Titbits 6th October 2015

What's happening to my aquaponics today.

Kailan in the #guttergrowbed getting bigger, altho they are generally thin by normal standard.

Only four pots of Kuchai in the gutter, and all are fine. Cut and gave away as usual.

Two pots of lemon grass showing good root growth.

Mint goes without saying, they had to be constantly trimmed to keep under control.

One of the rosemary cutting I planted earlier didn't survive, redo and wait.

Kailan in the CRAFTS set doing well too, there is one grasshopper feasting on it. Only one, so it's ok. Don't think this little fella will eat much after all, as long as it doesn't "call home" I'm okay with it.

Cili Bara producing chillies as they should, has to keep a close watch on fungus infection.

Making a mini #guttergrowbed set with a barrel as fish tank from surplus gutter that I have laying around.

Leeks surviving and showing root growth, will wait and see what happens.

And last but not least, I bought a flower pot stand, those waist high unit. It's for me to work on potted growbed without having to strain my back doing it at ground level.

BTW.. The haze is still bad, it starting to affect my aquaponics plants.

Doing Rosemary Update

Last 20th September I planted few Rosemary cuttings in three pots, one didn't make it.

The base plant still available and get few more cuttings to redo it.

Progress with this plants is very slow.

Together with earlier cuttings.

Single Barrel Gutter Growbed Set

Making a small single barrel #guttergrowbed set from surplus gutter. Six feet of gutter leftover from earlier set cut into two and endcapped.

After hot glue the ends, do a leak check to ensure all in good order. I had to redo and check it few times due to leaks, but the fix is simple enough to do.

Two 3 feet gutter resting on the barrel, this is one of the remaining barrel that I use for the craft barrel set. No additional support required as long as small plants are planted in this #guttergrowbed.

I intent to put pots in one of the gutter and direct hydroton in another to test out. Since it's small, it will be easy to clean if needed.

All that's left to do now is installing the siphon and water pump.

Fresh Tilapia Batch

Another batch bought from nearby nurseries fresh stocking, they are red tilapia fingerlings about 2" in length and I paid RM 20.00 (US $ 4.50) for a hundred.

As usual for any new fish going into the tank, let them float in the bag for 15 to 30 minutes, for the water temperature matching and then they can be let loose in the new place.

One hundred tilapia running around in the new surrounding, and will only feed them tomorrow after they stabilized.

Spearmint, what can you do with it ?

By accident I obtained a pot of spearmint and I don't think I have any usage for it. Done a trial planting in aquaponics and its do grow well.

I use mint in either tea or eat raw, but that is peppermint and this spearmint not that good for tea or eaten raw.

This plant don't creep like its cousin the peppermint and it grow to a bushy shrub. Trim the excess and let it regrow.

Very easy to be grown in aquaponics, too bad I don't have much usage for it.

Aquaponics Tips - Magnesium Sulphate

Magnesium Sulphate (MgSO4) or commonly known as Epsom Salt are use in agriculture to promote chlorophyll production. Certain plants like Tomatoes and Chili require magnesium for their better growth.

Epsom Salt is non organic, so if your aquaponics setup is on an organic track, you have to think twice before applying this to your set.

Looks like sugar and it is highly water soluble, application as a foliar spray is common. In aquaponics, adding to growbed near the water inlet is recommended.

You don't have to add much, one table spoon is enough for a medium size growbed. Monitor for changes in the vegetable or plants leaves and only add if you suspect that the plants "green" is not as green as you might expect.

Epsom Salt is also good as a relaxant, where you can add it to warm water and soak your feed. This is what most people use it for. In a bath and foot soak, they are suppose to have a relaxing effect on the body.

So if you use Epsom Salt as a foot soak, don't throw that water away. Put it it the aquaponics set, so nothing is wasted.

Where to buy

Food Grade (Recommended)
Most Reputable Pharmacy, like Guardian, Boots and Watson

Non Food Grade
Agriculture Shop, they sell in bulk.

Aquaponics Tips - Getting Rid of Creepy Crawlies

Slugs, millipede, centipede, ants and other crawlies can start to be comfortable in the growbed. 

How do we get rid of them ?

On flood and drain media base aquaponics, I recommend to flood the growbed. Most crawlies can't survive underwater for long period.

To flood the growbed first stop the siphon action by removing the enclosure bell as photo below.

or remove the siphon cap on the #strainerbell siphon as below,

Once the cap or bell has been remove, the siphon action will stop. This depends on the height of standpipe will cause the growbed to be flooded. If the standpipe is lower than the media height, it is advisable to remove some of the media or change the standpipe extender to a longer extender causing a flooding.

Downpipe photo of the siphon as below with replaced extender.

Once the growbed flooded, wait a while and you can now see many creepy crawlies start to make their way to the top of the growbed. This is a good time to get your slug picking chopstick ready and start picking.


more slugs

and more slugs

Well have fun picking those slugs.. :)

How to get rid of ants ?

For ants, I recommend that the high water extender are left there for a few days, and let the siphon operated as normal. Then replace it back to the ones that have water 1" below media height.

I recommend doing this flooding monthly, to ensure slugs etc don't have time to multiply. It is such an easy thing to do anyway.

Fixing A Leaky Gutter Growbed

Just noticed this morning water droplet from one of the #guttergrowbed, it's about five drops per minute.

Thro the leak is small, it's enough to wet the floor and over time if not checked moss or algae will grow.

Bottom view of leak, marked so that it can be located during repair.

First, all plants from #guttergrowbed need to be removed and place somewhere safe and not dry out.

A car boot tray is good for holding the plants and fill it with water about an inch, this is a precautionary measures just in case the repair took longer that I anticipated.

After the last flush, switch OFF the pump and lift up the ends that needs repair. It advisable if the adjacent growbed share the same pump, ensure it is full of water before stopping the pump.

I have tubes in the gutter to support those pots, clear them out and the #guttergrowbed will be dirty just like above photo.

Give it a good cleaning, it should not be difficult since the area is always underwater and the sludge did not have time to hardened.

Use a hair dryer to accelerate drying, heat from dryer will make the originally applied glue tacky, sometimes this itself can cure the problem.

Dry it from underneath too. Then once completely dry, apply hot glue to the affected area. This is the easiest glue to use and it is very good for quick fixes.

No matter how I do, it will always looks messy. Once all area covered with glue wait for it to cool for about five to ten minutes, then we can restore the growbed.

Start water inflow to check for leaks

Having satisfied that the repair is good, I can put the plants back in its place.

Prior to that don't forget the bottom part which need to be check for leaks too.

Plants in, everything back to normal.

Minor disturbance to the plants, as if nothing happen. The potted #guttergrowbed system makes it easy to do repair if needed.

If it's happen to be the inner growbed, same can be done as long as there is access to the container ends. #Guttergrowbed leaks are mostly from the endcaps area which may be tricky to seal. But out of four growbed only this one leak.

So that is 1 out of 8 endcaps.