BC Growers Association


Informally, one would describe aquaponics as the combination of hydroponics (growing plants without soil) and aquaculture (fish farming). In an aquaponic system, the fish provide nutrients required in plant growth and the plants, in absorbing these nutrients, help to purify the water.

Here are some Links to aquaponic related  websites

Harvest Springs Horticulture Inc - Home of Steve's Sweet Water system
Aquaponics.com - Aquaponics.com is the source for information on aquaponics, hydroponics and aquaculture.
S & S Aqua Farm - Bioponics System
Arizona Aquaculture - information about aquaculture in Arizona, the United States and around the world
Aquaculture Research Institute - University of Idaho
Aquaponics - An integrated fish culture and vegetable hydroponics production system.


Time -2:07, 1 Dec 1998
From Vic High

      Hey guys, just back from Vansterdam. Finally got to meet with Breeder Steve.
      He's quite a generous guy with his time, and boy can he roll big joints! He rolled
      a J of brand X that must have been a whole 8th! Rope will get me stoned, so that
      was way out of my league.

      What did get my attention was his aquaponic setup that he calls "The
      Sweetwater System".It employs a double res setup, one typical, and one
      being a fish tank loaded with fish. Water in the two res's are exchanged
      regularily (something like every hour). He says he never cleans his fish tank, as
      all the plants and bottom feeders use up all wastes. Plants are fed with drip
      emmitters via the typical res. pH doesn't fluctuate and the ppms remain between
      300 and 400.

      Now these drip emmitters fed two setups. One was a traditional "dutch pot"
      system. You know, the one where each plant is grown on a 5 gallon pail? He
      used a 5 or 6 inch basket that was 3/4 filled with those red balls (I think they are
      an expanded clay called "hyrotron"?). Steve then covered the red balls with 1"
      layer of a blend of worm castings and "Steve's Special Blend". The Special
      Blend (2-6-5) is an organic mix comprised of green sand, rock phosphate, fruit
      bat quano, feather meal, steamed bone meal- regular & fine, kelp meal,
      sunflower seed hull ash, canola seed meal, cotton seed meal, alfalfa meal,
      langbeinite, corn gluten meal, pyro clay, diatomaceous earth, and calcium
      peroxide. Initially, the low nitrogen surprised me, but then after I thought about it,
      I realized that the plants were probably getting all the nitrogen they needed from
      the fish tank. I believe there was an air stone in teh bottom of each pail. Seven
      weeks ago Steve planted tomato seeds into the medium and now the plants are
      3 feet tall and have softball sized green tomatoes on them. WOW!

      The second setup was basically a large table, 4' high, covered with something
      like 1/4" dense plastic. Holes were cut in it to hold the 4" or 5" net cups. Again
      the cups were filled with the reddish clay balls and topped with the special blend
      and worm castings. Again the net baskets were fed with drip emitters. What
      interested me is what happened under those net cups.

      A large pond liner tarp was suspended under the net cups to catch the water
      and funnel it back into the typical res. There was about 3' between the bottom of
      the net cups and the bottom of the tarp. And you know what this means?????
      LOTSA ROOM FOR ROOTS! Big roots equal big buds in my book. This feature
      had me totally stoked!

      I'm one that has had little respect for the hydroponic side of our hobby for some
      time. I've watched others playing with the large numbers of clones and shaken
      my head (legal risk). I've watched them fight pH drifts and shaken my head. I've
      watched them fight root rot and shaken my head. I've watched them lose entire
      crops due to pump or power failures and shaken my head. I've watched them
      pumping in the chems (hurting the environment) and shaken my head. I've
      watched them be proud of their 1-2 lbs per light in their high intensity gardens
      and shaken my head. Well I've stopped shaking my head for this one. Steve's
      way of working with the Dutch Pot system seems to take care of all my
      hydroponic concerns. I just wish I wasn't too stoned to have asked him what he
      fed his fish and why his emmitters didn't clog.

This is an ongoing thread at Overgrow.com, but wanted to archive it as a place to start. I have other aquaponic discussions archived somewhere, I'll add them as I find them.

                           Topic:   aquaponics-ever try it?
                              posted October 31, 1999 04:40 AM

                           The smoothest smoking buds ever are the result. I kid you not. The plants grow beautifully, not a burnt tip
                           anywhwere. The only way for me indoors. Much more to come on this subject, believe you me. A delicacy!

                              posted October 31, 1999 04:47 AM

                           hey steve,

                           yeah i'm pretty interested in that aquaponic setup you have...

                           do the fish actually give out enough ppms to feed the plants? you would think that the nutes would be
                           really low for the fish to survive.

                           it does make sense in one way though, if the fish are happy then the plants would be happy...

                           hope you can post more about this...

                              posted November 01, 1999 01:06 AM

                           Have pondered this theory once upon a time. Cool to have a proven follow-up.
                           I'm very happy to see you've found a method that works.
                           I'm quite interested in hearing about the basic setup.

                           I hear ya on the plants thriving if the phish are.
                           Same holds true with earthworms in soil.

                           Solid work my friend.

                           breed the trees,

                           [This message has been edited by minty (edited November 02, 1999).]

                              posted November 01, 1999 06:02 PM

                           i tested my aquarium water once it was 1100ppm, but what was in it don't know(ratios) how much is
                           uneaten food and how much is waste from the fish. i dunno.

                           breed the seed and overgrow the world. good growing to you.


       Vic High
                              posted November 02, 1999 11:16 PM

                           Ahh now this would be the life, could actually convert me to a hydro head, haha

                           Just think, sit back amongst yer plants, smoke a fatty and toss a line in the res, fishing in paradise!! haha.

                           Steve, I shared what little I learned in my visit with ya, but it was defiantely lacking. So quite teasing us
                           and teach us buddy. I missed points like whether you worry about monitoring NPK ratios as the crop
                           progresses. Do some fish give better nutes than others?

                           Persoanlly, I saw a large table sharing a common tarp and a few bucket systems. I prefer the idea of the
                           bucket system due to it's flexibility and allowing the grower to maximize the density of his/her canopy. Any
                           thoughts on this?

                           I also noticed that both setups you had on display allowed for large root systems. A few of us are big
                           believers in the idea that big roots equal big flowers. Any thoughts here?

                           I have loads of questions, but I'll stop short here for now, haha.

                           got my email?

                              posted November 03, 1999 04:08 AM



                              posted November 04, 1999 06:47 PM

                           From what I've read Carp or Tilapia are the best fish to raise this way and you can eat them. Catfish
                           probally would work. Of course the stuff I read was on raising fish to eat and using the water for
                           gardening. This technique also requires several hundred if not thousand gallons of water. A large fish tank
                           should be able to support some plants. The concern would be the hardinest of the fish more than the


                              posted November 06, 1999 02:46 AM

                           Typical aquarium owners change 30% of the water every week. This is to protect the fish from the
                           accumulation of toxic waste in their habitat. I'm talking about their own waste choking them. Aquarium
                           enthusiasts are all ready familiar with the nitrogen cycle, for the rest of you here it is. Ammonia is the most
                           poisonous of the nitrogenous compounds to the fish, it is also the first to accumulate in the water as a
                           result of the fish waste. As the ammonia level rises during the first few days of operation, and given the
                           proper conditions (ie aerated surface area), beneficial aerobic bacteria called nitrosonomas begin to feed
                           on the ammonia converting it into the less harmful compound nitrite. This is still toxic to the fish, but not
                           as toxic as ammonia. As the nitrite level rises, given the appropriate conditions, another species of
                           nitrobacteria (nitrobacter) colonizes feeding on the nitrite. This reduces the nitrite to nitrate, the least
                           toxic of these compounds to the fish. The aerated surface area is known as the biofilter, an integral part of
                           this technique, for this is where the good bacteria colonize. This cycle takes twelve days to control the
                           degradation of ammonia-nitrite-nitrate. For this reason most people begin with a few small fish and
                           gradually add more after two weeks, when the biofilter is bacterially balanced. As you know these three
                           nitrogenous compounds are essential to the health of your plant, which will readily suck them out of the
                           water. A foliar feed with this water will green up any plants, guaranteed. By bathing the roots continuously
                           with this water, the plants are sponging the nutrients out of the solution hence cleaning the water further
                           than the filter. When the water returns to the aquarium it is heavily aerated, which is of the utmost
                           importance to the health of populations of beneficial aerobic bacteria. These bacteria not only process
                           nutrients into a plant soluble form, and clean the water for the fish, they also inhibit the proliferation of
                           destructive bacteria by a process known as competitive exclusion. Once the solution is dominant with good
                           bacteria monopolizing the available food sources, bad bacteria is unable to gain a foot hold. When one
                           spore of bad bacteria comes in contact with a sterile hydroponic solution, it multiplies rapidly and disaster
                           is the inevitable result. In a healthy aquaponic system that spore is a snack for more established helpful
                           bacteria. The plants are protected and fed by the beneficial bacteria. The only supplemental nutes given
                           are organic and used sparingly. It is definately a less is more scenario. I use Earth Juice Catalyst for PH
                           down. PH up is merl mix, ground oyster shells and special lime. I top dress around the plants with a tbsp of
                           castings. Repeat as necessary. I fill up the foot of nylon stockings with my special blend of guanos, ashes,
                           mineral rock, kelp, and feed meals. I drop this in the aquarium for added bloom food. Rapidly algae starts to
                           eat at it, and a horde of algae eaters attach themselves to it reducing it to plant soluble food. Any and all
                           deficiencies in any garden can be rectified organically.
                           For best results use only one aquarium for your entire garden, mothers, clones and all stages of growth. If
                           your garden is staggered you balance the demands on the water, as the plants have varying nutrient
                           requirements at different stages of growth. I keep the most diverse range of creatures in the aquarium to
                           fill all the niches. The more lifeforms, the greater the balance. I could go on and on, I'm writing a book on
                           growing cannabis this way. Your questions are important to me. Some other nice things about this are that
                           you never have to change your solution, just top it up. The plants sprout and finish with an average of
                           275ppm. Remember that the probes that measure dissolved salts only give a very rough picture, they
                           cannot measure life. I'll check back here if anyone wants more information and has specific questions. Yes
                           Vic, more roots=more plant. Cheers!

