To sum up what's happened since my last update in as short a space as possible:
- The incorporation of a mineralization tank and degassing tank did result in measurable and significant decreases in nitrate levels. These levels went from over 400 to under 40 after 3-4 weeks of mineralization being allowed to occur.
- Unfortunately, and despite the success in reducing nitrate levels, the cucumber and tomato plants never set significant amounts of fruit. My guess is they put on way too much leafy growth during the high-nitrate times and couldn't switch to fruit setting once nitrate levels were reduced. I will try again.
- I had great success with tomatoes and cucumbers in my aquaponics system the first time I grew them (about a year ago). The system was quite new then and nitrate levels were much lower than they are now.
- I am now growing red chili peppers and those are doing great so far. Fruit is setting!
- I have plans for a much improved mineralization chamber that is easier to clean and maintain, but haven't gotten around to getting it set up. Will be very cool when it's working though.
So that's basically it. Below are some videos highlighting some of all this. Hope to have the new min-tank set up soon.
This video was taken one week after adding the mineralization tank. I still had high hopes those giant plants would set plenty of fruit.
I added a degassing chamber a couple of weeks after adding the mineralization tank. I know, it should have gone in at the same time. I just hadn't figured out a good way to do it. I think this video does a pretty good job of explaining how the whole thing works, including the other parts of the system.
Success! Nitrate levels finally came down after three weeks (3 or 4, not sure). Surely those plants will set now!
To add insult to injury, my cuke plant collapsed because netting that was holding it up gave way! Not good.
...but I did manage to get it strung back up
...only to throw all the cukes and toms out! I finally gave up on them and decided to pull the plug. I am pretty darn sure I got the nitrate levels down too late in the life cycle of the plants, that's all. So in went peppers, which are doing great so far.
I also put my pump on a timer. I also discuss what I hope to achieve with my imaginary (as of yet) new mineralization tank.
and here are the peppers last week
and this week (today).
Wooohooo! Finally all caught up. I was beginning to feel guilty for not keeping this place up to date. Thanks for watching and reading.