Aquaponics Adventure Mark II Part VI

Aquaponics July 2nd, 2008

A continuation from part V.

I’ve learnt a fair bit since the last post. The first thing I learnt is that it’s too cold in the canberra winter to have aquaponics outside without some sort of heating. See the bacteria stops working at around 8 degrees C, and my water temps are now consistently below 8. This means that the essential ingredient of the system is effectively offline. The result is that you get high Ammonia (which is toxic to fish) and low Nitrates (which is essential to plant growth). When the plants arn’t getting enough Nitrates, they look like this:

i.e. Not healthy.

So for this to be succesful over winter, I need to get those temperatures up. So I’m going to build a dodgy little greenhouse over the top of it. This will double as a shadehouse in summer.

The second thing I learnt was what was causing that strange bloodying of the lips…

After reading about flexibacter I was able to say without a doubt that this was what was affecting my fish. I had noticed the ‘fungus’ like substance on some of the fish that died, and when the article said:

The natural course of “Mouth Fungus” is that the white fuzzies or patches are followed within a day or two by redness, ulceration and necrosis, which means that the mouth quickly turns into a gnarly mess!

I knew this was it. That and the photos look just like the symptoms I’ve seen. So now I know my enemy, I can do my best to look for signs and combat it.

The final thing I learnt was that english spinach actually sucks up salt:

Those little white specks are salt. I haven’t sprayed these buggers with salty water, my system runs with about 2 parts per thousand (ppt) of salt, and they’ve actually sucked it up and deposited on their leaves. Posting on the forums, one of the members said that english spinach does well in their salty bore water, and that it also sucks up heavy metals!!

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