I took a break from my aquaponics project as I was getting discouraged by seeing the previous batch of seedlings dying a slow death on top of my aquaponics plant tank. It seemed like I had missed some important point in the process of growing aquaponic plants, so I actually drained the whole plant tank, cleaned it, and installed a traditional filter in the fish tank / aquarium to keep the pet fish happy. That’s how fed up I was with my aquaponics problems.
… But I soon got too annoyed with the empty plant tank and my unreached goal of bringing this beast into production mode, so I went outside an started cutting side branches off my large tomato plants that I’m growing in self-watering containers beneath the south facing wall of the house. I learned from the ebook “How to Grow Juicy Tasty Tomatoes” that cuttings from a mature plant will easily grow into new plants if you stick the cuttings into the soil. Fortunately it works with aquaponic coconut fibers too:
The cuttings grew into tall plants, actually a bit taller than I have room for beneath the ceiling. The maximum grow height available in this system is small since the fish tank must be placed beneath the plant tank, and the fish tank in this case is an ordinary aquarium which you what to place on an aquarium table to be able to enjoy the fish without having to lay down on the floor 😉
A quick look at the new tomato plants gives you the impression that they are healthy, and the stems and leaves have a healthy color:
But if you take a closer look at some of the largest tomato plants you’ll find that some of the leaves have wilted:
(WARNING: Oldest aquaponic joke coming up: “I’m sure I gave them enough water…” Ha. Ha.)
I have to find out what’s causing this, and even the small developing tomato flower stems are affected by this too. The leaves turn dry and crispy and turn into dust if you squeeze them.
I wouldn’t say that the submerged roots look particularly healthy:
Rasmus noticed the same brown stuff on the roots of my previous batch of aquaponic plants and recommended adding air bubbles directly to the plant tank. I think it helped back then but I forgot to reinstall the air pump after I cleaned up the plant tank.
Lots of challenges still with this relatively new aquaponics home system in the corner of my living room. And I’m still having wet dreams about adding automatic electronic measurement of pH and conductivity.