Enter The Plants
I think we are ready to move to the next level of this experiment. Adding the plants. Just because I have been running this system for a couple weeks, fully operational, a couple days ago I added an avocado seed, sitting in a cup under the light, as this will not effect any part of the experiment.
There are still some worries about how the addition of the rockwool will effect the water balance, as I am operating at a very low, almost no margin for error. As I see how it absorbs the water, I will create a backup flow system that will compensate. So far, I have noticed a rapid evaporation rate while there is nothing in the planter tray but a thin layer of water. I believe that with the rockwool, and addition of more water in the tray, the evaporation will decrease considerably. I have been adding approximately 1 gallon of water every 3-5 days. This may be effecting the stability of the water quality, and also the initial forming of the bio-filter. I have been testing the water quality since adding the fish, with not much change. The fish lived in their original tank for approximately 11 months. The water tests were shown as:
|Original Tank||Feb. 22, ’13||7.5||0||20||120||180|
|New Tank (1st Test)||Feb. 22, ’13||6||0||10||0||0
|Most Recent||Mar. 10, ’13||6.5||0||10||0||30|
The boys down at Aquariums West were telling me that it should take about 6 weeks for the bio-filter to be setup, as a safe environment for a large variety of fish. I think that the flowing water in my custom built design is going to effect that, especially with this evaporation issue. Tuesday March 12, 2013, I am going to add the rockwool with seeds to root to see if my predictions are correct. It seems that there will be quite an experimental process in growing plants, as well as creating a functional life cycle. The rockwool packaging recommends adding “pH down” or lemon to start the rooting process at a pH level of 5.5. As this would not be good for the fish, it will be taken into consideration with the plant choice.
I have chosen to start with 2 different Heirlooms that, if they root and grow properly, we will transplant into our front outdoor plant boxes, when appropriate. The first is Cauliflower, which prefers a pH of 6-7.5 in an ideal situation with consistent and plentiful watering. Sounds great!The Second is Romano Beans which prefer a warm soil, low nitrogen medium and can grow quite rapidly. The water temperature is holding at a consistent 20 degrees Celsius.
I would love to see Cauliflower growing in our beds and have Beans growing up the latices in the front of Buddings this summer! Here’s Hoping!