November « 2011 «

Aquaponics Nutrient Film Technique – Root Rot Treatment

dwcI have found that the crops that grow the best using Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) and/or Deep Water Culture (DWC) are the more commercial aquaponics plants and vegetables including strawberries, melons, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and many different types of herbs.

This does not mean that they do not get root rot. Almost every type of crop can occasionally get root rot using these techniques, but you can significantly decrease the likelihood of that happening by simply trimming their roots every 4-7 days as necessary.

As you may already know, the biggest reason why root rot occurs is because

the entire length of the plants roots are submerged in water. Many people

have found that if root rot is a big problem for them, that supporting the

plants with chicken wire, with gravel or some other type of aggregate can




I like to use chicken wire and make sure that an 1/8 or 1/4 inch of

the roots are not submerged if I am having a problem, but usually that

doesn’t happen if I just keep the roots shorter, and/or cut the roots back

to the healthier portion of the root if it does happen. If only a portion

of the roots are experiencing rot, I will just remove the entire length of

those affected roots to keep it from spreading.

In fact, my first really successful aquaponics system using NFT was for tomatoes, so I had a lot of crops that did not do so well before that,

but I didn’t really understand WHY. I was not cutting back their roots

when they got longer – heck, I wasn’t even looking at the roots – and once

I understood that this was the major reason for them developing root rot

in the first place, I simply examined and trimmed the roots if necessary

every 4 to 7 days. I just imagine that the plants are in a small pot, and

trim their roots to the length that they would be in a small container.



After I realized that you can stop the root rot by trimming, I never lost

many plants after that, especially because of simple neglect. By the time

you realize that there is a problem such as root rot by simply looking at

the plants leaves, in many cases it is too late. Pay attention to the

roots, and you can keep the rot from spreading and getting worse.

The reason you will not find a list of plants that are not specifically suitable

for NFT or DWC is because – You can make almost any crop suitable for

these methods – depending on how much you are willing to watch and trim

any roots that tend to get long fast.

I would suggest using plants that have “compact” nature or root structure

– so any plants that you probably know about that grow well in a container

or a pot (like raising aquaponic tomatoes) are the types of plants that will do best, and will need the

least amount of root trimming. This also usually means that their root

structure is typically pretty small (that is why they grow well in pots

and containers), and does not grow to be several feet long. Again, this

will save you the time of having to trim the roots for crops with longer

root structures that grow quickly.

Conserving Water In Backyard or Indoor Herb Gardens

How To Conserve Water Now

Even if you haven’t decided to build your own backyard aquaponics home system yet, chances are that you already have an indoor herb garden or a small organic garden in your backyard. As most gardeners know, conserving water can be difficult, and to maintain a decent looking garden, we need to water it regularly.

Sure, lush green lawns and a flourishing herb garden will make some of your friends and neighbors envious, but what is the cost to the environment and to your bank account?

The need for and use of water is increasing for industry and personal use at a pace which is higher than the fresh water supply in many of our cities and rural areas. When the demand is higher than the supply, the prices of all commodities, even water, increases.

The cost of storing fresh water and transporting it over long distances is rising each year and demand shortages are occurring in areas all over the world on a regular basis.

The solution to conserving water is literally in our own hands, providing we learn to use the limited supply more efficiently and effectively. This is also the reason why indoor herb gardens have become more popular, as there are less pests to deal with, and the water does not evaporate nearly as quickly as backyard gardens.

Seven Quick Tips To Start Saving Water

1. The first thing to do is to check your piping for leakage. if you have a dry lawn, look for any green patches or strips of grass where the leaks may be occurring. Also, look carefully at your garden. There may be plants that look much healthier or are larger than the other plants around it, and this may indicate a water leak near that area.

Tree roots can grow around pipes and break them, and earth movement is another reason why pipes and pipe junctions crack and break.

2. Make sure you have no leaky seals on water taps since a water drip can easily cost you 1500 gallons of leakage in a year or more!

3. Use your water more effectively. Check all of your spray systems, and adjust the water path where it wastefully is spraying water on concrete paths or gravel drives. Also, be sure to set your water timers to spray at night. By spraying your lawn ans garden at night, the water will stay in the ground and will not mostly evaporate like it will if you are spraying during the day.

Evaporation is often the number one waste of water for homes, not to mention the waste of time and effort of those spraying their lawns and gardens in the heat of day.

To be most effective, you should only water your lawn and plants with a hand held hose during the early morning and evening.

If your kids want to be cooled down, then spray them and the lawn at the same time and make a game of it.

4. Use compost in your garden instead of soil. This has the benefit of retaining moisture and preventing evaporation.

By using bark chips or mulch around the yard, you will provide a layer of protection as well as keeping weeds down. This will reduce the evaporation that naturally occurs each day.

