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PLANT WALLS AND AQUAPONIE


VEGETABLE TABLES

With Flowall and C-Green , compose your own plant walls with fresh plants.

  

To offer: Flowerbox .The Flowerbox brand specializes in the plant wall with fresh or "stabilized" plants.

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Stabilized plants:  Plants whose sap is replaced by a 100% biodegradable, 100% biodegradable glycerin-based substance, allowing the plant to remain unaltered for many years without any special maintenance.

Culture Indoor also offers you the creation of a complete ecosystem for your interior. Composed of a vegetal wall and an aquarium this ecosystem works on the principle of aquapony.

aquaponics

What is aquapony? 
Aquapony is the "symbiosis" of aquatic plants and animals. It is in fact an ecosystem in which 3 types of living organisms intervene: Fish, bacteria, and plants.

3 types of living organisms make up an aquaponic system:

  • Fish that by their excreta enrich the environment with nitrites (toxic for aquatic life).
  • Bacteria that transform these nitrites into nitrates. (toxic in excess of 100mg / l)
  • And plants that assimilate these nitrates to grow and purify the water of this ecosystem.

INTRO

It is in fact an eco-systematic approach involving 3 types of living organisms. 
- Fish whose excreta, rich in nitrogen (ammonium and urea), phosphorus and potassium, are sources of nutrients for plants. The feed supplied to the fish makes it possible to enrich the medium in the form of fertilizers.
- Aerobic bacteria which transform ammonia / ammonium and urea from urine and faeces (digestive residues) into nitrites (nitrosomonas bacteria) and nitrates (nitrobacter bacteria), the latter being assimilable by plants in mineral form (this is the process of nitrification or nitrogen cycle). Potentialises the biological filter by degrading the excretions of fish that are toxic to the latter at too high concentrations. 
- The cultivated plants purify the water of the aquarium by the assimilation of their roots. 
They use nutrients in mineral form to grow.
Aquapony is a technique of the future that is increasingly used worldwide (especially in the United States and Australia) in small commercial farms or by individuals for self-production.

In practice, the aquarium or catchment pond water is pumped for distribution into the hydroponic system and then returned to the fish.

The different systems

3 types of hydroponic systems are commonly used in Aquaponia: 
NFT and floating rafts for commercial operations ("floating rafts" is a technique that we did not develop in the article on hydroponic systems. polystyrene plates floating on the nutrient solution; roots grow directly in the water.) 
- The tidal table for small gardens. 
It is recommended to start with a small population of fish and then to gradually increase it and to regularly monitor the ammonia (NH4), nitrite (NO2) and nitrate (NO3) levels using appropriate colorimetric tests ( available in the aquarium shop).

It is preferable to colonize the aquarium with fish that are very tolerant to physicochemical variations (eg goldfish). Do not hesitate to ask for advice in a specialized shop. Experience suggests that this type of system is viable in the long term, requiring less control and change of water than a hydroponic system . However it requires very well know its plants, to observe them carefully and regularly. The approach here is much more intuitive. To be reserved for those with green hands.
There are, however, pH and temperature values ​​to ensure good assimilation of plants and the work of aerobic bacteria: Ph between 6.5 and 7. Water temperature: between 21 and 23 °. The main challenge is to find the right balance between the fish population, the food provided, the bacterial population and the cultivated vegetation. A deficiency of nitrogen (yellowing of leaves developing from the bottom of the plants) will indicate a sub-population of fish and / or lack of food or poor bacterial work.
Conversely, nitrite and nitrate levels that are too high indicate that the plant filter is inefficient and that the metabolism of the latter is insufficient to decontaminate the water from the excreta or to be poorly bacterial. 
It is recommended for the start to implant 1cm of fish for 4 liters of water. It can be up to 3 cm for 4 liters, once the system is properly installed (at least after 2 months).

The aquatic food cycle

Innovative crops require knowledge and control of the natural processes that govern any ecosystem. If the main principles are equivalent, differentiations characterize the various adaptations to the ecosystems. Let us therefore focus on the "aquatic" ecosystem that governs aquaponic farming techniques. 

Prior

It is important to clarify what an ecosystem is and how it is composed. 
The ecosystem is an ecological unit constituted by a natural environment (the biotope), all of its living organisms and its non-living constituents (biocenosis). 
The biotope is a geographical area offering constant or cyclic climatic and ecological conditions to the species that live in equilibrium, for what concerns us: soft water (compared to salt water and not to its chemical composition). 
Biocenosis is the set of living organisms and non-living constituents of a biotope. These living beings usually live in niches, zones: interfaces, places of many permanent exchanges linked to the biological cycles or the migration of the organisms.
If each ecosystem is unique, it should be noted that many of them propose globally common characteristics such as the terrestrial ecosystem, the marine ecosystem, the aquatic ecosystem ... 
In the natural aquatic ecosystem, three active interfaces are distinguished:

  • The water / sediment interface: This is the bottom of the basin from the line of contact with the earth.
  • The water interface
  • The air / water interface

The global functioning of the aquatic ecosystem follows a relational cycle called a food cycle or a trophic cycle. Different cycles occur for the symbiosis of organisms in aquaponics.

