Turning flower-pots into castles
The fish have been doing quite well. Although we are still experiencing some losses with the Barramundi, the Jade Perch are just going from strength to strength. When we asked the opinion of the supplier what he would stock three tanks with, he replied: ‘Jade Perch, Jade Perch and Jade Perch’. I think he was on the money.
The Barramundi have been difficult to manage because of their peculiar behaviour and I guess in the first instance our misunderstanding of their preferred environment and conditions. Now that we have all tanks running at about 24–26˚C and the pH has levelled out at 7–7.2, things are on an even keel. Over the last couple of days we have lost the odd Barra or two, but nothing like what was happening in the first couple of weeks. At this stage we think we have about 20–30 Barra left, but almost the full complement of Jades in the other two tanks (i.e. around 120 total).
What is a bit different (and I put this down to more research) is the introduction of habitat. Chris has fashioned hidey-holes, or castles if you will, out of modified flower pots. He carved out some large arches, inverted the pots and weighted them down with stones. The fish LOVE it! The Barra have always been mid-tank dwellers and are a bit aggressive with each other, and in our experience, the rugged individuals of the native fish world. And the Jades—they used to congregate in the far back corners, but now they spend most of their time darting between the two towers, or, at feeding time, around, in and through the structures.
Chris reckons that the Jades in Tank 1 have tripled in size since we got them. It’s good to see them thriving in this system! Here is a treat—a little movie of our happy, growing group of Jades!
PS How exciting—we now have a YouTube Channel!
Just an update on production. Currently we are cropping (From the dirty garden) Ginger, lemongrass, leeks, capsicum and eggplant – with beans coming online in a day or two. Herbs of all sorts on demand from around both forms of gardening.
From the (Clean Garden) Aquaponics system, lettuce in abundance and chard which is growing with prolific vigour. Again green beans are just a few days away.
We now have three NFT tracks with around 20 ish holes each. Every available hole is stocked with a variety of lettuce, purple sprouting broccoli, Bok Choy and Pak Choy, strawberries, green beans and snow peas. I : aim to have the fourth in by the middle of next week so that we will be at full capacity. With the sudden growth spurt of the Jade Perch, the system is rich in nitrates and boosted by worm pee we’re showing the following results.
Ph : 7.2-7.3
Nitrites 0 or close to it.
Ammonia less than 0.25ppm
Nitrates 40 ppm
The General hardness is around 200
The carbonate hardness <50ppm
The Barramundi have stopped dying, (phew) and are quite inquisitive and feeding well on the occasional treat of finely minced prawn, shell and all. The Perch have come on leaps and bounds and are now eating between a half and a full desert spoon of floating food. This and a small addition of organic liquid fish fertiliser (For Potassium and Phosphur) gave a slight blip on the ammonia reading but the plants will benefit until the bio filter fully settles in.
So far I'm both pleased and fascinated by the system and its lovely simplicity.