                           Sinserely Steve

                              posted November 06, 1999 08:27 AM

                           hey steve,sounds like "Jaws"{g13xgws}would fit right in ..lol ..i'll have vic get with ya in a couple weeks
                           i'm currently running an organic room and an aero room http://genhydro.com/index2.html using GH's aero flo
                           2 ...what benefits do you get vs a standard organic setup? and is root waste a problem with your
                           setup?...nice to see ya around...

                              posted November 06, 1999 10:20 AM

                           In response to some excellent e-mail questions I told the person I would reply here. I thought that I may
                           as well answer here as more will share his questions. Water temperature and fish types? As the primary
                           reason for our system is the highest quality cannabis possible the water temperature must be optimum for
                           the cannabis. I find this to be between 22°C-24° Celsius. Most tropicals are all right with this, the feeder
                           goldfish are fine, until chow time, which is all the time. To the surprise of my fish dealer I keep fish
                           together that theoretically won't live together due to differing PH preferences, ie hardwater cichlids from
                           some of the best ganja producing lands in Africa, (calcium rich soils around Lakes Malawi, and Tanginyka,
                           PH 7.1) These hardy fish do quite well in a tank with southeast asian and amazonian varieties that prefer
                           something around PH 6. In general the grass likes 6.2. I let it move around a little because in my
                           superstitious mind that allows the freeing up of things I barely understand. If it has risen to the high sixes I
                           will bring it down, even with apple juice or coffee, unless I feel it needs a boost of fert, then I give it a
                           tbsp of EJ Catalyst as I mentioned earlier. I have little freshwater crabs, lobsters, snails, eels, and a huge
                           variety of "suckers". All of these keep the tank clean. Instead of just feeding the fish flakes and pellets you
                           will likely derive much more pleasure and taste from your garden if you keep a small auxilliary tank for
                           raising feeder guppies. I keep the fancy guppies whom are now referred to as gourmet guppies and scoop
                           out a bunch for the main tank before I plan on watching the cycle of destruction and renewal. Get a book
                           on aquarium layout to maximize the aesthetic of your tank with well arranged rocks, driftwood, and aquatic
                           plants. I've been sucked into one aquarium for two years so far. Much better than TV.
                           Yes, cooler water = more oxygen holding ability. Too cool or especially too warm can also mean root
                           problems. Measure the temperature of your root zone and adjust the aquarium cooler or warmer to keep
                           your roots healthy. We're here for the grass.
                           The supplemental sources of P,K and micros are all natural, and can be applied easily to specific plants in
                           the garden as a topdressing of blended guanos, ashes, meals, and unrefined minerals ie seabed deposits,
                           langbeinite, rock phosphate, etc. By topdressing specific plants their roots hold the dressing in the rocks,
                           largely for the use of this plant. This makes it possible to grow a variety of plants off of the same reservoir.
                           A bit of an organically derived tea is gradually released into the water as a result. This benefits all the
                           plants. I keep over three times the recommended amount of fish in my aquarium. One inch of fish per gallon
                           of water is the traditional aquarium formula. The reason for the standard formula is that the water is dirty
                           too fast and the fish suffer. However the traditional aquarium is not filtered through an 8000 watt grow
                           room full of weed at all stages. The aquarium/reservoir is 90 gallons. The one I am setting up in Europe is
                           twice the reservoir for about 24 000 watts of grow space. You'll see how it goes. Most of the grow gurus
                           were decidely skeptical when I told them what I'd found, too many of their friends sell chem nutrients.
                           These grow groupies are now the ones that offer to blow me for .5 gram of aquaponic grapefruit (not for
                           sale) The reason is there is no finer way to grow palatable cannabis indoors, good soil is good, but not
                           better. As far as quantity of harvest there is one thing to remember, that chem salesmen say all the time,
                           "The plants don't care about the source of their nutrients, they'll use whatever is available to feed on."
                           Which is my point exactly, as long as everything necessary to feed the plant is properly provided for it will
                           feed just as fast. It may take you a little practise to be certain that your organic fert is plant soluble on
                           schedule, compared to the soluble salts you are conditioned to using, but it's worth it. Even if profit is your
                           only motive, when you achieve the same yield with better pot you can still charge more. I don't feed my
                           plants chemicals for my sake, I'm the one that is going to taste it. Someone was recently telling me the old
                           "Well the plants can't tell the difference!" and I was about to reply the usual "Well I can", when I told them
                           "If your dog is getting into some really foul garbage, ie eating someone's vomit, you would pull it away
                           wouldn't you, because it doesn't know any better, but you do or should." I've met the proprietors of many
                           hydro chem companies, I scare the shit out of them. The owner of the largest American hydroponic
                           nutrient company was telling an audience how his new formula more closely mimicks nature. "More like it
                           mocks nature" I told him afterwards as I presented him with the opportunity to smoke some incredibly
                           sweet ganja and after visit the bio aquaponic garden it came from, his eyes went wide and his face had
                           the stunned glow of someone caught with their pants down. If the glistening bud in my hand scared this
                           old timer, just imagine if he smoked it and saw a healthy garden indoors in organic hydro. It wasn't very
                           nice of me, but it was amusing to see this very self-assured man go from strut to split. I'm still laughing at
                           him. What a shyster, he even admitted he eats organically produced food, for the taste. Sells you cancer.
                           But he is a bit player in the grand scheme of things. See if phosphate poisoning is a problem in a water
                           source near you. Identify it's source, and then see if you can pour your excess wasted nutrients down the
                           drain everyweek with a good conscience. Food for thought, eat good food! Ciao for now.

                           Sinserely Steve

                              posted November 06, 1999 11:16 PM

                           Wow. When is the book going to be available ? What would you say to someone whos only grown in soil
                           and want to switch. Great work.

                           Be KIND,
                              posted November 07, 1999 04:36 AM

                           Practically all systems are convertible including tubes and soil. Soil requires a larger volume of water than a
                           recirculating system. Try a kiddie pool with gravel and young koi, as they age you can appreciate them,
                           breed them, or sell them. If you have a lot of plants to feed, start off with plenty of frogs and turtles as
                           well as fish, etc. The diggetty doo for the ultimate boo!

                           Sinserely Steve

                              posted November 07, 1999 11:59 AM

                           The book will be at least a year and will have plenty of pictures. HT article in 3 months with pics and
                           diagrams. Fair enough? I'll be doing a grow seminar talking about it, and answering questions at the cup.
                           This is good practice.

                           Sinserely Steve

                              posted November 07, 1999 06:51 PM

                           Steve! Incredible 1st. of all. We have a few common friends that have been trying to get Me to Your place
                           to check this out. I've been dabling w/ aqua, bio, and hydroponic hybrid systems for a little while now and
                           have visited a couple aquaponics farms in the midwest US. I'm soo glad to see some1 w/ Your capacities
                           sharing all this "Top Shelf" info. I'm a huge buff of both the grow and aquarium stuff Myself w/ a lil goldfish
                           farm using a towering type delivery system trickling through growrock. It's merely a huge wet/dry filtration
                           system on steriods allowing 3 fold plus on the amount of creatures in the h2o w/o any amonia problems.
                           Now the 1 and only grow shop in the metro wants 1 in there window as does My fish supply buddy. It's
                           great of You to share the method of achieving propper nute ratio's via juggling species and additives.
                           That's been the missing links here. I also have great luck combining species that aren't intended for thses
                           ph ranges. I've spent more time keeping the the fish looking happy than focusing on the plants as it's been
                           just a new way of filtering really, I didn't know how/what to alter for the plants and the fish are in the
                           window too and must look presentable. Man o man I cannot wait to apply this new knowledge to the hobby
                           arena full tilt! I'm very grateful for Your willingness to share Your outcomes etc. w/ Us rather than guard it
                           w/ Your life as the chem. guru's try to do. I can only imagine that man's face and I was almost laughing to
                           tears visualizing His potential future there dwindling at Your "mocking nature" comments and backing it up
                           w/ product to boot! Balls, brains and common sense is something lacking big in this world today as a
                           combined package(You) and thanks again for sharing it! I look forward to future info bigtime and will keep
                           everyone posted on what I come up w/ as I begin this journey Myself.
                           Peace and keep up the great work
                              posted November 07, 1999 09:36 PM

