12/17/2015 at 07:41 •
Man, two jobs, holidays, big projects.
Anyway, the 5g bucket still lives, though I had a plant-crash - possibly due the diatomaceous earth, but I also sprayed lavender essential oils at it, and it was closer to that, that it crashed. It was an attempt at flea, well, it turned out just to be flea-mild-repellent.
I need to 'reboot' my plants, but the fish are still fine. I've just tossed in Chia seeds in the meantime.
08/09/2015 at 05:01 •
Its been a while, I got an additional job which has required some brain-time investment.
Photos! White speckling is the diatomaceous earth again.
Its gotten super leggy, and I've yanked off some sprigs (well, 12" long ones) to try drying them out. I haven't peeked into the fishtank part in the last two weeks, but I see the fish when I feed them, and they act as they have been the whole time. I checked chemistry (ammonia) a week or two ago, all good on that front. Have added water w/in the last two weeks, and need to again:
The lightsource is a water/weather-proof LED strip, it was too long to fit all into the bucket, so there's a reflection outside it. You can see the ghosty roots, and the algae on the window-panel.
A little closer/better view of the root-forest. Soon as you pull the pot out of the water, it looks *way* less impressive, hah.
06/25/2015 at 04:43 •
Last update was 24 days ago! Well, had many foster kittens and got a new additional job! Which causes lack of updates.
June 15 -
June 24 -
My job and kitten wrangling didn't stop the catnip. Its blooming now. Yes, the torn/holey leaf is from cat noms. The white speckles are diatomaceous earth (cats, possible fleas, bad!) The leaves are enormous, and until the cats try investigating/nomming, the stems stay upright. After they tip, the tops keep aiming for the light. There's a lot of new growth in the 'center' of the pot/grow area, small leaves, lovely dark green.
Not very visible in the picture, are roots shooting down into the water in the bucket. The roots are also getting some 'fuzz'/algae growth on them - which the upper portion of the plant doesn't seem to mind at all. Since the water-circulation method isn't high throughput, sediment (from food) does seem to accumulate easily. The minnows don't seem to care much.
Water Science Data:
San Diego tap water, dechlorinated w/aquarium water dechlor stuff (chloramines, mostly)
Hardness (GH) - somewhere between 150 and 300ppm, hard/very hard
Alkalinity (KH) - between 40 and 80ppm, which is low/moderate
PH - a good 7'ish, not more than a half point off 7 right now
Ammonia - between 0 and 0.25, so perfect
Nitrite (the bad one) - a pretty 0
Nitrate (the good one) - an awesome 200ppm or more
Phosphate - between 2 and 5ppm, not actually sure what this means, but for the liquid-based test kit I got the "pond" version instead of the "aquarium" one, so I have Phosphate instead of Nitrate. My nitrate number is from a little dip-strip thing (along with GH and KH). I was hoping it would give me an indicator for blooming/fruiting capacity.
So, one big advantage to dual root zone - aka - DIRT ON TOP indoors and with lights on, is that you don't get:
Algae/mold/etc growing all over. That green sprig in front/center of the photo is the top bit of a broken-off branch of the catnip plant, and I just pushed it into the hydroton in the Aqualibrium system that sits next to my 5g bucket. The thing on the right is a mint plant, its all leggy and fairly yellowish (though still green) compared to the catnip. The cat-grass (wheat) is very yellow and dying. This system has guppies, and guppy fry, at the moment - which means its got plenty of chemistry working for it, but I think the algae/etc is 'eating' a lot of what the plants want. And its such a pain to clean this thing. The tank-section also has algae, though the water-science is ok yet. I need to do work with this thing to make it better.
06/01/2015 at 02:30 •
May 31 - earlier this week actually got some burlap, cut to size'ish, and made the grow 'bed' dual root zone. Plopped in a catnip plant (one of those pre-starts from the pet store), so that something easy/resilient and prolific could keep the system running right.
That slightly darker spot in the burlap, near the center, is the water burbling up through the air-lift tube. It doesn't need to 'wick' into much of the burlap, a tiny amount will get where it needs.
Plant plopped in.
Side/tank view of same, the water level is *just* under the netpot. This went down about 1/2-1" fairly quickly (2 days), due water being held in the soil - AND the burlap.
This was the next day, and the burlap is obviously damp. The plant is doing better of course. I did tear off the bottom bound-up layer of roots when I planted. I added some water from my aquarium (goldfish, 30g).
Plus 2 days. I trimmed the burlap, to stem evaporation as the fabric never went 'dry'. Possibly could trim further, but might have dirt-into-grow-media issues then.
Plus 3 days. Added water 'yesterday', to about the initial water level seen in first 'side/tank view' photo. Plant has been spun around a little for light (light is a single CFL).
And here's the side/tank view (same day as previous photo), good spread, and damn it, I need to add water again! Silly plant and/or burlap.
My other issue is the simple feeding-tube-hole. Condensation inside the bucket means food will stick in the tubing - or the side of the bucket. I'll need to use a little scoop/spoon or something perhaps.
05/04/2015 at 04:30 •
Had time and motivation to do more work today.
Installed a better/longer airlift tube, created the feeding/water-adding/water-testing um, tube.
Tossed in some hydroton while I find some fabric to use, I'm thinking hemp would be optimal (mildew/mold resistance), in a weave typical of burlap fabric.
I got two 'Rosy Red Minnows' from the pet store, which feels so weird to my brain, hah. BAIT SHOP! Nope, not out here, not like what my brain thinks of anyway. 0.15/each. I've mostly only run goldfish before (feeders or large pond comets), am running guppies currently in the Aqualibrium system sitting next to the 5g bucket, so figured why not, lets try minnows.
04/26/2015 at 22:12 •
Restarted for version 2 this month.
Cut the 'window' in the 5g bucket, made it large. Marked on bucket w/sharpie, at the outer-edges of the lexan sheet held about where I wanted it. Then marked corners in from that. Used a dremel to not-quite-cut-through the plastic along the lines, and used a knife to slide along those dremel'd grooves. Smoother edges that way on the window-hole.
Siliconed the window to the window-hole, on the inside. First try, leaked at a corner. Second try added more at the leak point, but didn't fix it. Third try put silicone around the entire inside edge of the lexan, fixed!
Filled with water, let sit overnight, no leaks. Setup next to the Aqualibrium system, so its in my face to get looked at and checked on and fish fed. Hopefully I will have it running in a couple-three weeks. It'll be staring at me to finish it.