The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Aquaponic observations

Aquaponics water testing

Daffodil bloom budBack when I was first getting the pH and ammonia levels in my aquaponics tank close to recommended values, the water went crystal clear. I'm now realizing that sparkling water is actually a bad sign in aquaponics.

In contrast, as soon as I did a partial water change and began seeing both nitrites and now nitrates in the water, turbidity levels rose once again. Those nitrogen-converting bacteria --- not stirred up sediment --- must be what's causing the cloudiness.
I'm thrilled to be able to see my microbial partners as they work!

In other news, one of my forced daffodils is already sending up a bloom bud. Looks like my grow bed is going to turn pretty sooner rather than later!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Is your water acidic or alkaline? How do you get water that is either back to PH 7 (or so)?
Comment by Nayan Thu Jan 12 08:43:20 2017

I don't know about the turbidity idea. In my two years of aquaponics, I usually had crystal clear water. The plants grew well.

I had about 3 sq. ft. of growbed, and three to four inches worth of comet goldfish. In the beginning I tested a lot, and worried about levels... In the end, I found if I just keep the fish fed and water oxygenated it tended to level itself. I would toss in some unfiltered creek water and some lake water if you have one near you. Build a robust ecosystem with local organisms.

I do think the best choice for fish is a comet goldfish. It is beautiful and very hardy, basically a koi for a tenth of the price.

Comment by Eric in Japan Thu Jan 12 09:49:41 2017
Bacterial bloom causing cloudiness in a new aquarium is a common occurrence. It is almost certainly not the nitrogen processing bacteria whose slow reproduction leads to the multiple weeks required to cycle an aquarium biofilter.
Comment by Scotts Thu Jan 12 10:12:45 2017

Hi Anna and Mark,

Most impressive. Where did you get your testing kit and how much $$. And what are you using for directions? Maybe as a downloadable .pdf?

I have had a MUCH lower tech system running. Heater just failed I hope

my gold fish have not failed?

warm regards to you both,
Comment by John Thu Jan 12 16:08:47 2017

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