                           Steve I'm wondering if You started w/ the African species named Tilapia? I know it's the trend around here
                           for aquaponics, but it is also for meat production too. I know they are a very hardy fish that can handle
                           different temps, ph etc.. I'm wondering if most have chosen this fish for its ease of care or if it has much if
                           anything to do w/ proper nutes? I never knew enough about true organics to understand why You use
                           what kinda poop,quano etc. and how that may tie into the choice of Tilapia fish for thier aqua units
                           excrimate wise. Is it along those lines or merely just a very easy fish to farm for profit along w/ thier top
                           notch greens/herbs for all the trendy restruants in the Ozark's.
                           I have found in My hybrid bioponic/nft system that the taste, flavor, pest resistance and overall
                           appearance is outstanding. We(You) are essentually duplicating the most beneficial micro-organism's ability
                           to interact and exchange beneficial acids(humic etc.), enzyme's and antibiotics at the plants root levels
                           resulting in like You said...The most incredible(not for sale) treats known to Our community IMO.
                           Man I just returned from a vaca in Your neck of the woods and sb or Vic threatened to introduce Us and
                           see the man in action. I did get to BC for almost 24 hours before having to race home to Kansas for an
                           emergency damnit. I think You were in Europe at the time anyhow sadly.
                           I have been dying to talk w/ someone on this level of understanding for the longest time and My limited
                           resources have shut mine down for the moment. Since We haven't been introduced and You probably hear
                           soo many different webnicks I'd like to say I'm Blazer. A 31 year old parapledgic that has run out of
                           western medicine options at the moment for the massive back reconstruction. Well they failed Me 4 times
                           and I now have 3 breaks instead of 2 that pinches nerves on whats left of My severed spinal cord. I also
                           have incurable/uncontrollable muscle spasms in every part of My body that I no longer have control
                           over(chest down completly). The herb hasn't helped w/ the pain alot, but flat kicks ass over any perscribed
                           muscle relaxer's that just eat Me guts away everyday now. I'm searching for the most effective and easy
                           means to accomodate My want/need for med. use and use whatever is left to pay the out of pocket
                           exspense of accupuncture treatments that do more good than any western doctor!
                           Well that's My lil Bio. I just didn't want You to think I was wanting to try and market YOUR project or the
                           like, I need it for Me personally. If I can drop the chems totally it will make My paralyzed ass MUCH easier!
                           Just top it off w/ fresh h2o, check ph and be on My way. Thanks again Man
                           ps. Keep in mind at the moment I'm all kinds of pie eyed and just on a rambling/brainstorming kick after
                           reading the posts. Although I know I'm just a lil off center so maybe I did get a lil bonus head injury along
                           w/ the spinal cord! ROFLMAO

                              posted November 08, 1999 03:18 AM

                           Dear Blazer, I was just about to suggest Acupuncture, it's pretty amazing, eh? Still in Europe, I live here
                           now. I'm only too willing to share what I learned, I feel like I am seeing the light while most people are
                           behaving like heathens in the dark ages. Hence I am going door to door with the conviction of a Jehovah's
                           witness to save us all from the wretched chem pot (extends to food as well). I am hardly worried about
                           someone copying this, it is for all to copy. It is nature and is for the benefit of all it's inhabitants. To
                           reduce pollution is everybody's business. I had some tilapia but the oscars ate them. To be honest, I was
                           going to start this thread in the beginners area, they might as well start right the first time, and become
                           perfectionists. The first time I tried it I was thoroughly amazed at how easy it was. The few people that
                           had problems their first time always had a glaring omission, no mother marsh bio-filters, ph 7.5, drowning
                           soil, or bad temperature. Keep it between the lines and read the plant. The revolution has begun. Once
                           people become accustomed to the quality of the produce, it's just a matter of time until everyone demands
                           it, ie tomatoes that taste like tomatoes, pot that tastes like pot. Most people have forgotten, or never
                           knew how good things should taste. Once you realize how bland or synthetic most supermarket produce, or
                           Amsterdam weed tastes you will be appalled.
                           Blazer, I sympathize with your back problems, mine has not reached that stage yet, thankfully I declined
                           the operations, however now and then my fifth lumbar pops out and I know that pinching pain. Absolutely
                           debilitating weeks in bed, I know pot mainly just cheers me up, homegrown opium is the ultimate muscle
                           relaxer, read up on growing some and processing without making slits in the garden, that's illegal. My back
                           improves from it's episodes much quicker when the muscles go so slack the bone pops into place. Best of
                           Luck and I hope that you're feeling better.

                           Sinserely Steve

                              posted November 09, 1999 02:15 AM

                           Steve! I like how you approached feeding your plants!(a nice,cumulative wide spectrum arrangement) I too
                           have been looking at the literature regarding aquaponics, but after looking into it, i talked myself out of it
                           because of the nature of the plants that are(at this time)being used,that seem to be better served by the
                           Nitrogen-Rich fish soup,from start to finish.From what ive seen,the "visible" trailblazing aquaponics people
                           seem to be growing leafy-type, quick production crops like lettuce,spinach,basil,herbs..and not generally
                           flowers,or smokable delicacies like ours. I see that you are using the nitrogenous fish waste water ,even at
                           the ends of your flowering plants life,and have to ask...how u doin that mann?...extremely soluble
                           ammonium and nitrate to the last day of harvest?.."If its there;They will eat it" rite?..As you know,organic
                           budfarmers in other mediums or methods,generally plan the nitrogen release to time out before harvest . Is
                           the total PPM of soluble ammonium and nitrate(from the fish)low enough,so as not to become an issue for
                           our flowering plants?..A separate "clearing res" would allow for a break from the N,rite,or do you feel its not
                           as big of an issue as im making it?....please tell ,thanks..
                           can u describe the setup sometime pleese? ie. irrigation method,medium,how the res is
                           arranged/aerated/cooled,containers etc..appreciate it

                           ..Totally respect you(et al.) for blazing trail through the cannabis patch and coming forward with your
                           findings mann.........hibe

                              posted November 09, 1999 11:46 AM

                           Hibe...Get out of My head man! It's kinda spooky coming here to ask a Q only to find You beat Me to
                           it...AGAIN! You and Az are always on the same wavelength w/ My melon too and it's just really odd IMO. I
                           was glaring at the cieling trying to get to sleep lastnight and was pondering this too. If I understand it
                           correctly, the low ppm of the fish h2o/nute allows this to not be a problem and added trace elements
                           should balance it all out I think. Hopefully Steve will have all the answer's We have yet to find
                           Check out Harvetsprings.com Hibe and look at the aquaculture farm in the ozarks, they are online too w/
                           details of thier system.. It's just soo simple other than the items You mentioned above IMO. I think Steve
                           has worked out these kinks from what I'm finding and hearing. I'm kinda banking on it. Meanwhile, I'm still
                           digging and learning too.

                              posted November 10, 1999 10:59 AM

                           Hibe. I've been playing w/ My african cichlid tank and have had awesome luck using the res. for the
                           wet/dry filter as a cloner for all kinds of plants. The kind digs it as does several species of annuals and
                           tropicals. Over the weekend I decided to place a few branches from a cosmos flower that had some very
                           immature buds on it. Well I have had good luck getting them to bloom inna glass of plain h2o in a window,
                           but when I put them into the tank w/ light they bloomed in 1 day. They still look marvelous, but does this
                           apply to anything We were thinking of above? It was the only way I could figure to see what a flowering
                           plant would/could do w/ fish h2o for a nute. It probably isn't conclusive for shit, but just a note. I keep the
                           ph up to around 7.5 for the species of fish, they really would like it over 8. Just a few lil notes on what I'm
                           seeing w/ hi ph and low ppm(300+ last time I checked). Granted this isn't by anymeans an aquaculture set
                           up, just stirring the waters a lil in My lil melon. Boy I love a challenge, but on such a tiny scale, I can't get
                           any really applicable results IMO. I'll keep digging

                              posted November 11, 1999 04:50 AM

                           Excellent question Hibe. The nitrogen level is low enough not to inhibit flowering. The nitrogen most present
                           is the softest, nitrate. It is essential to the health of the plant throughout. I increase the N in veg by
                           adding a little worm castings around the base of the plant, this is used up within a few weeks. I too had
                           heard that aquaponics are only good for green leafy crops like lettuce, or chives. When you look at the
                           massive tomatoes on Harvest Springs site you will see that this is just a fallacy. The water is rich in all
                           compounds not just N. Supplemental P and K are easily found in the realm of organic nutrients for an added
                           boost in bloom.
                           A simple system consists of buckets (the bigger the better) rubbermaid roughtotes work great. Fill halfway
                           with your choice of well-rinsed lava rock, hydroton, or gravel, aeration underneath. The buckets should
                           drain easily to a lower bucket that contains only a pump activated with a float switch. This pump returns
                           the water to the aquarium as rain (hole in pipes). The aquarium can pump water constantly to piss lines
                           (not drip) situated on the top of the buckets. The lids of the buckets are cut to facilitate a 3 gallon mesh
                           bottom pot. The pot is filled with clay corn and should have wicks. I've even fed it on syphon action alone,
                           no feed pump. Either way about a quarter to a third of the water in the tank floods the buckets until the
                           return float switch is activated, thereby draining the buckets airing out the biofilter surface area that will
                           be teeming with beneficial bacteria and massive white roots. It will grow as fast as with any
                           chemhydronutes, and taste a hell of a lot better, while be better for you. Many feel that it comes through
                           with a better buzz, but that is pretty subjective for science. I don't care; science is science and life is art.
                           Warmest Wishes People, Lotsa Love,

                           Sinserely Steve

                              posted November 15, 1999 03:05 AM

                           A few footlong Oscars produce plenty of waste which gets siphoned biweekly into a res. The plants really
                           do love it.

                           I wonder about the fish though, with the benefit of roots filtering out the "un"beneficial bacteria - what
                           effect does the addition of topdressing and various teas in the water have on the fish's health and water
                           quality necessary for their survival? Pros & Cons on Fish Survial vs Plant Enhancement?