By using compost in your garden and for plant life around the yard, it will use less than 30% of the water of ordinary soils and your plants will tend to grow faster having more nutrients.

5. If you are using green detergents for your laundry and kitchen, be sure to save that water for outdoor use. You can recycle this water this way, and it will work as fertilizer for your plants and vegetables because it contains many valuable trace elements.

6. You can cheaply install grey water systems that are effective in conserving water, but be sure not to use the ones

that need large amounts of energy just to pump the water to where it will be used. There is no point in solving one problem by replacing it with another cost to your household!

If you can, collect rainwater using a rainwater tank. If you have a roof that might have potential heavy metal residue, test the water using a common testing kit to make sure it is fit for your garden or lawn. These rainwater tanks are easy to install for the average DIY enthusiast and can provide a convenient supply of fresh water when others around you have watering restrictions.

The only real problem with this is explaining to your friends and neighbors in drought times – is why you have the only green lawn in the neighborhood!

7. Get rid of that pool or spa in your yard if you use it infrequently.They may appear visually attractive, but what is the real cost of having thousands of gallons of water just sitting there evaporating?

Just filling a pool one time typically uses as much water as your family will use at home in three months of washing and bathing.

You can use the empty pool or spa as a space to plant a small aquaponic system in, or to create a restful area that can give you just as much pleasure as the old pool – without needing to clean the pool regularly or using harmful chemicals to make it usable.

Having a pool is not nearly as popular as it used to be, especially since the cost of filling, cleaning and treating the water continues to rise each year.

Believe it or not, local governments are starting to tax folks with home pools to discourage water being used in this way. This often makes the backyard pool a liability, and not an asset as it was originally intended to be.


Keeping our gardens and lawns green may only be viable if we all learn to conserve and store this precious resource.

If you are concerned about the high costs of maintaining a backyard garden, it just makes sense to learn more about how you can have an indoor herb garden using aquaponics. It is cost-effective, easy to set up, and requires very little ongoing maintenance.

Great YouTube Aquaponics Video Collection

Aquaponics Video Collection For You

Video 1

** This homemade video shows a system that is a little larger and more elaborate. This gentleman uses a mechanical pump for his system, and has a very nice garden that he started just 3 months earlier.

Video 2

** This is a home video showing a simple gravity feed system.

Video 3

** This is a home aquaponics video animation that shows all parts of a home aquaponics system.

Video 4

** This is an excellent home video showing a home system that was scaled up into a business.

Aquaponics Systems Tips 1-3

Aquaponics Systems Tip #1

Day 1: The #1 Reason For Aquaponics System Problems

Almost all problems with freshwater fish and organic

vegetables can be traced back to one thing.


Sadly, it’s common for many aquaponics beginners to fail to

monitor the pH levels of the water in their aquaponics

system closely enough.

While the fish and vegetables can survive for a while in a

system where the pH levels of the water are out of balance,

their health will eventually go downhill ~ big time.

It happens every time!

Fortunately, almost all fish, fruit and vegetable problems

are totally preventable.

It is because you can easily setup your aquaponics system

the right way from the very beginning.

Aquaponics Systems Tip #2 – Be Creative!

Day 2: Here are some tips to get you started on the right foot

with setting up your aquaponics system “properly”

One of my favorite aspects of building an aquaponics

system is that you can be as creative as you want to be.

A lot of people think that it must be expensive, but that

just isn’t the case.

One of the coolest ideas I have seen people put into action

is to find a large tub to build their first aquaponics

system with. I started with a large recycled porcelain


If the tub has no holes or cracks, and can handle 500

gallons of water, you are all set to go.

I have seen people even use large metal/plastic barrels to

use as a holding tank for their fish, and if you decide to

go this route, I suggest you go with food-grade plastic


Remember, this is where the fish are going to be living 24

hours/day, so it’s a good idea to make sure it is clean and

doesn’t leak.

By following the above guidelines, you’ll be taking the

first steps toward creating the optimal environment for

your fish, fruit, and vegetables.

Aquaponics Systems Tip #3 – The 3 Main Aquaponics Variants

There are three main variants of aquaponics. The first

variant is called the “ranch tank.” It’s easy to make a

ranch tank.

All you need is to dig a deep pit in the ground, fill that

pit with a few thousand liters of water, and throw some

fingerlings in.

Algae will grow in the water; some fish eat algae, some

don’t. You will not be able to harvest any vegetables from

this type of setup however.

The second variant is the solar pond (which we discussed

in a previous lesson). It has a holding tank that acts as a

home for the fish and the vegetables.

The third variant makes use of a water pump and a flow

system to cycle the water.

The best setup, according to aquaponics enthusiasts, is the

third variant because it provides the biggest yields and is

the easiest to maintain over a long period of time.

Now you know the 3 setups and the basics of each.

More Aquaponics Tips to Come…

Best Regards,



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