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Soil and Composting: What should I do with 10 gals of water from my fish tank?

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daves_not_here
Las Vegas, NV
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2011
1:00 AM

Post #8556987

I have two five gallon bottles full from the last time I cleaned my fish tank and now I need my deposit back on the bottles. Just kidding the bottles are mine, but I do need to clean the tank again.

I have an active compost pile, though I have trouble keeping it active on account of a lack of greens. Would wetting the pile with fish water help heat up the pile over using standard tap water? From waiting so long to do anything, there is a good layer of algae on top. Luckily the mosquitos haven't found it (though I don't know if there are mosquitos in LV). There is also a good layer of what I can only imagine is fish scat on the bottom.

So my questions are :
1. What is in old fish tank water? (beside the obvious fish poop) I've herd of nitrates and nitrites, though I don't what I have.

2. Where can I best utilize what I have?

3.Will it burn my vegetable garden? Or is it better used on landscape plants? I also have a lemon and peach tree that might like it.

and 4. The original, will it help heat up my compost pile?

Thanks in advance

P.S. how do I TAB on a mac book to indent a paragraph? For that matter how do I plug in an xd card from my olympus camera?(I've only got an sd slot.)
DougBert
Spokane, WA
(Zone 5a)

May 12, 2011
1:34 PM

Post #8558321

Answers:
1. Old fish water and fish "poop". I guess it depends on what you feed your fish.
2. I would use it to root water plants of any type. I draw down a water garden once a year, which has gold fish, and use the mirky water to root water my tomatoes...They don't complain one bit.
3. I'm not sure that I would put the water on the leaves of plants due to the fact that it might burn them. However, I believe in trial and error. Take some of the water and put it on a couple of leaves and see if it burns. I don't believe that it will.
4. It could assist to heat up a compost pile; however, remember a compost pile should be wet like a rung out spunge. Not too dry and not too wet.

PS answers:
1. Tabbing with any kind of computer is the same by pressing the tab key. If you are referring to this web page tabbing depends on how the page is written. Tabbing takes one from one field on a page to the next field.
2. I don't have much experience with a MAC but there are devices that will take a card and convert it to USB.
daves_not_here
Las Vegas, NV
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2011
2:15 PM

Post #8558445

Thanks DougBert. The thought of wetting the compost with the fish water came from a concern of burning my garden. Previously I have used it to water a large Sago Palm in the landscape. I am happy to hear it is safe for the garden. I will also test it on a few leaves to see what happens. The tank needs cleaning again, so I'll have another ten gallons soon. Those fish keep pooping.

Regarding PS:
While writing original post, I tried to indent the numbered questions and the web address was highlighted. As far as the xd/sd card question. The question should have been (Why did I buy an Olympus that uses an xd card?). I feel like I bought a Beta video recorder. Not from the quality of the device but from the trend of the industry toward sd cards.

Thanks again, David.
mraider3
Helena, MT

May 16, 2011
4:23 AM

Post #8566078

I gravel siphon water from my tanks every week or two and use the water to water house plants and vegetables seedlings as well as potted up plants. A lot depends on how often you change your water and what method you use as to the amount of nutrients which will be available to the plants. I can say that even weekly watering of plants with gravel siphoned aquarium water will add nutrients based on years of experience with using this method of watering plants.

I have never seen a situation where this has been harmful except for one time when I was reprimanded for using this water from a Water Dept. fish tank which I maintained for several years. The Park Dept. was maintaining potted plants in the city building and the plants I was watering had grown into the ceiling panels. When they figured out what I was doing I received a cease and desist memo!!!

Also, I recall reading a response from Carolyn (Dr. Male) on using aquarium water on tomato seedlings. She stated she would not use this on general principals. I never asked her what she meant by 'general principalsí, and I have no idea what she was referring to here.