                           The guys are big and hearty as hell but I just can't picture myself standing over the tank pouring earth
                           juice catalyst over my 10 year old south american cichlids. I suspect they would tolerate slight impurities
                           at a low level, but where and when do we draw the line before it becomes toxic?

                           P.S. Steve, there are claims that a SOL distributor resides in ON, any truth to this?
                              posted November 15, 1999 04:45 AM

                           I understand. A capful of catalyst is all we add to the tank occassionally. The top dressings are also used
                           sparingly, I don't kill the fish, the last tank I set up has run two years with the same fish. Yes, you can buy
                           Spice of Life Seeds under the counter at better headshops in Ontario. Check with OT in London, and CT in
                           Ottawa. I have to check up with OT, they may be elsewhere as well. Check with me first to confirm
                           authenticity if you wish, there is some reselling going on out there, it takes me one phonecall to see if
                           they're real, I don't want to call someone false if they really are selling my seeds. Email me for sure. I'll
                           supply them to shops but www.legendsseeds.com has them for the 'net. To keep it simple for you. In the
                           new year SOLS will be recognizable by special packaging to allay your concerns. Cheers!

                           Sinserely Steve

Ombudsman   posted November 15, 1999 11:59 AM

                           Blazer there's an article in a Grower's Edge that reminded me of your situation. It may be one that Muir!
                           was getting at. It was about a parapledgic (sp?) that opened a commercial aquaculture/hydro farm. He
                           grew Tilapias. I think it was the winter 97/98 issue but I'm not positive. It had some specs on the setup as
                           well as feedings and cycles.

                           Just when I thought I was starting to know a lot about growing, you guys throw this at me

                           Keep the innovations coming fellas.

GG    posted November 16, 1999 12:18 AM

                           I thought this was an interesting article. It's really has to do with aquatic plants but you never know, it
                           could hold some value for soil, soil based, or inorganic mediums as well. Tests should be done, we all need
                           to delve further into the art and science of growing and breeding cannabis! It truly is a wondrous plant.

steve   posted November 16, 1999 01:32 PM

                           Check out back issues of growing edge, there is one on flavinoids in tomatoes. The brix level (the sugar
                           index)only gets really high in naturally grown tomatoes. They also discuss primary and secondary flavinoids.
                           The secondary aren't present in chemically grown produce, ie the overall blandness, lacking the
                           well-rounded flavour. You will never taste fine wine from grapes grown in rockwool, or fed a bath of
                           chemical synthetics. It's all about quality to me, and I appreciate that many take a different approach,
                           with quality taking a back seat. That's your business, not mine. Heads will appreciate the heads up on this
                           very popular thread. It ain't no joke, nature that is.
                           Sinserely Steve

imgc   posted November 19, 1999 08:26 AM

                           webfish has got a real simple set up it is a 4" pvc pipe with holes cut in the top for basket pots it then
                           haas a 1/2" feeder pipe (also pvc) runs down the inside wall of the large pipe. At each cell location there is
                           a T in the supply line going to a 360 deg sprinkler head. the pipe sits on a downword incline about 1" I
                           think. with a large hole at the low end for drainage. He has had great luck with this system. He aslo has
                           the optimim PPM leavels and such. He would be a good resource also.
                           I am going to build a test system this wek.

KQ  posted November 22, 1999 08:15 PM

                           I ran across this article---pretty interesting read!

Lite-Brite   posted November 28, 1999 03:31 AM

                          While mulling around the cyber world I bumped into a link of interest to this thread:

                           Amazing stuff Steve, thanks for sharing!

And here's notes from a thread at cannabis world

Breeder Steve  posted February 03, 2000 02:58 PM

                           Dear Doctor Turner, sounds like a ninety gallon tank, roughly. Two 4X8 tables or nine big ass bushes, three
                           rows of three with 4 - thousand watt bulbs hanging in between would be fine.
                           You can use the water from the aquarium to water soil plants, or foliar feed.
                           Bonk, I will write an article on it just for you here, I used to get a good Aquaponics journal, I'll find out how
                           you can find it. Check search engines, and Growing Edge magazine. It's not difficult. It is rewarding. Here's
                           a link to www.harvestsprings.com you can get a primer there, and I'll write something more detailed about
                           pot. My back is sore and I'm just not into it now. Thanks for asking, though, it's important to me to share
                           this information. Have a great day, Steve

Breeder Steve   posted February 06, 2000 04:57 AM

                           Okay, back on topic. For those new to the subject Aquaponics is raising fish and growing plants. There are
                           many reasons why. This benefits both the fish and the plants. The plants benefit mainly from the
                           nitrogenous compounds excreted by the fish. The plants take up the fish waste products as nutrient thus
                           continuously cleaning the water for the fish. That is the short explanation. The long one is not much
                           All aquarium owners know about the Nitrogen Cycle. This is the process by which ammonia is reduced, by
                           the aerobic bacteria nitrosonomas, to the less toxic nitrite which is broken down by nitrobacteria into the
                           much less toxic nitrate. This cycle takes 12 days for the bacterias to fully colonize in a bio-filter. The
                           bio-filter need only contain a lot of surface area for well-aerated water to flow through. The surface area
                           may be rocks, plastic rings, gravel, etc. When we put growing plants into the filter, they feed off of the
                           waste of the aerobic bacteria. A plentitude of nutrients besides N compounds are also present in low levels.
                           The low levels work, meters can't show all. The domination of the nutrient solution by beneficial aerobic
                           bacteria inhibit the growth of the anaerobic bacteria that can be such a hydro nightmare.
                           The water is only topped up, not drained. The nutrient is recycled, not discharged as an environmental,
                           and overhead cost waste. It is desirable to run all stages of growth from the same system. Preferably run
                           concurrently. The plants produce as well as by any hydro standard, because it's still hydro. The plants
                           don't show any signs of overfertilization, and the buds burn very smooth to a soft, white ash. The true
                           flavour of the strain comes through and very little else. Chem Hydro can never match the flavour, only
                           primary flavinoids are produced. Secondary flavinoids only develop in naturally grown produce. The sugar
                           levels, measurable on the Brix index, are way up.
                           It's a lot more fun to design/watch an underwater world, and by the health of the aquarium upstairs in the
                           living room, you have a good idea that all is well in the basement down below.
                           I have had good success starting the plants in a light organic soil mix with coco fibre, worm castings,++++
                           and having the roots grow out wicks in the pots into a hydro or aero scenario. The plants were hand
                           watered from the top about twice a week, and misted, bathed, or flooded and drained over rocks. It all
                           Supplemental foods are possible, even some use a combination of Aquaponics with small doses of chem
                           nutrient. I like to fill up a nylon sock with several guanos, sunflowerseed hull ash (0-0-40), cottonseed
                           meal, canola seed meal, feather meal, corn gluten, bone meal, silicate clay, kelp meal, langbeinite, rock
                           phophate, greensand, and probably five or six more things that I'm forgetting. The algae eaters swarm the
                           sock and suck as it grows algae like a MoFo! They release this bloom oriented concoction as long as you
                           leave it in the tank. I'm talking about using miniature amounts of fertilizer. Occasionally I top dress the
                           plants with a tbsp of worm castings, one bag lasts a year for a garden with four lights. The fish are fed a
                           mix of live, frozen, and pellet food. All micros on the labels! It will give you great pleasure to witness the
                           miracle of life. A lot of fun, and perfect smoke!

                           Sinserely Steve

raydavies  posted February 06, 2000 09:06 PM

                           Al the Aquaponics info I could find from around the web. Thanks so much for the info 10K. Respect.


