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Fanatic Carrots! Yes, You Can Grow Root Based Vegetables in an Aquaponics System!


Long time, no post. Not exactly a good way to keep people entertained with my blog, granted, but, like many I’ve been dealing with hiccups in my system as of late.

It started with a fish die off fiasco (essentially lost my initial batch of Talapia, lost my second batch of Talapia, switched temporarily to Goldfish to keep the veggies going, but bought a sick batch from a local Petsmart ((hint: if you see a lot of floaters in the tank when you go to buy, find someplace else, they’re already diseased)) so got a second batch from another store location and that seemed to do the trick) then I had to deal with Ph problems in the water.

carrots-02Following my growbed expansion, all my measurements sorta went out the window with regards to maintaining proper Ph. For the longest time I was putting in waaaay to little Muriatic Acid to bring my tap water down to a more reasonable 6.8-7 ph (I was getting 8+ and was shocked that the Goldfish seemed to handle this without issue)… I only just achieved this great feat in the last week. I’ve been battling that little hiccup since August of 2014. I knew from others experiences, that I’d rather err too ‘high’ on Ph, than too low (as I find it is more easy going down than up in this arena). You also don’t want to adjust the Ph too fast, or you risk stressing out your fish and killing them off.

I finally got my fish still kicking after about several months as well as finally getting my Ph down to where its supposed to be.

But when you have too high a Ph in your system, you risk stunted plant growth, which is the Pandoras box of which I was trapped. So instead of last seasons HUGE growth, only 2 things in my system made it through without too much issue, that being my Basil and my Carrots!

carrots-03CARROTS!?? you say? Aren’t root based vegetables and rock media at odds with each other when trying to grow those types of plants? For the most part, yes. You will get the beautiful artwork of carrots that you see on this page, as opposed to the ‘traditional’ versions you see in your grocers store! But, they are edible and they take a while longer to get to size (at least that was the case with my system). For my carrots, I had the high Ph problem that stunts growth, plus the plants battle with growing in lava rock. The end result…
about 7 months to get to harvest and some of the most squat and odd looking carrots I’ve ever been party too 😉

But the experiment was a success and I found that carrots in my system are a fairly hearty plant even with a high Ph issue.

I used Zanahoria Short n Sweet carrot seeds from Burpee. I figured at the time the shorter squatter carrots were a much better fit for my system, versus the typical longer carrots we normally plant in dirt. These typically have a 68 day harvest cycle, but as I said, it took me nearly 3x that time to pull what you see in the pics right now. I also did this because I needed the root filtration that the carrots were providing my system to keep the water clean for the fish. My other plants were doing terrible due to the high Ph problem, so now you know the full story. Just some food for thought 🙂

carrots-04In the end, now that the Ph has just grazed 7.0, I’m now seeing a marked improvement in all my plants now, and expect much better growth in the next coupla months.

I know for most people out there, if your system isn’t indoors or have a greenhouse, you are working on other projects to pass the time (its currently in the 70’s here in Phoenix). So while most people rag on us about our ungodly summer heat, you gotta admit, that while most of the US is freezing its nickers, this is the best time of the year for us 😉

Well, that’s a wrap for now. More updates to come now that the fish and Ph are seemingly under better control.

Till next time!