I am not planning on adding any more until my system has cycled.

Nitrites are beginning to build in my water they have been slowly increasing to ~2 ppm. I did a 10% water change today to try and bring this number down a bit until my bacteria colony matures and begins converting Nitrites to Nitrates.

Added 5 earth worms to the system last week after reading such rave reviews about them in this forum. Haven't seen them since and I have to believe they are doing well.

So far no physical or technical issues with the system, of which I am glad. Even though I have just begun, I am already formulating how to modify and improve my current set up!

I have ordered and am anxiously awaiting a new Master Freshwater test kit, since I have not been too impressed with the multifunction test strips I have been using. I also have ordered a salinity test wand. We'll see how that works.

Spring is here and I need to go play in the sun now!

Happy Growing!

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '10, 10:16 
Welcome Tookair....

Just a quick note... most of us use compost worms in our systems... as opposed to earthworms...


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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '10, 10:24 
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Thanks for the beta on the worms, Rupert... I am a bit unfamiliar with where one would pick up some compost worms... any suggestions?

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '10, 21:21 
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A few possibilities:
fishing worms are generally the correct ones, so a packet of those from a local store.
Google for local sources of composting supplies
Craigslist.org

I'd definitely go for the first option as the quantity, price, and availability are good. You might find out when fresh ones are delivered and get them that day.

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '10, 23:28 
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Great! As it turns out I did buy fishing worms, I guess I just assumed they were earthworms as there was nothing on the box to say otherwise. Does this look like the right kind of worm?

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I did a search online and found a bunch of places which will actually ship you worms for composting, but buying them from the fishing store was a much better deal!

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '10, 11:13 
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Beats me. Sorry. (*hangs head, embarrassed by lack of knowledge*)

Cross fingers or ask the store or call the source. Chances are good that they are the right ones as long as they are sold as worms rather than nightcrawlers.

I'd just release them where the solids are building up in the gravel (place them under something like a bowl to shade them). Check in a few days: they will probably be an inch or two under the surface, right under the "solids", enjoying their endless buffet. *grin*

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '10, 11:32 
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[quote="Tookairr"]Great! As it turns out I did buy fishing worms, I guess I just assumed they were earthworms as there was nothing on the box to say otherwise. Does this look like the right kind of worm?

Hard to tell without something to give a sense of scale, but that looks like a night crawler to me. Compost worms (sometimes sold as "red wigglers" by the bait shop) are skinny and uniformly red. They don't have the dark dorsal coloration and prominent clitellum of the nightcrawler. Here's a side by side comparison pic:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2145/221 ... a43922.jpg


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PostPosted: Mar 21st, '10, 00:15 
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Madrone: Thanks for the pic. I think you are right about them being night crawlers. I'll have to keep my eye out for some red wrigglers!

Just got my API Test kit in the mail today! I had been using some quick dip strips which tested for Nitrite, Nitrate, Total Hardness, Total Alkalinity and PH because that is all I could buy in my town, but these were hard to read, with large intervals between the color coded results. I was not impressed and not recommend them. My API kit seems to be fantastic, and for the first time I got a Nitrate reading! My levels this morning were:

PH: 8.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 5
Nitrates 5

Do these levels look to be alright for a new system?

Plant growth continues to progress, and I am hoping that things will start growing noticeably better now that there are Nitrates in the system.

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PostPosted: Mar 21st, '10, 03:59 
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These are my red wiggler worms:

Image

Image

Although the pic is taken from my compost bin, I do have some that sit under a mat of synthetic cotton that catches a constant 24/7 stream of fish waste solids

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PostPosted: Mar 21st, '10, 04:03 
Tookairr wrote:
Just got my API Test kit in the mail today! I had been using some quick dip strips which tested for Nitrite, Nitrate, Total Hardness, Total Alkalinity and PH because that is all I could buy in my town, but these were hard to read, with large intervals between the color coded results. I was not impressed and not recommend them. My API kit seems to be fantastic, and for the first time I got a Nitrate reading! My levels this morning were:

PH: 8.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 5
Nitrates 5

Do these levels look to be alright for a new system?

They're OK...as long as you don't have fish in yourr system...

If you do... then salt to 1ppt immediately ... to mitigate against any effects of the "nitrites"


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PostPosted: Mar 21st, '10, 06:12 
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I did salt to ~1ppt the other day when I saw that the nitrites were on the rise and my gold fish seem to be doing ok.

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PostPosted: Mar 21st, '10, 06:30 
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I have also been doing periodic water changes to bring down the nitrite levels as well, which now that I think about it will lower my salt content. Is there any way to test salt levels? I am sure that by now I am below 1ppt, but I am hesitant to throw in more salt without knowing how much is in there right now.

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PostPosted: Mar 21st, '10, 07:05 
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Tookairr wrote:
I have also been doing periodic water changes to bring down the nitrite levels as well, which now that I think about it will lower my salt content. Is there any way to test salt levels? I am sure that by now I am below 1ppt, but I am hesitant to throw in more salt without knowing how much is in there right now.


You could always buy one of these $9 Instant Ocean Hydrometers and do a specific gravity test... I'm not sure what measurements are on this device... My mother has one that she uses for her saltwater tank but I don't really "mess around" with that stuff >.<

http://www.petco.com/product/12201/Instant-Ocean-Hydrometer.aspx?cm_mmc=CSEMGooglebase-_-Fish-_-Instant%20Ocean-_-928887&mr:trackingCode=CF6E1416-8381-DE11-B7F3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA

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