                           AQUAPONICS: Aquaponics is the integration of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (cultivating
                           plants in a water medium). Within the aquaponics system, there are three primary organisms: fish, plants,
                           and nitrifying bacteria. Each of these life forms is dependent in some way on the other for survival. The fish
                           produce manure which acts as fertilizer for the plants. Fish manure is mainly in the form of ammonia. In high
                           concentrations, ammonia can be toxic to fish. The bacteria come into play at this critical point. Nitrifying
                           bacteria convert ammonia into nitrate which is non- toxic to fish at low levels and is also the form of
                           nitrogen plants take up most readily. The fish produce fertilizer for plants and with the help of the bacteria,
                           the plants in turn clean, the water for the fish. This cycle is closely monitored through daily water testing.
                           Water quality is a key component in maintaining a healthy system. The main factors involved include pH,
                           ammonia( NH3- N), nitrite (NO2), alkalinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. Once a week a more
                           complete water test is conducted to measure iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrite, carbon dioxide,
                           conductivity, and settable solids. The combination of all of these factors helps us to asses the health of
                           our system on a chemical level. We then incorporate this information into our visual assessment of the
                           plants and fish to regulate our management schemes and analyze any problems
                           Tilapia has been called the fish of the future. A member of the cichlid family, Tilapia is high in protein, low in
                           fat, and grows out in nine months. Native to Africa, tilapia has been cultured for centuries. Also called St.
                           Peter's fish, tilapia is said to be the fish Jesus fed the masses in the Bible. Tilapia is a warm water species
                           requiring water temperatures of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It can withstand extreme shifts in water quality
                           and is an excellent converter of feed to fish flesh. One and one half pounds of good quality fish food will
                           produce one and one quarter pounds of fish in 9 months. At optimal water quality, growth rates exceed
                           that of any other recirculating system farm raised fish. Walleye, yellow perch, and large mouth bass are
                           other species of interest, but have yet to be widely proven in recirculating systems. Refer to Table 1 for
                           water quality requirements for tilapia, yellow perch, and walleye.
                           Leaf lettuce is our primary vegetable crop. We also grow small quantities of basil and watercress.
                           Vegetative crops do best based on the nutrient makeup of the system. Vegetative crops primarily require
                           nitrogen for growth as opposed to fruiting crops which need high levels of phosphorus and potassium. An
                           aquaponics system is rich in nitrogen but generally lacks the other macro nutrients in substantive enough
                           quantities to grow fruiting crops. Plants grow out in five to seven weeks depending on the season. the
                           quality of the crop is heavily dependent on fish stocking densities, bacteria populations, and overall water
                           Good management practices involve checking the fish regularly for disease. A brief examination during dip
                           netting is usually sufficient. When examining the fish look for scale loss, bruising, lesions, and discoloration
                           of gills. Lesions and scale loss can indicate fungal disease or external parasites. The gills of the fish should
                           be dark red in color. Brown colored gills indicate stress caused by high levels of ammonia. Pink colored gills
                           can indicate low levels of oxygen and / or parasites. If at any time these symptoms are noticed, fish should
                           be sent to a lab for diagnostic testing such as the Aqua vet department at Cornell University. It is also
                           good management to send fish to a lab periodically for routine disease and parasite testing.
                           PLANT HEALTH Plant health is monitored in several different ways. The color of the leaves is a key
                           indication of nutrient availability in the water. Mottled and pale leaves indicate low nitrogen and other
                           nutrients. A healthy crop is the product of good water quality and a healthy population of nitrifying
                           bacteria. Pest insects populations are monitored via yellow insect sticky cards placed throughout the
                           greenhouse. Preventative measures such as releasing ladybugs every two weeks helps to keep pest insect
                           populations at a minimum. Disease outbreaks are also controlled through preventative measures such as
                           washing the hydroponic channels weekly with baking soda and water solution. Seasonal variations such as
                           temperature and day length largely contribute to potential disease problems. It is important to be aware of
                           the environmental factors that will promote certain diseases and pest populations and to then work at
                           monitoring those conditions and controlling them if at all possible.
                           If at any time a disease or pest insect infestation is suspected, send out plant samples to the nearest
                           extension office for identification and control recommendations. When dealing with these problems, it is
                           very important to remember that anything you treat the plants with will affect the rest of the aquaponics
                           system. The greenhouse environment needs to be managed as organically as possible so as not to harm
                           other beneficial organisms living throughout the system such as nitrifying bacteria and fish
                           Aquaponic systems are designed around the specific goals of the group involved. Generally, systems are
                           either for education or commercial production. If you ate new in the field of aquaponics, we suggest you
                           investigate the many different aquaponics systems out there. Components to research are biofiltration,
                           solids removal, treatment of waste effluent, and crop selection. In addition to the physical aspects of the
                           system, you should investigate markets in your region for selling your product. This is very important. Even
                           if you have the best aquaponic system in the world, with no market for your product, commercial viability is
                           impossible. This process will help educate you about what works and what doesn't work so you don't try to
                           'recreate the wheel".
                           There are several other factors to consider in building an aquaponic greenhouse:

                           Licensing - We suggest you contact your state, county, and local offices for licensing requirements to
                           assure you meet all applicable regulations for greenhouse construction.

                           Greenhouse Structure and Cost- The construction cost will be determined by the layout of your site. This
                           refers to any existing buildings, land preparation, ect. We can make recommendations about style of
                           greenhouse to use. There are many greenhouse companies out there to choose from.

                           Aquaponic System Cost- This is totally dependent on the type of system you create. We can help you
                           estimate your construction cost.

                           Other Cost- This includes electricity, heat, water supply, shipping cost of materials, ect. These will vary
                           depending on location.

                           Project Revenue - This will depend on your products and marketing. We can suggest vegetable crops and
                           fish, but marketing research will depend on you.

                           We can assist you in making some of these decisions before you start construction of your aquaponic
                           system. Aquaponics is an exciting field with lots of potential as an educational tool in schools and for
                           commercial production
                           Ours is a simple, reliable, low-cost growing system used to produce a supply of safe, superior quality foods.
                           We integrate hydroponics and aquaculture in a closed system to produce premium tilapia and fresh herbs
                           and vegetables. Although creative, this method of food production is no mere novelty. It is a low-cost, no
                           nonsense system.
                           Complex synergistic relationships take place in an uncomplicated setting. It seems the more natural we can
                           make it, the better it works. The effluent from the fish tanks is not filtered or purified before reaching the
                           growing beds. Some similar systems are based on a hydroponics mindset and purify the water to go through
                           expensive feeder lines and emitters. In our system the growing beds are in effect fluidized bed bioreactors
                           (a most efficient biofilter for water filtration) using commonly available materials, without the need for
                           separators and clarifiers for solids removal.
                           Each growing bed contains pea gravel as a growing media. Effluent trickles through and down the length of
                           the growing bed before being pumped back into the tanks. The plants get all the nutrients they need, while
                           bacteria in the gravel remove harmful ammonia produced by the fish, perpetuating the water purification
                           process. Fish must never be left without plants in the growing beds or water purification stops; the growing
                           beds should never be permitted to dry out or bacteria in the gravel, essential for the purification process,
                           would die.

                           Simple to Operate
                           You supply the water and electricity.
                           You feed the fish.
                           The fish feed the plants.
                           The plants take care of the fish in return.
                           Plants get what they need without the fuss of mixing chemicals. The unfiltered effluent (nutrient solution)
                           is pumped straight to the growing beds through 1-inch PVC pipe.
                           After the initial effluent is pumped from each tank, the return through the beds takes from 10 to 30
                           minutes. A bucket containing a pump in each node holds 10 to 15 gallons. When this fills up, the water is
                           pumped back into the tank and forced through a PVC cap drilled with numerous 1/4 inch holes, creating a
                           showerhead effect. This oxygenates the water to optimum levels for the tilapia. Additional aeration is
                           NO WORRIES ABOUT WATERING OR THE WEATHER.
                           SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO.
                           The system is simple and revolutionary for the very reason that it does not make use of technology
                           normally assumed to be necessary for aquaculture, hydroponics, or both.
                           The system is flexible. A "node" is a tank of fish connected to one or more growing beds. A node can be
                           constructed small enough to fit into a kitchen, one or more nodes could fit into a backyard greenhouse, or
                           any number of large nodes could function in commercial greenhouse operations.

                           In addition to flexibility of size and simplicity of operation, the system is environmentally friendly. There is
                           no effluent runoff. Plants and bacteria in the gravel beds use nutrients in effluent and purify the water for
                           the benefit of the fish.
                           There is no mixing of fertilizers for hydroponic production, and the synergistic relationship between plants
                           and fish actually necessitates the use of NO chemical pesticides or medications. Clean, pure and
                           wholesome food is the result.

                           SYSTEM COMPONENTS
                           From a system point of view there are three main components of the operation - fish, plants and bacteria.
                           The rest of the hardware items are there to optimize the life cycle of each of the three main components.

                           ABOUT THE FISH
                           Tilapia, a fish that produces delicious white flesh with few bones, are a hardy, disease resistant,
                           warm-water fish. They're native to Africa and the Middle East and have been raised for food since the days
                           of the ancient Egyptians. Some believe Christ fed tilapia to the multitudes. Tilapia is the most popular fish
                           for culture in the world.
                           Tilapia are fast growing, reaching 1 to 1-1/2 pounds by 9 to 18 months, are extremely disease resistant,
                           and will provide firm, white boneless fillets (approximately 40% by weight). They are readily marketable at
                           3/4 pound and up. We prefer to sell our fish at over one pound live weight - most generally at a pound and
                           a half.

                           The feed conversion rate for this fish is excellent, with one pound of feed yielding one pound of fish. Tilapia
                           devour algae in addition to their regular feed, and excess plant cuttings add to this nutrient source. In
                           addition, they will tolerate low oxygen and poor water conditions that would kill most other fish. We have
                           found them to be extremely hardy.

                           ABOUT THE PLANTS

                           Currently we are producing lettuces and salad greens for local restaurants and subscribers for our own
                           specialty mix. Our retail sales are primarily on a subscriber, or pre-order basis, with excess being sold at the
                           local Farmers Market. Additionally, we are now producing some value-added products.

                           We have experimented with many different types of plants - ornamentals, herbs and vegetables. Most
                           attempts have been successful. We've grown from seed, from seedlings, from cuttings. We've produced
                           food crops, rooted cuttings, fresh cut herbs, and become our own supplier of starts for flowering basket
                           sales. We're excited about what this system can do!

                           Plants grow in half to one-third the time required for plants grown by conventional methods.
                           Cuttings from almost any plant (including trees) will root and grow if placed into a growing bed and exposed
                           to the nutrient-rich water, with NO rooting hormones or chemicals.

                           ABOUT THE BACTERIA
                           A healthy bacterial culture is a necessity in this system and the limit on how many fish you can maintain
                           will be gaited by the health and growth rate of your bacteria. What do bacteria need? They need warmth,
                           moisture, dark and oxygen. All these are present in our system except for the surface area of the growing
                           Plants alone do not purify the water for the fish. They only take up the nutrients that the bacteria put out
                           after they work on and convert the fish wastes. The bacteria are a critical element in the system and
                           should be treated with proper respect. Take steps to insure a good oxygen supply. Aeration of the fish
                           water by the methods we prescribe, and cultivation of the growing beds when empty will provide more
                           dissolved oxygen for the fish, as well as provide an improved oxygen level for the bacteria and plants.

