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  1. #1
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    New System Root Issue?

    I'm hoping someone here can help quickly before I lose everything. I just setup an Aquaponics system ~2 weeks ago. Plants (strawberry) have been and still seem to be growing good. Fish are doing well (Goldfish). I have my water running from my fish tank to the PVC Pipe, then back to the tank, no swirl filter yet. Today I pulled a plant out just to check the roots, and they are encased what looks like "gel" not sure how else to describe it. Pretty sure there is something really wrong and am hoping someone can point me in the right direction before I lose all the plants / fish. See attached image(s).


    Anyone know what I should do?
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  2. #2
    Aquaponics 101 Oliver's Avatar
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    Update 11-02-2016 9:50 PM MST

    One thing we have learned through experimentation is that if you pump fish tank water through a water based system, be it DWC or NFT, your plant roots will act as a fish effluent filter with the results you have seen. The water being supplied to these grow troughs must first be filtered, either mechanically or through mineralization (as descrided below), in order to remove the suspended fish effluent.

    As we do not believe in removing the solid fish waste from the system (thus throwing away half of your nutrients and most of your minerals, see Aquaponics 101, Part 6: Improving Water Quality), some form of filtering must be done prior to the fish tank water entering the troughs. One way to accomplish this, to a degree, is to first send the water to your deep media beds where much of the effluent will settle out and be mineralized, assuming you have designed them to be large enough to accomplish this. The water coming from from your deep media grow beds can then be routed to your troughs, and if they are lower than the media beds and higher than your sump or fish tank, then no additional pump will be required.

    The second way is to use a mineralization tower as described in Aquaponics 101 Part 6 and flow the water from it to your troughs.

    The third, most effective and more costly way, is to mechanically filter the suspended fish effluent solids out of the water and then send them to the mineralization tower for processing. This requires a filter capable of removing solids above 20 microns or less, thereby preventing them from entering your clean water path. You then send the clean water from the filter to you grow beds and troughs and return the mineralized water from the tower back to the pump input by way of a tower sump tank for another trip through the filter.

    This process not only sends clean water to the troughs but also to the media grow beds allowing for cleaner media and the ability to support more autotrophic bacteria, which will be needed to process the additional ammonia produced by the mineralization process. It also makes the mineralization of the solids very efficient, thereby enhancing the overall system efficiency. It allows for the doubling of the number of plants as compared to a system that removes the solids and discards them.

    Oliver
    To measure is to know

  3. #3
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    Looks like everything you mentioned was right on and I read the posts you related to. I did the following things:
    - Decreased the amount of fish in my system (goldfish).
    - Setup a mechanical filter. I already had an electric one you can buy from the store, but I also looked up / read / watched YouTube and took a design from all that and built a swirl filter and integrated it into my system. I'll know in a week or so if it's working good. The last couple days my water has drastically cleared up however!
    - Started feeding my fish much better food based on suggestions from a bunch of forums, instead of the flakes most people feed goldfish with.

    My roots are looking a ton better now. I washed off all the "gel" from the roots, popped them back in the system, and they strawberry plants are shooting off new healthy white roots!

    Thanks for the help!

  4. #4
    Aquaponics 101 Oliver's Avatar
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    One more thing I forgot to mention that is in AP-101. Purchase some API Stress Zyme. It is Heterotrophic Bacteria, which will help greatly with the mineralization process, keeping your water much clearer.

    Oliver
    To measure is to know

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