Here is the information you’re hoping to find buried in the end – my 600W light, the fans, and pumps (the whole system) is using 12 kWh per day. At 7 cents per kWh that’s $0.84 per day or $25.55 per month. Electrical rates may vary greatly, these numbers are particular to this system. I’d need someone, somewhere, to click on one of my associated content articles roughly once every 6 minutes to pay for the electrical costs, and that’s why I’ve chosen to tell you up front. The current total bill for the system has increased, most of the costs are included with the information below, but the total system is now up to about $760.03, between the driftwood, water treatment, starter fish, and some items I’d overlooked previously. List and prices are in an image file.
My new system is performing correctly, and based on discussions last week I decided to accelerate my efforts towards a financial return by planting three types of basil and yellow tomatoes. After speaking with a couple of chefs that I’ve worked with, I realized I have a market directly available, and failure to optimize it would be a failure to follow the business plan I laid out in another paper here on associated content. They are interested in both micro and full grown basil varieties, and I’ve got cinnamon, thai, and purple (all ocimum basilicum). I’ve also got seedling yellow jubilee tomatoes (an indeterminate heirloom), which will be moved to a second, deeper growbed. I’m finishing the paper with information about my pH and hard water problems and solutions.
I added five small tropical fish (cherry barbs, 5 for $7) to improve the cycle the of the aquarium prior to the arrival of my stock next week. I’m sticking with the 1 fish per 5 gallon guideline, with 11 fish going into my 55 gallon tank. Should they be large enough and inclined to mate, I’ve got a second tank I can use to house the fry. I choose the larger gravel in this tans specifically to the purpose of offering a breeding ground.
The first few weeks of a new aquarium require the most attention. The limits of the available tests included with the rather standard set that I’m using seems to be largely limited to not knowing what level the nitrites are actually at, this is because the normal curve of a nitrogen cycle goes so far beyond the scope of a test that tops out at 5.0 parts per million (ppm). Mines been higher than that since the 3rd day after I set up the system. The expectation is that it will peak and then decline, as the bacteria cycle establishes itself. Nitrites are toxic to fish, and although I don’t expect the five small fish that I’m cycling the tank with to all survive the experience, I’d rather not lose any if I can help it. My nitrate levels (a key chemical that the plants utilize), had risen steadily until the seedlings came up out of the clay balls I’m using as growing media (hydoton). My ammonia levels spiked initially, then fell of to a consistent 0.25 ppm for the last 10 days. This is exactly what is normally predicted with the developing cycle. I purposely ran this cycle with tap water, even though I’ve got aquarium water available, in order to show how to start it and test the results. As of day 15 I’m adding 4 gallons of water from my established aquarium, which should quickly bring things into balance. I added the water through the growbed, in an effort to keep the solid waste available for the plants.
The problems that I facing with heat and humidity are particular to the fact that I’m using an upstairs closet, not altered as of yet in any way. To control moisture, I made a tight fitting lid for the tank, although I choose the wrong material. I thought I could get away with plywood, and didn’t apply enough polyurethane prior to using it. That was an error I shall not repeat, and the 20th coat is drying tonight. In the interim, I’ve had to add almost a gallon a day to compensate for the moisture loss. The vent from the hood is directed towards the tank, balancing the temperatures, but aiding in evaporation at the moment. The lid will fix that problem, as evaporation in the short time it was in place was very limited. I am considering adding a ceiling vent, and will do so if I can at any point feel moisture on the walls. This hasn’t happened apart from spills. The waster I lost has been replenished, and the refinished lid in in place.
4 days ago I added a piece of driftwood to the aquarium, with the intentions of using the tannins to lower the pH. I’m uncertain of it’s size or composition, only that it was marked as Malaysian. When I added the driftwood I removed the peat, and I opted for a chemical solution to my pH and hard water problems. My tap water comes out at 8.2 pH, and it’s very hard. I was trying an organic solution, but as long as I know it’s safe for the fish (and it’s an aquarium product), I’m comfortable using a limited number of chemicals. Off the shelf pH lowering products didn’t work for me. I’ve opted to try a bisulphate that supposed to eventually break down the hard water buffer that’s holding the pH so high. The blue Nile Tilapia that I’m going to stock the tank with on Wednesday prefer a pH of neutral (7.0), and I’d like to get closer by then. For the last three days I’ve adjust the pH, only to have it return upward, a 7.4-7.8 pH is the range I’m seeing at this point, depending on how long it’s been since a chemical adjustment. After week 5 I’ll post a graph of the reading I got through out the development of the nitrogen cycle, comparing levels in the type of similar work, thus far my results are in line.
Teaching a person to fish is not longer enough to feed them for a lifetime. Even with accesses to open water, our oceans, rivers, and lakes are not able to continue to support our needs. Teach a person to grow fish, and vegetables, and you get a lot closer to helping humanity’s long term survival prospects. By sharing mine I hope you help you build yours.