Thursday, November 15, 2012

Equipped for Success!

Here are a few special tools, pieces of equipment and ideas that may contribute to your aquaponic gardening success.

Total Dissolved Solids meter
Bluelab Commercial Truncheon® Meter
This is a Total Dissolved Solids meter.
Total Dissolved Solids concentration has a direct effect on plant growth rates.

When asked "How do you measure total dissolved solids?"   Dr. George B. Brooks, Jr. said 
Couple of ways. I use one of these for example:
Or you can measure it by how well the water conducts electricity since it is mostly the sodium, calcium and magnesium salts that cause the problems:
Some suggest that measuring EC is more accurate and give you a better measure of how salts are affecting your plants.

Before shopping for a TDS or Salinity Meter read these

Dissolved Oxygen Meter 
These are one of the most valuable instruments you can own if you are stocking in high density. I believe there are two types of DO Meters.   I've been told profession aquaculturist  generally do not use the type with a membrane.  But DO Meters can be very expensive and any good meter is probably better than none at all.
I will have to do more research and add to this post as I learn more.

Ceramic Metal Halide 
Ceramic Metal Halide bulbs are efficient and the full spectrum of light is as close to the Sun's spectrum as you can get.  
Supplemental lighting will permit you to grow 365 days a year. 
Remember to wear shades and sun block!  CMH really are FULL spectrum.
I ordered mine from

This is a High Pressure Sodium (HPS) replacement bulb.  The important thing to know about the ballast is that it should be a Copper Core HPS ballast.  I also bought my ballast kit for about $69.00 from the same company Advanced Tech Lighting.

Rocket Mass Stove
Efficiency is the key to heating a green house.  Check out thess videos about Rocket Mass Stoves

Add a self feed bin for pellets!

Greenhouse Glazing

Greenhouse plastics can diffuse light and transmit as much as 90%  of the Sun's light
Agricultural Solutions - Polyethylene Greenhouse Films
Interstate Plastics - Polycarbonate twinwall

Speaking of greenhouses, here are a few ideas

Something as simple as this canopy frame could be used for a basic frame with a greenhouse film.

 Or you can go a little bit better with a FarmTek greenhouse

 My ideal green house would be partially bermed in with a massive wall on the North side and glazing  on the South side.   Energy conservation is key to making a greenhouse work.  Here are some examples.


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