See our newest edition to the aquaponics system...butterflies! In this episode I am also going through a standard water test using the API Fresh Water Master Test Kit.
Water testing is a very important part of starting and maintaining any aquaponics system. This is especially important to do more frequently when you are first cycling the system to determine when it is safe to add fish. Since Ammonia and Nitrites are very toxic to fish it is important to make sure that the bacteria colonies established in your system are able to keep up with converting these toxic compounds into more harmless Nitrates. And, of course, this is the nitrogen fertilizer that your plants need to succeed (more aquaponics rhymes coming soon).
I have been using the API Test Kit for over a year now and I have been very happy with it. I did a review and walkthrough on the use of the test kit last year and am still just as happy. It is very easy to use and gives pretty accurate results for all of the tests within 5 minutes. The only complaint I have (and this goes for any of these color based tests) is that some of the colors are very close and hard to distinguish apart. However, in most cases we are only looking for a general idea of levels in the system with the exception of pH. For the best pH results I would recommend picking up an electronic pH reader, however they are a bit more expensive.
Now, as for the butterflies. You might be asking yourself, why would you put butterflies in your indoor aquaponics system? Well, there is a great explanation for this, I just can't think of it right now:)
The kids wanted some live butterflies for Christmas and so we decided we would give it a try and see what happens. We have done the live butterfly thing in the past and the kids loved it; so what could it hurt? They were able to watch their little caterpillars grow from tiny little worm looking things to some pretty awesome butterflies in about 3 weeks. Only problem now was, where do we release these new buddies of ours in the middle of winter? Well we figured since we have an indoor garden, they would probably fit in down there for the time and if they survive until spring they can be moved outside. In the meantime we are just hoping they do not get too comfortable and decide to start a new family of plants-destroying caterpillars! We will keep you updated on this as it develops but for now the kids, my wife, and I(I have to admit) like to come down to the basement garden and check in on our butterfly friends. Until next time, thanks for stopping by!
Ammonia test kit - http://amzn.to/1L35EJa
Nitrite test kit - http://amzn.to/1EwkZNY
Nitrate test kit - http://amzn.to/1uybBZI
Water hardness test kit - http://amzn.to/1EwkIdM
Phosphate test kit - http://amzn.to/1yRWSdJ
Calcium test kit - http://amzn.to/1y2NtZQ
API Replacement test tubes - http://amzn.to/1Jm1YhS
Electronic test kit - http://amzn.to/1Jd2NeP