We Will Grow On You!

Alberta Aquaponics - We Will Grow On You!

Words Of Starks And Gardeners…

To all the Game of Thrones fans, you will get the title. For those not Game of Thrones fans, simply the weather is changing and its time to prepare.

For us here it is our annual migration of some plants and fish into the house to the indoor aquaponic gardens.

Last night Donna and I prepped a couple of growbeds, added in another fish tank and got it plumbed to a third aquaponic growbed and pulled some of the already grown plants from the greenhouse to populate them.

The tank we set up is a 70 gallon and is hooked up to a Fluval canister filter that has nothing but the sponges in it, feeding out to the growbeds which are ebb flow going back to the tank bellow.

It seems that every time I set these up, I get the same questions as to why I am using an expensive canister filter over just an in tank pump going directly to the growbeds.

The answer is actually fairly simple and comes to the basics of aquaponics.

In aquaponics, it is the bacterial breakdown and conversion of the ammonia in the fish urine to nitrates and nitrites that is useable by the plants to sustain them and not the solid waste of the fish which actually clog up and choke out the aquaponic system.

By implementing in the canister filter I am able to block out a large majority of the solid waste mass and clean it easily, minimizing the issues that could be created by the solid build up in the growbeds. This process also leaves the liquid waste of the fish flowing through the filter uninterrupted to the media in the growbeds and the home of bacterial load for the for the aquaponic cycle to take place.

Yes, the filter is more expensive than that of a standard in tank filter, but the long term payback makes it worth while in my mind.

With the setup we put together last night, we brought in water from one of the aquaponic systems in the greenhouse to fill the tank and give things a bit of a jump start with the new media. The water already holds some of the bacterial load to speed up bacterial development to some capacity and the water is already “fish rich” with nutrient to get things going for both the bacteria and the plants.

We brought in a few herbs, some kale and some clippings of the Trinidad scorpion peppers for the down stairs and added in a bell pepper, kale and herbs in the living room system.

The plants are looking a little depressed from the move, which is normal. They should however pick up over the next couple of days and start looking a lot happier for the move.

I will likely bring in fish tomorrow afternoon to add to the tank, giving the tank and system a good full day of build up before adding in the stressors and destabilizing the water system. I expect that I will add in around 10 to 15 fish depending on their size.

For the other fish in the greenhouse, we will be consolidating the three tanks down to one tank for this season and doing a test run of a couple of beds to see how the new greenhouse holds up for a full winter of growing, but that is another subject for another post. 

(Sorry the pictures are a little messed up. I will shut down the LED lights next time before I start taking pics.)

Category: Updates