A decision was made to end the apples-to-apples hydroponics cycle as it had been firmly established that worm bed drainage worked effectively as a hydroponic nutrient solution, and that fish water worked poorly for plants that look for a stronger TDS available to them. Notable factors were:
- It should be noted in the final report, below, that the basement environment was cool, not heated, at registered 57 degrees. At these temps, plants seeking hotter weather before sprouting or putting forth growth simple don't do well. The Basil sprouted only in the worm water, then died. The Cayenne Pepper sprouted in all environments but stayed small.
- Additive Cumulations
- The fish tanks were closed down in mid-January, as a yellow dye in the fish food had cumulated to the point of poisoning the catfish. This was the only additive, and turned the clear water a mustard yellow and create a yellow foam. This was one of the lessons learned - in a closed cycle, one must take great care what is added to the system. (2002 Note: it has been learned that the galvanized tanks, which leach zinc, highly toxic to fish, were probably the culprit. An epoxy paint is recommended to prevent this in the future.)
- Biological Clock
- The plants in the fish water were transferred to empty slots in the Micro flow tubes, to see what they would do in a better setting. They all did better, but did not regain the growth lost while in the fish water. The tiny pea plant even bloomed, in step with the others, but did not have a growth spurt. Apparently, biological timing is a factor.
- Plants in the Micro flow tube directly under the 1,000 kW bulb were noticable larger at the end from similar Micro plants in the Micro flow tube to the side of the light, which were equivalent in size to the worm nutrient flow tubes also at the side of the light.
Final growth and blooming status was:
Status Blooms? Tomato Blossom/Seed pods setting in both Micro and Worm drainage tubes. Tomato plants in Micro darkest green, in Worm tending to a pea green shade. Plant size and pod setting equivalent, except for tomato directly under the light which was larger and had both plants in pot setting pods. Pods are 6 each to a cluster. Transplanted Fish water tomato plant recovered but did not increase in size. - Micro Yes - Worm Yes - Fish No
Peas Peas were setting blossoms in both the Micro and Worm drainage nutrient solutions. The tiny plant transplanted from the Fish water a month earlier also was setting a bloom, though the plant remained tiny. - Micro Yes - Worm Yes - Fish Yes
Rocket Greens Rocket, a Mustard plant used for its salad greens, apparently gets its name from rapid growth. Seed stalks were setting and shooting more than a foot high in both the Micro and Worm drainage solutions. As with the tomatoes, both plants directly under the light were shooting stalks, but only 1 of 2 in the worm drainage was doing so. The plant farthest from the light was retarded. The transplanted Fish water plants had grown, but were still tiny, only inches high, and had not recovered lost time. - Micro Yes - Worm Yes - Fish No
Navy Beans No blooms in any environment. Plants in both Micro and Worm drainage of equal size, but those in the Worm solution looked heathiest. Transplanted Fish water plant had grown.
French Beans Blossoms were setting in both the Micro and Worm drainage solutions. Again, of equal size in both Micro and Worm drainage solutions, with the Worm plants looking healthier. The Fish water French beans had died, not ever really getting past the seed leaf stage. - Micro Yes - Worm Yes
Watercress The watercress, which had been started from store salad cuttings, rooted and grew well simply floating in the fish water. This formed a clump, mostly under water. When transplanted to a basin placed under the Micro light, given a light solution of Micro nutrients, the watercress died for unknown reasons. Apparently, water motion is important, stagnant water a problem.