                           ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND

                           There is no effluent discharge from our system, making it environmentally friendly. Due to the recirculation
                           and efficient reuse of water, only 7 to 7.5 percent of the water must be replaced per month as a result of
                           evaporation and plant uptake.
                           We believe in growing as naturally as possible, but our system also demands it. Any pesticides sprayed on
                           the plants would find their way back into the fish. Any antibiotics poured into the fish tanks to treat
                           diseases would find their way to the plants and kill the bacteria. Predatory wasps, ladybugs, lacewings, Bt
                           and other specific organically approved methods are used to control whiteflies, aphids and other pests and
                           diseases that affect the plants.

                           A minimum of electricity is used because the solar greenhouse design doesn't require it. We do all we can
                           to maximize the use of solar energy. The fish tanks are black to absorb and retain heat. Warm water, a
                           high level of nutrients, CO2 from the fish, and frequent flow are what allow us to grow all through the

                           LOW COST MATERIALS
                           Basic items for operation consist of:
                           A building - the system can be adapted to suit most any greenhouse style and size.
                           Tanks - we use hatchery tanks from PolyTank.*
                           Growing beds - may be as simple as wood, lined with plastic or as durable as prefab poly.*
                           Pumps - common submersible sump pumps are recommended
                           PVC piping and fittings
                           Water supply
                           Gravel - it's an efficient grow media. It's also low-cost, low-maintenance, and readily available in most
                           ADD fish, plants and bacteria - the three main system components.
                           *PolyTank, our tank supplier, now manufactures 4'X8' growing beds of the same material as our tanks (no
                           maintenance, and virtually indestructible).

                           OPERATING COSTS
                           Basic operating costs will include:
                           Fish food
                           Seeds and plants

                           SIMPLY DIFFERENT
                           Our system is unique.
                           The system's design offers flexibility.
                           It can be operated on a small scale or in a large commercial set-up.
                           Parts and equipment are readily obtainable, most from local suppliers.
                           Elements in nature enable the system to function successfully, not some exclusively patented device.
                           What is AQUAPONICS? 1. Aquaponics is a semi-closed loop ecosystem. 2. Aquaponics is a combination of
                           aquaculture (raising fish in a controlled environment) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil,
                           providing the nutrients to the plants mixed into the water fed to the plants). 3. Aquaponics is a manmade
                           version of Mother Nature's pond, stream, and field ecosystem. In an aquaponic system, you feed the fish,
                           the fish wastes feed bacteria, the bacteria wastes feed the plants, and the plants clean the water for the
                           fish. Fish live in their own bathroom. They can't help it, they have nowhere else to go. And fish waste is
                           mainly ammonia nitrogen, that evil smelling stuff you clean windows with. If you feed the fish too much,
                           and their ammonia laden wastes build up, the fish do the same thing that you would do if immersed in an
                           ammonia bath,... they die. Even if they don't eat the food that you toss in the tank, the natural breakdown
                           of the food will kick the ammonia level through the roof (fishtank?), and poof, dead fish. Luckily, nature
                           provides a way to eliminate this deadly hazard. Good thing for us that it does, or else the world's seas
                           would be big pools of water filled with dead fish long before man crept out of the primordial ooze. Certain
                           bacteria eat ammonia, they LOVE it. They thrive on it, can't live without it. The most voracious ammonia
                           eating bacteria are called Nitro Sommonas bacteria. They gobble the ammonia down, use it to fuel their
                           tiny bodies, and give off wastes full of nitrite nitrogen. Most fish can handle up to 10 times as much nitrites
                           as ammonia. BUT...if the nitrites become to strong, there goes the fish, belly up again. Now, fish have been
                           doing fine for eons. So obviously, something is taking care of the nitrites. Nature always provides a way of
                           taking care of wastes. This time it's another bacteria, Nitro Bacter. These wonderful little beasties feast on
                           nitrites, eat it like we would feast on ice cream on a hot afternoon. And when their bodies are done, they
                           excrete nitrates. NitrAtes are 10-100 times less dangerous to the fish. Still, if the levels of nitrates ever
                           manages to get too high, it can still kill the fish. Luckily, nitrates are the form of nitrogen that plants love
                           to eat. Not just one or two types of plants, nearly all plants love nitrates. From the lowest form of
                           blue/green algae to the tallest Redwood tree, they all use nitrates as their nitrogen source. And, next to
                           Carbon Dioxide, nitrogen is the highest chemical on the plant's food list. Without nitrogen (nitrates), the
                           plant won't grow. Give a plant plenty of nitrogen (along with plenty of light, water, CO2, and about 13
                           other tinier amount of other elements), and it grows big and strong. It also locks that nitrogen up in it's
                           leaves and stems, removing them from the food chain. When the plant dies, other forms of bacteria (along
                           with bugs, fish, animals, and humans) feast on the plant. Their wastes start the cycle all over again.
                           nitrites>nitrates>plants>animals>ammonia..." An AQUAPONIC system contains all three of the necessary
                           parts of the ammonia/nitrate cycle, fish to produce the ammonia, bacteria to break the ammonia down to
                           nitrates, and plants to feed on the nitrates to create fishfood to start the cycle all over again. In the
                           simplest classroom sized aquaponic system, the fish live in a standard fish tank. A pump that sits in the
                           tank with the fish pumps the water (and fish wastes) up to a series of troughs sitting nested into the top
                           of the tank. As the water sprays out of the pipes leading from the pump, it picks up oxygen, and flows
                           down the troughs. Plastic pots sitting in the troughs contain blocks of rockwool, a sterile growing media
                           similar (in appearance) to fiberglass. The water (and dissolved fish wastes) feeds up into the rockwool by
                           capillary action, where bacteria are cultivated. The bacteria do their thing on the ammonia, and feed plants
                           that are also growing on the rockwool cube. The cleansed water then flows down the trough, and pours
                           into the fish area in the tank, completing the cycle. More complicated (and more efficient) aquaponic
                           systems use the same basic concept, but they are more efficient at gathering the fish wastes, have
                           several types of hydroponic systems to handle separating the fish wastes into suspended verses dissolved
                           solids, more elaborate hydroponic systems for nitrate removal, and perhaps other systems to maximize the
                           growth of bacteria and removal of non-organic materials from the water. They also may contain automatic
                           monitoring systems, backup pump systems, auto feeding systems for the fish, and other systems to
                           maximize the growth of the plants. Aquaponics can be integrated into an indoor pond system to create a
                           beautifully landscaped show system. Picture a mountain lake glimmering in the sun, with fish leaping and
                           breaking its shining surface. Picture a babbling stream with fruit laden trees lining it's banks. Picture a
                           pristine waterfall feeding that stream, with vines trellising down the sparkling rocks that bracket the falling
                           water. Now picture this idyllic scene, in miniature, babbling away in your atrium or a corner of your living
                           room. It's possible, quite possible. A aquaponic system needn't be a geometric conglomeration of plastic
                           troughs and tanks. With a little ingenuity and foresight, you can form an aquaponic system into a work of
                           art. All of the basic ecological processes are still integrated into this miniature mountain glen. The lake can
                           be formed from a preformed ornamental pond. The stream can be formed from properly prepared concrete,
                           with the "fruit laden trees" being bush-type cherry tomatoes and sweet basil. The waterfalls can be formed
                           from a mound of native stone, or easily positioned mock stone blocks, covered with trellising spider plants.
                           And all of the plants can be rooted in rockwool cubes to provide the home for the bacteria that handle the
                           "dirty work". You CAN bring Mother Nature into your home, it just takes a little planning and the right
                           resources. For more information on setting up YOUR own aquaponic system, whether it be a hands-on
                           learning system for students in your school, or a awe-inspiring miniature alpine glen in your private atrium,
                           contact Hydro/Aquatic Technologies. We can help you set up the perfect system of your dreams!


       Breeder Steve   posted February 07, 2000 04:13 AM

                           Excellent post, Ray. I'm sure that explains it pretty well for most. There are a few things I would like to add
                           to that. When the water leaves the growing beds (flowering in my case) the water travels through more
                           "cells"(rubbermaid buckets filled with aerated rocks) and mothers are planted in 3gallon mesh pots with
                           wicks that sit in a hole cut in the buckets lids. This way when you harvest all or part of the grow bed, the
                           mothers continue to clean the water for the fish. After the water has gone through the beds and the
                           buckets it is returned to the fish via the float pump in the small return reservoir.
                           The other thing is conventional wisdom told people that it would only be good for green leafy crops. Not
                           True! I've grown over two pounds of rock hard killer bud using this technique with two 430 son agros! I
                           have also grown incredible Broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, poppies, strawberries, as well as the conventional
                           lettuce, basil, and green onions. All produce was beyond prime. Whatever whoever tasted said it was like
                           trying them again for the first time. "Like Wow, these tomatoes, it's like trying tomatoes again for the first
                           time." The buds are exquisite. See my above post for an idea of a bloom booster, naturally. Top dressing or
                           nylon sock. Your plants will really love you, and you will really love your plants!

       shiva    posted February 08, 2000 11:16 AM

                           I'm looking at that picture and thinking about how I would convert my current system to work with that. It
                           looks like it wouldn't be that hard. I'm interested in this bacteria/rocks filter thing ... how would that come
                           into play with an existing system like an aeroflow. I have a 60 site aeroflo, 1200 watt garden I would need
                           another reservoir, a big fish aquarium, some fish & some pumps & plumbing. I'm almost at a point where I
                           could break the "if ain't broke, don't fix it rule" ... I understand the difference between organic & chem salt
                           bud flavor. You can clear your garden & the buds are good but they don't have the same complex flavors
                           of organics.