My feeling is you definitely receive benefits from using this water in watering either your house plants or other potted plants and I will continue to use it on my seedlings as well. When I start watering newly planted seeds I add hydrogen peroxide (3% solution) at a ratio of 1:32 with the aquarium water. This helps prevent dampening off and mold problems which are not necessarily from using aquarium water as I see it.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

May 16, 2011
1:42 PM

Post #8567398

i too use my tank water on potted plants..
in winter..its great because it is rid of chlorine..
and its warmish water and the plants love that...:)
in summer..i just throw it on my roses.. they see me commin outside..with a bucket
and they start singing to me.. LOL
as others have said..its great water for our plants..
daves_not_here
Las Vegas, NV
(Zone 9b)

May 21, 2011
1:28 PM

Post #8577847

I do run a siphon through the gravel, but not as often as I should. I have to keep pretty hardy fish that are able so stand my neglect. The previous batch (of aquarium water) went into the garden. It seems to be happy. I put some from the last batch on a monstera outside. I wasn't sure about my plumerias though. I've read they like more P & K and just a little n. Now to find out whats in the water. But that's another forum.

Thanks, David

Thumbnail by daves_not_here
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KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

May 21, 2011
1:35 PM

Post #8577857

I have been watering my houseplants with aquarium water for years. I also bury any deceased fish in them, although there hasn't been enough to make much difference, lol.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

May 21, 2011
3:17 PM

Post #8578009

hey ya morgan !!! hows the weather up there? hope its warming up !!!
weve had so much rain here.. today is 1st break.. great sunny day.. so i hauled everything out.. lol oh my aching back..
lol
tomatoes are blooming gangbusters.. some small fruit already..YEA !!!
thanks for your encouragement to start my own from seed.. plan to from now on...
havent had chance to put up my hardening off greenhouses.. garden is way to wet still
sigh
im hoping if its nice tomorrow to mow lawn..and put in rest of cannas.. hope so at least..
mraider3
Helena, MT

May 22, 2011
10:27 PM

Post #8580913

Same here Dave. Farmer's Almanac calls for a worm summer with lots of rain. I don't understand how they can predict up to a year in advance and be more accurate than the weather reports...I finally snuck in some carrot seed and about ten feet of parsnip seed before the weather took a turn. I still haven't put up my tomato cages yet and tomato plants are getting root bound in the peat pots. May have to go to the backup plants and toss the first round. Raised beds with new media seem to be doing well. I planted one bed of butter crunch lettuce with 50:50 composted cow manure and wood chip fines. Will see how that works.

I think the trick to tomato plants is to be sure you have backup plants in case something goes wrong. If you have planted heirlooms or open pollinated varieties you probably plan to save the seed for next season. Tomato seeds can remain viable for a number of years if you store them properly. Carolyn's method of fermenting the seed before drying works well for saving plenty of seed. I like to take the first to ripen for my seed stock. Ozark (Sam) gave me some open pollinated yellow cherry tomato seed which I have recently germinated and will be potting up shortly. I plan to plant these out in mid-June and let them sprawl like the black cherry toms which I am growing for the first time this year. I have some left over sprite seeds (red cherry toms) as well. I like to add these to the stupice tomatoes when canning souses for added flavor.

I don't know why, but I detest lawn work, yet love to garden. The only plants I tend to besides fruits and vegetables are some yuccas. They don't take a lot of work fortunately.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

May 24, 2011
9:31 AM

Post #8584318

lol..yea..for me its pulling weeds.. when my son was mid teen..he drove me nuts.. guess they all do..
one thing that would "cool" me off was to go out and pull weeds.. LOL get my "karma" in line i guess..lol
it would be august over 100F and id be out there pulling weeds.. LOL
i was overwhelmed with how many tomatoes germinated.. i gave alot of plants away..but still have over 100+
plants..i was thinking just that.. in a week or so..planting 1/2 or so of them.. hold back others..and see how the
weather goes..
im enjoying lettuce from 1st planting.. 2nd in comming on good.. will plant summer lettuce soon..
only putting in tomatoes,cucs,and summer squash this yr..
i wasnt going to put in squash..but i have such trouble paying 75 cents for a single zucchini in july ...LOL
i hope we do have a good summer.. my tropicals are going great.. my biggest banana plants are over 9' tall now..
its getting harder and harder hauling them out on good days .. oh my aching back..LOL
i want to plant them out..but holding off same as my tomatoes.. for that last freeze to pass..
ive been chatting on bananas.org about use of aerated worm tea.. my limited experimenting with it..
but im a believer in its use..and benifits...
mraider3
Helena, MT