Cyclical stages

The "aquatic" food cycle comprises three major stages: the stage of consumption, the stage of decomposition and finally the so-called production stage. The actors in this "play" are firstly heterotrophic beings, then autotrophic beings. All these living beings can be either macroscopic or microscopic. 
Everyone intervenes and is interdependent. A biocenosis (the set of living beings inhabiting a biotope) is balanced when each of the species present finds its niche, its place in the whole.

A- The stage of consumptionB- The stage of decompositionC- The stage of production

Actions of heterotrophic beings. It is the privileged place of animals, heterotrophic beings. Heterotrophs are beings who live, restructure, consume plants (herbivores), which other animals (carnivores) see both (omnivores). We repeat, they can be macroscopic or microscopic.

After consuming, that is, transforming the engulfed organic matter and extracting the elements necessary for their vital needs, they discharge residual organic matter. 
All of these organic matter discharged (excrement) and the carcasses of various animals and plant debris form the "endogenous inputs", those produced by the biocenosis itself. 
However, other organic matter imported into the ecosystem must be added to the ecosystem by wind, for example (pollen, leaves, etc.), but also by other animals, including this particular animal, which is man ).

These are the "exogenous inputs". 
It will be all of these organic materials to which it is necessary to add inorganic materials that the ecosystem will have to "treat" and that is called MES (suspended matter).

Actions of heterotrophic beings 
Stage B1: All suspended solids will undergo various stages of decomposition at this stage, the aim of which is to destruct the material into smaller and smaller elements up to a size that is accessible by bacteria. 
This work is carried out by the "detrivores" that are: fungi, insects, crustaceans → Stages B2: → in finality by the heterotrophic bacteria. The heterotrophic bacteria are specialized to transform either lipids, carbohydrates or even the proteins.

These heterotrophic bacteria make the transition between heterotrophic actions and autotrophic actions because they transform organic matter into inorganic matter.

Stage B3: Action of autotrophic bacteria Autotrophic 
beings have the ability to feed exclusively on inorganic matter to restructure and live. Some produce other inorganic materials 
(bacteria), others produce organic matter (plants). 
The inorganic matter resulting from the action of the heterotrophic bacteria is taken up by the autotrophic bacteria. Their action results from other inorganic materials which are capable of being consumed by plants at the next stage.

Find the deficiencies of the plants on Culture Indoor.

Plants (plants, algae) consume inorganic matter prepared by autotrophic bacteria (nitrates, phosphates ... trace elements ...) to make organic matter, thanks to photosynthesis. Plants that will then be eaten by herbivores and omnivores ... the loop is completed. 
In the next article, we will focus on bacteria, the keystone of life on earth.

Heating of water

The temperature of the tank is important for fish, animals with cold blood, because the temperature of their body depends directly on that of their environment of life. It has a direct impact on their metabolism, and therefore on their life expectancy. What you need to know is that they can not withstand temperatures above 38 ° C. The reason is related to the fact that the solubility of gases in water, which depends on temperature, decreases as the temperature increases. The aquarist must therefore regulate the temperature of the water, by means of heating. There are "two in one" appliances that combine the heating and the thermostat in one single object: the immersion heater . The choice of the power of the device is made according to the following rule:
• 1 W / L if the difference between the ambient temperature and the water temperature is less than 10 ° C, 
• 1.5 W / L if it is less than 15 ° C, 
• 2 W / L if it is lower at 20 ° C. 
The fact that the heater is coupled to a thermostat allows automatic shutdown when the desired temperature is reached. It is therefore unnecessary to cut it in the case of higher heat, since the temperature of the water does not result from the action of the immersion heater, but from the ambient temperature. 
Cutting a immersion heater carries a significant risk because it is likely that at night, the temperature decreases sharply, which can be a shock to the fish. Never leave a heater immersed in water. Find the immersion heaters in the Irrigation section. 


Aquariums and photos of Amano Takashi.

WATER CONTROL

Water quality

It is best not to use any commercially available chemicals under the name pH + or pH-. They can unbalance the qualities of water and be harmful to fish. The same goes for resins, which release various undefined substances (often sodium) into the water.

Increase pH (basic)

The most effective and least risky is adding limestone to the water. For this, there are two solutions: 
• With baking soda in a very light dose: about 
1 teaspoon per 50 L of water, the pH should stabilize at 8. 
• With crushed oyster shells or coral sand, which you will insert in your filter, in a tights or a net, so that they can be removed more easily. Check the pH regularly after handling.

Decrease pH (acidify)

Many recipes can be used, and sometimes are more effective when combined. The first thing is to lower the hardness of the water (in case it is too chalky, which is usually the case when the pH is too high), to facilitate the drop in pH. The simplest is to put "osmosed" water ( filtered with the aid of an osmosis ) during the partial renewal of water. Once the water has been softened, several solutions are available: 
• Addition of peat in the filter, under the gravel or in the bucket or bucket used to make the water changes. This method softens the water but has the disadvantage of coloring it (temporarily), which is not appreciated by all. 
• Diffusion of CO2 in the aquarium.
• Adding Acid: This method works well, but it is reserved for savvy aquarists and chemists. The acid must be added in small quantities over several days to avoid precipitation of the carbonates.