                           It doesn't look like this would work as well if you just refilled your reservoir with fish tank water ... my
                           aeroflo reservoir goes through about 4-5 gallons a day on high demand & holds about 25-30 gallons
                           (counting whats in the tubes). I wonder how that would work, kinda seems like fish tank is probably very
                           important for keeping the pH in check. Fish would add a fun dimension to this hobby ... I've never had a big
                           tank before, just 20 gallon small ones.

                           cool thread,

       Breeder Steve  posted February 08, 2000 11:43 AM

                           Shiva, fill the tubes halfway with gravel or lava rocks, after rinsing well. Wick the pots and fill them with a
                           light organic soil mix lined with a thin layer of clay corn. The water that drains out of the tubes can run
                           through "mother marshes". If you want to go crazy run a half inch fizz hose down each tube under the
                           rocks. This helps keep the water aerated and misting inside the tube. Play with it, and have fun.

shiva   posted February 08, 2000 12:48 PM

                           I gottcha ... that would be a good way creating the rock/bacteria environment right in the tubes. So use
                           poly-wool liners with coconut & worm castings in 3inch pots ... hmm I will have to get in touch with
                           harvest springs and spec out some equip to make this happen ... I keep my moms in a partitioned off
                           section of the flowering room so routing a line to the mum reservoir would be easy. I'm very happy you
                           found your way onto the web Steve, your experience is an amazing resource and I thank you for sharing.
                           -Shiva ;-)

Breeder Steve   posted February 11, 2000 11:41 AM

                           Monitor water quality with Ph meter, aim for around 6.2, I let it fluctuate a little. Also, use a test kit for
                           aquariums, you can test for oxygen level, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and several others. The kits are
                           droppers and tubes. The optimum levels are shown on the packaging. You will see the ammonia rise at first,
                           then it drops as it is converted into nitrite, which drops as it is converted into nitrate, which will maintain a
                           healthy level as the plants absorb it.
                           If the aerobic bacteria responsible for the nitrogen cycle are healthy it will not smell. However if the water
                           is not moving enough, our the Bio filter area is not aerated enough the bacteria will not be able to do their
                           job and the water will smell foul, of ammonia, or rotten eggs. Better aeration of the solution/biofilter solves
                           this. The water returns to my tank through a series of holes drilled in 1/2" pipe that goes around the
                           perimeter of the tank. My oxygen level always reads the max of what the water will hold at it's current
                           temperature, best between 22-24°C. Talk to you soon.

Breeder Steve   posted February 12, 2000 04:26 AM

                           Dear HI420, the algae eaters swarm the sock in the aquarium, providing more food for the bacteria in the
                           biofilter which becomes more food for the plant.

                           Avoid the saltwater.

                           First get a few little fish, neons, guppies, goldfish, after the first two weeks, start adding more variety,
                           cichlids, oscars, crawfish, freshwater lobsters and crabs, eels, sharks, fresh water shrimps, cories, loaches,
                           knife fish. Your aquarium can hold a denser amount of aquatic life than your average aquarium with your
                           mega biofiltration system, the plants.
                           Grow lots of aquarium plants both anchored and floating and don't forget to add lots of hiding places for
                           your fish. Enjoy.

Why do roots exist?

by Elizabeth Worobel <eworobe-at-cc.UManitoba.CA>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 1996

Several different types of experiments have been carried out in attempts
to answer this question. The first type, first tried almost 100 years
ago, asked the question "Do rooted aquatic plants grow better with a
nutrient rich substrate or with a sand substrate and a nutrient rich
water column." The data clearly indicated that rooted aquatic plants,
though they will grow on sand with nutrients supplied in the water
column, grew far better with nutrients supplied through a rich substrate.
These experiments have been repeated many, many times since with many
different types of rooted aquatic plants and the data consistently show
that plants grown on substrates outgrow those grown on sand with
nutrients supplied through the water column.
The second question was "Which nutrients can be supplied exclusively from
the sediment and which must be supplied via the water column." The data
clearly indicate that P and N can be supplied from the sediment and that
S and micronutrients may also be supplied exclusively from the sediment
(the data for N and P is much more extensive). The only nutrients which
are needed in the water column are Mg, K, Ca and of course CO2. These
consistent for several different types of rooted macrophytes on many
different types of sediments.
The third question was "Which nutrients actually are supplied via the
roots from the sediment." This typ of experiment is much more difficult
to carry out but the evidence indicates that N and P are obtained by
rooted aquatic plants from the sediment, even when readily available in
the water column (this includes genera such as Elodea and Myriophyllum
which have small root:shoot ratios).
The fourth question is "Which nutrients can be supplied exclusively from
the water column." As far as I know this remains unanswered as it is
extremely difficult to manipulate the nutrient content of saturated soils.


dave huebert

anaerobic substrates

by eworobe/cc.UManitoba.CA
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997

Who said anaerobic substrates are a bad thing? There are several GOOD
THINGS that happen when the substrate is anaerobic;

1. Ferric iron and manganese are reduced to ferrous and manganous forms.
Both are more soluble than the oxidixed species.
2. As an added bonus, when iron is reduced, phosphates are liberated from
the ferric oxyhydroxide colloids that are formed under aerobic conditions.
3. It is true that denitrification occurs but under anaerobic conditions
nitrifying bacteria can quickly fix N2 into organic compounds. The result
is an increase in ammonia. This is beneficial since studies have clearly
and consistently shown that aquatic plants prefer ammonia over nitrate.
4. Aquatic plants in a natural setting ALWAYS have their roots growing in
anaerobic substrates. They have adapted to these conditions and indeed
some species can not produce root hairs UNLESS the substrate is anaerobic.
Additionally, repeated studies with a wide variety of aquatic plants have
shown that plants grown on fertile substrates ALWAYS grow significantly
better than those grown on sand ...even when a full complement of mineral
nutrients is supplied in the water column. Its amusing to me when I see
all this time spent on CO2 injection (especially by beginners) in an
attempt to optimize growth when the fundamentals such as light and substrate
have not been addressed properly.

BAD THINGS that can happen;

Gases such as sulfide, methane, nitrogen or combinations of these can be
formed. The solution is to take the soil you want to use, put it in a
large pail or tub, and submerge it for several weeks. Observe carefully
and if you smell sulfur compounds then try another substrate. Eventually,
like Paul Krombholz, you will find a process that works for you (even
with the unlikeliest of substrate materials :-).

A large nutrient release can occur as the substrate becomes anaerobic.
This may cause algal blooms. Again, to deal with this problem, submerge
your substrate in a large pail and let it sit for some time. Another
solution, of course, is to place 1" to 1 1/2" of coarse sand on top of
the fertile substrate to act as a seal.


Re:Growth problem & anaerobic substrates

by Stephen Pushak <teban/powersonic.bc.ca>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997

Dave Huebert <eworobe-at-cc.UManitoba.CA> wrote:
>Subject: Re: anaerobic substrates

>BAD THINGS that can happen;
>Gases such as sulfide, methane, nitrogen or combinations of
>these can be formed.

I'd like to add one or two (dozen) points to Dave's excellent remarks.
All substrates are anaerobic (or more correctly anoxic, without
free oxygen) below about a half inch of the surface. As you go
deeper down the oxidizing chemicals get used up by certain bacteria
types (aerobic, facultative and anaerobic). This change in chemical
(biochemical) balance is called the redox potential. It is positive
in oxygenated water (600 mV) and decreases below the surface of
the substrate according to depth. It reaches a minimum value (~150 mV)
at about 5-6 centimeters of depth in nature. With unnaturally high
of labile materials (such as from potting soils etc) I think you might
get the -150 mV redox potential at a shallower depth. Note that methane
formation does not occur until below -150 so contrary to what I'd said
in a previous article, sulferous substrate bubbles may be primarily
nitrogen. Certainly if they're not smelly.

The following table helps describe the relative reduction processes
which occur at these redox potentials:

the Sikora & Keeny paper "Further aspects of soil chemistry under
 conditions" 1983 in Mires: swamp, bog, fen and moor. Elsevier,
The Netherlands. table 6.1:

Possible systems operating in flooded environments as related to
redox potential (Takai & Kamura 1966 etc...)

System                 Redox (mV)**2     Micro-organisms involved
O2 disappearance      +500 - +350        aerobes
Nitrate disappearance +350 - +100        }
Mn2+ formation        below +400         } facultative anaerobes
Fe2+ formation        below +400         }
Sulfide formation     0 - -150
Hydrogen, methane form. below -150       obligate anaerobes

Paul K supplied some notes from an older article: MORTIMER, C.H.,
The exchange of dissolved substances between mud and water in lakes.  J.
Ecol. 29: 280-329.30: 147-201.

Mortimer made a graph of redox potential versus substrate depth in mud
an eutrophic lake and also in mud from an oligotrophic lake.  In the
2 cm. of the eutrophic mud the redox potential went from 600 mv to about
mv.  It reached a negative 100 or so mv. at about 5 cm. and then
increased a little with increasing depth to about 0 again.  The redox
potential in the oligotrophic mud dropped to about 150 mv. at  5 cm. and
then stayed the same thereafter.  He gives ranges for verious reductions
plant nutrients that differe a little from those you cite above:

NO3-----> NO2        0.45 to 0.40 volt
NO2-----> NH4        0.40 to 0.35 volt
Fe+++ ------> Fe++   0.3 to 0.2 volt
SO4 ------> S        0.1 to 0.06 volt.

Note that the sulfur reduction is to S, not S--.