May 25, 2011
2:20 AM

Post #8585812

Haven't made any tea as yet but I did collect 50 gallons of rain water to go with my aquarium water for processing tea. I haven't tried the aerator as yet due to the size of air pump I will need to operate the impellers. I want to keep the solids in suspension rather than bag them like a lot of folks do. Figured the solids would settle fairly rapidly and could be either recycled with the next batch or removed and applied like the tea as required. Solids include some fresh fish mulum (fluffy solids extracted from gravel siphoning the aquarium), vermiculture media, composted cow manure, garden soil and some ground alfalfa hay. The alfalfa hay as I understand it will provide some amoeba and paramecium if the aeration process is left to go an extra day or two after frothing occurs.
mraider3
Helena, MT

May 25, 2011
2:34 AM

Post #8585815

Off the subject of using aquarium water here Dave, but I was curious about your zucchini planting. I am increasing my summer squash plantings and backing off the winter squash. Figured I would put a sign at the back of my yard which is on a highway to nowhere or some place called York. At the store prices for tomatoes, squash and green beans which will be in full production in a couple of months I could probably make some seed money for next year by putting out a sign when I'm working the garden. I can't see doing Farmer's Market or selling Home Grown to a commercial grocery story which some gardeners around here do. Maybe a few regular locals would be okay, but I don't have the patients to deal with people any more.
daves_not_here
Las Vegas, NV
(Zone 9b)

May 25, 2011
4:13 PM

Post #8587092

mraider3' I've only gotten one yellow crook neck so far. lots of flowers but not the right kind at the same time. And when I do, I have to hand pollinate. Not enough bees I guess. The plants are still pretty small and I only have one of each(zucchini and crook neck). This is the first time I've planted a garden in the ground. To plant everything I want I'll have to expand next year.
mraider3
Helena, MT

May 27, 2011
12:16 AM

Post #8590076

The only things I have growing so far are lettuce and cole crop transplants in my raised beds which seem to be doing fine. I still need to cover the beds at night do to the cold, wet weather. Peas, carrots, parsnips and beets which were direct seeded have not come up in spite of the fact that the lilac bush on the East side of the house has bloomed. Hope the seeds don't rot in the ground. It is supposed to be down in the 30's again tonight and for the next four nights with better than average chances for more rain. I am holding off on potatoes and onion transplants until the weather warms, but I can't wait too long. We barely got our corn, potatoes, cucumbers and onions in last season before the weather turned. Many of the commercial seed potato growers lost entire crops and a number of the local gardeners didn't get their potato, corn and other plants as well. The first and only gardener in the immediate area when I started mine was so disappointed in his last year's garden he said he would not plant one this year. So I'm being a bit cautious about starting. I just hope we manage to get our harvest in time this year.

tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

May 28, 2011
1:27 PM

Post #8592960

morgan..ouch.. 30s again sigh.. i feel for ya..
we have a cold front comming thru tonite..but not expecting "cold" temps.. but none of my tenders are planted
out yet..i can wait..
sad on commercial growers.. we are having some cold/wet weather for sure this spring...
that will for sure carry over to grocery stores.. sigh.. higher prices...
i try to encourage my neighbours to put in something.. i give out extra tomato plants every yr..
every bit helps when it comes to saving $$$
hey morgan??? did you ever rig up a big aerated castings tea set up?
was thinking on that the other day.. i dont think i will try for a big 50 gal set up in garden.. i'll just use my 5 gal buckets from the
basement..
mraider3
Helena, MT

May 28, 2011
10:41 PM

Post #8593866

Have not set up the tea aerator as yet...nothing to apply the tea too. I am looking forward to some predicted warmer weather on Tuesday. Rain and cold forecasted for the next two days which has been a pattern for Memorial weekend for several years now. Could reach the 70's next week, which will be ideal for getting some potatoes and onion sets planted. May even get the tom cages up. My tomato plants are already budding which isn't good. Running out of space for my tomato and pepper transplants.

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