PH in the aquarium

Aquatic life is only possible between pH 4.0 and 9.0 but most often the values ​​are between 6.0 and 8.0 in fresh water and 8.1 to 8.3 in sea water At night, plants and fish breathe, producing CO2 which acidifies the water when it is weakly buffered. The pH then drops slightly. By day, plants use CO2 and produce oxygen, it is photosynthesis. The absorption of CO2 by the plants therefore slightly increases the pH. A hard or salt water better limits the pH variations. In the long term, it is sometimes possible to observe an increase in pH in well-planted aquariums, the CO2 used by plants disappearing gradually. It is necessary to provide CO² to the plants thanks to various systems (bubblers, pellets, electro-valve ...). Find the pH testers in the "controls ".

Oxygenation of water

The air pump (or bubbler) is connected to a diffuser (made of wood, ceramic, porous stone) by an air hose. The most sophisticated pumps offer several different outlets allowing to supply several diffusers, with an air flow control system. The use of a bubbler in a tank has several direct and indirect effects on the water of the tank, effects that make it unnecessary, or even downright harmful when you have plants in the aquarium. Bubbling is unnecessary in plant containers, since the amount of oxygen they provide is necessary for the survival of the fish. Moreover, it creates eddies that degas the water of its CO², indispensable for a good growth of the plants, all generating an increase in the pH of the tank. These three effects indicate that in a planted tank, the use of a bubbler should be avoided, in any case if this use is permanent. In small or unplanted bins, the use of a bubbler and the consequence of its consequences on the equilibrium of the bin can be advantageously replaced by the following trick: creating a slight overhang on the surface by orienting the head of rejection of the filtration towards the surface. On the other hand, it is important to have a bubbler available since it can prove of great help in certain situations: create a slight overhang at the surface by directing the reject head of the filtration towards the surface. On the other hand, it is important to have a bubbler available since it can prove of great help in certain situations: create a slight overhang at the surface by directing the reject head of the filtration towards the surface. On the other hand, it is important to have a bubbler available since it can prove of great help in certain situations:

  • In the case of a pollution peak (NO2> 0), the addition of a bubbler makes it possible to promote the oxidation reactions which make it possible to transform the nitrites into nitrates. This measure, in addition to a few others, makes it possible to quickly return to a situation acceptable to fish and helps them withstand this peak which can be fatal to them.
  • In the case of high heat, the use of a bubbler can reduce the temperature of a tank by a few degrees, in the same way as using a fan. Above all, do not pour cold water because of the shock on the fish.
  • When the fish spends a lot of time on the surface to catch the air, there is a shortage of oxygen in the tank. The use of a bubbler makes it possible to remedy this situation quickly.

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You will find this material:

  • The immersion heaters in the section " irrigation "
  • The pH testers in the " controls "
  • Air pumps and bubblers in the section " irrigation "
  • Water pumps under the heading " irrigation "

AQUARIUM LIGHTING

Light is a factor of great importance in aquariophilia. It is necessary to choose its lighting according to the needs of the occupants of the aquarium (fish and plants).

Positioning of lighting

In natural environment, light comes from the top. This principle must be respected in the aquarium. Too much natural light from the front or side of a tank (from a window) causes algae growth. Artificial lighting is therefore mandatory. A reflector will make the most of the brightness emitted.

Duration of lighting

Tropical plants have a lighting duration of 12 hours. The maximum lighting time is 15 hours, beyond the plants and fish need a rest period. The lighting time must be continuous. As with the cultivation of plants, fractionation disrupts the rhythm of fish and plants. A low light intensity can not be compensated for by a longer lighting time. The use of a  programmer allows the lighting to be switched on and off automatically at fixed times.

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Light intensity

Not all plants have the same luminous intensity requirements. To determine the luminous intensity of an aquarium with fluorescent tubes, the following rule is applied:

1W for 1 liter of water1W for 2 liters of water1W for 3 liters of water1W for 4 liters of water
very intense lightingLightinglightlow lighting

Neon tubes

The tubes used in aquariophilia are not the same as those used in the industry or the individual. Indeed, the aquarium tubes have a spectrum adapted to plants and fish. It is the fluorescent powder that modifies the spectrum. The ideal colors for plant growth (photosynthesis) are red, orange and blue. The horticultural tubes have a reinforced spectrum in these colors. It is agreed by all aquarists to change the fluorescent tubes every six months because their yield decreases with age, causing a slowing of the growth of the plants and favoring the appearance of algae. Do not change all tubes at the same time but keep a minimum interval of one month between each tube change in order to limit variations.

MH Lamps

When the aquarium has a depth of more than 80 cm, more powerful lighting is needed: metal halide lamps. The lifetime of these lamps is approximately 6000 hours which corresponds to a little more than one year of lighting at the rate of 12 hours per day. The MH lamps heat a lot, so a certain distance must be respected (40 to 70 cm).

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Superfish  is the CIS Products brand dedicated to lighting your aquariums. Bulbs dedicated to lighting your aquariums from 250W to 1000W.

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