The presence of labile (decomposible) organic materials below
about 2 inches of depth will probably lead to a redox potential
sufficiently low to produce sulfides. The long and the short of it
is that there isn't much point in putting organic components deeper
than 2 inches except for very small amounts of humus such as you
would get by removing all the organic fibers from a soil as Paul K does
to get his mineral soil. You could mix a small portion of this with
silt. Dupla laterite has about 0.1% humus I think. You need very
little to get the redox low enough to reduce iron and manganese
to their soluble states. A layer of soil 1/2 inch deep is quite
sufficient. The point of having anything deeper, I think, is to
increase the volume so that your can get enough root area for
certain plants to get enough iron. That may be a moot point if
you're going to add chelated iron such as by PMDD, Flourish, Tropica
Master Grow, Dupla-24 etc. Not withstanding, I believe that most
rooted plants grow much better with iron compounds in the substrate
such as laterite, iron rich clay, soils, micronized iron...
These iron compounds are important to the phosphate processes
which Dave aluded to since iron binds with phosphate in such a
way that plant roots can get at it.

When we talk about the bad things in an "anaerobic" substrate,
we should probably use more accurate terminolgy such as low redox
potential coupled with excess labile material. Anaerobic means
without air whereas anoxic means without oxygen. There are other
chemicals which exist in differing concentrations within the
substrate near the surface which also act as oxidizing agents
such as nitrate and at lower redox even sulfate.

>A large nutrient release can occur as the substrate becomes
>anaerobic. This may cause algal blooms. Again, to deal with
>this problem, submerge your substrate in a large pail and
> let it sit for some time. Another solution, of course, is
> to place 1" to 1 1/2" of coarse sand on top of
>the fertile substrate to act as a seal.

I've not been successful in getting coarse sand to act as a
barrier to ammonia and nitrates. I'd recommend people avoid
overly fertile materials or leach them in pails as Dave suggests.
By the way, you can expect a pail of mud-water to go low-redox
and produce mercaptan (sulfer) gases since it has no oxygen
sources such as plants and the soil is probably too deep to
permit oxygenated water to penetrate. I don't know if that's
bad. It should liberate a lot of the nitrogen and phosphorus
compounds so that they can be leached out. I'd like to hear more
about it if somebody tries it.

Paul K has mentioned he doesn't worry about the nutrient release
with most of his soil substrates because he usually grows them
without fish and using daphnia which happily eat the green water

I found ammonia production occured within the first few months
of submergence so this ought to be monitored weekly. Usually
makes stuff grow like mad and not all types of plants were able
to grow well using the earthworm casting substrate. If they had
strong, established root systems, I think most plants would have
grown ok. Crypts had no problems under these conditions and showed
no tendency to Crypt melt. I think they are at a disadvantage
under "typical" conditions and this is why they are thought to be
slow growing. YMMV.

Steve Pushak in Vancouver BC

aquatic compost revisited

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998

A few weeks ago (four, actually) I floated the idea of recycling plant
trimmings into fertilizer in some way analogous to composting for regular
gardens.  I got some interesting feedback, particularly from Steve Pushak
and Neil Frank, and decided to experiment with it a bit.

In short, the method may have worked, but its hard to say for sure.  At
any rate, nothing died, nothing looks worse than it did (some things look
better) and I saved myself some fertilizer.


The basic technique I had in mind was to take the weekly cuttings and puree
them into a sort of green soup that I'd hold, continuously aerated, until
it was substantially broken down to a relatively inert sludge and a
(hopefully) nutrient-rich solution.  The process was supposed to be
complete within a week, and restarted each week after the trimming and
cleaning.  The solution would be used for liquid fertilizer and the
remaining solids incorporated into the substrate.

What I did...

First, I stopped my normal fertilizign routine.

Then I started out just as described above, placing the pureed plant
material into an unused DIY yeast generator and bubbling air through the
mix for a couple days, then shutting off the air and letting the mix
"age".  The mix foamed a lot when it was being aerated and emitted an odor
that was reminiscent of some green leafy thing that rotted in the bottom
of the refrigerator.  When the bottle was reopened after aging the smell
was considerably more offensive.  But reaerating that eliminated the
smell.  After allowing it to settle I was able to decant a cloudy brown
fluid that I expected to use as liquid fertilizer, and I had some black
sludge left in the bottom of the bottle.

I tested the liquid for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and found none, so I
added it to the tank that most of the cuttings came from.  It was so dense
that it sank immediately to the bottom and the fish avoided the area until
it dispersed.

All in all, results from the first week were pretty gross.

In each of the following three weeks I pureed the plant cuttings and added
them to the sludge from the previous week (building up sludge in the
bottle), aerated for three days, decanted the fluid with just a little
sludge into a second jar and let that "cook" anaerobically for three more
days.  The remaining sludge was kept continuously aerated.  The
anaerobically processed liquid was again settled and decanted, tested for
nitrogen species (I never found a measurable amount of any - though there
was a show from ammonium in one batch), and the final liquid was kept
in the refrigerator for use the next day.

Over this period, the initial foaming in the aerated bottle stopped.  The
"something rotting" smell gave way to a heady bouquet that reminded me of
old sneakers.  The fluid after the anaerobic aging had a strong
barnyard odor that disappeared when it was aerated.  The final fluid
remained brown but not cloudy.  The fish didn't avoid the brown fluid
when it was added, instead they darted into it, as if looking for food.

I tried testing the final liquid for phosphorus, but I didn't get results
I could really use.  I assume there was substantial phosphorus in the
final liquid, so (per Neil's suggestion) I added a few grains of ferrous
sulfate to the liquid to sequester the phosphate.  Initially I did this
in the final liquid, after the anaerobic phase.  Later I added it before
the anaerobic phase.

After four weeks I had enough sludge left in the reactor that I needed to
find a way to use it.  I dug a shallow depression in my yard where the soil
is an inorganic, fine sandy loam, and emptied most of the sludge into the
depression.  I kept some sludge to continue the culture.  After the liquid
was mostly drained out of the sludge, I scooped it and some of the dirt up
into a bowl and mixed it well.  Then I added the sludge-soil mix to the
substrate below some unhealthy echinodorus osiris and around a few more
plants that I thought might respond well.

The principle...

The method uses bacteria to (hopefully) convert the plant trimmings back
into plant available nutrients.  It works in two phases, an initial
aerobic digestion phase and an optional anaerobic denitrifying phase.

In the aerated step, bacteria digest the chopped up plants aerobically.
That reduces the amount of oxygen that would be consumed if the plant
"soup" were returned back to the aquarium directly or held in a filter.
The aerobic step should also convert the nitrogen in the plant trimmings
from organic forms to ammonia, then nitrify it to nitrite and nitrate.
The changing smell and the change in the way the mix foamed while it was
aerated show that the bacterial culture that I needed to process the plant
trimmings developed over time.  It was pretty well in place after the
second week.  Continued success with the method requires that the
equipment is maintained to breed a bacteria culture that's adapted to the

The unaerated step is intended to allow facultative anaerobic bacteria to
denitrify the mix.  The (temporarily smelly) output from the anaerobic
step should contain little or no plant-available nitrogen and from my test
that would seem to work.  If you wanted to add nitrogen back into the
tank, then you could skip the anaerobic step.

I can't confirm that my attempt to sequester phosphorus by adding ferrous
sulfate to the mix actually worked.  But it should.  Even if it doesn't
its' almost a win-win procedure, because if the iron doesn't get locked
up with the phosphorus then it will be available to plants.

The results...

Over the last month I used no fertilizer in the tank except the output
from the "aquatic compost".  I can't make great claims for the method
based on the plant's response.  That's partly because I changed the lights
on the tank a couple weeks before starting this experiment and the plants
were still responding to that change and partly because I didn't have a
control that would tell me what the plants would do without any

I can make a few observations:

1)  The fish avoided the first batch of liquid fertilizer when it was
added, but subsequently they showed no avoidance behavior.  They also
showed no ill effects of any kind.  So the fish seem to think it was
all right.

2) I had no increase in algae problems.  I had some phytoplankton evident
in my polishing filter after the third week, but no noticable growth in
the aquarium, and no phytoplankton at all observed in the fouth week.
There are SAE's in that tank, so an increase in attached algae growth
might not be evident.

3)  None of the plants look worse than they did prior to the test period;
in fact most of them show some improvement.  Unfortunately its hard to say
what improvement was due to the lighting and what was due to the fertilizer.

4) Two of the plants are growing like I've never seen before.  Rotala
indica is growing very fast (well, duh), has developed larger leaves and
maintains a node spacing of about 3/8 inch.  It has a nice reddish color
on most of the length of the plant.  Barclaya longifolia is beautiful.
It's putting on two or three new, large and robust, deep red and olive
green leaves each week.

5)  I saved some money on fertilizer, entertained myself a little and
even grossed-out my 12-year old a couple times!

The jury is still out on using the sludge as a substrate amendment.  I
suppose that if there is an improvement from this addition that it's more
likely to be from adding fine sandy loam to the substrate than it is from
adding sludge to the substrate.

I think the method is promising, but there's still a little work needed.
In particular its difficult to keep the mixture well-aerated in the
aerobic phase of the process and to keep the culture continuously aerated
after most of the liquid is decanted and the sludge is held over for the
next batch.  Odors are obviously a problem, mostly with the relatively
mild odor from the aerobic phase.  Odor from the anaerobic phase is
offensive, but that only lasts for a few minutes after the batch is
opened and while its being reaerated.

Roger Miller

PS.  I did all that stuff in the garage - not in the house.


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