Had a busy weekend, so I didn't get a chance to get any photos, but I wanted to put out a couple of updates. First, I picked up 40 tilapia on Thursday. I initially put 15 into my sand system. However, Thursday night and Friday night dipped down in the 40's, and I was worried about the cool temperatures and the effects on the fish. So, I moved as many as I could into the pond. I got all but 2 out. The other two remaining were small and too damned fast to catch! I also lost a large one, who jumped out of the tank during the first night. Sad.
The tilapia in the pond seem to be OK. I've seen several feeding, though not all. I transferred 3 large goldfish into the sand system, so that is now holding 3 large goldfish and 2 small tilapia.
I've discovered that I don't need to poke holes in the sand. All I have to do is scrape away the algal mat on the top. I scrape it away in large chunks and then move those chunks to the surface of the sand under the plants (where the water doesn't get to). It should provide a bit of a mulch layer.
In my pond system. I've discovered that some other bugs are the major culprit in eating my strawberries. I don't know what they are, and I'll try to post a picture soon, so that someone who does know can identify them. They're extremely common around here. I've seen them in my compost piles, too.
I put in 3 uniseals in my three grow beds where the open hole overflow drains were, and I put in 2" pipe with elbows. When I flip them up, it serves to prevent water from overflowing out, so that I can flood my plants and get rid of the pests. It seems to be helping quite a bit, and I'm wondering if there are benefits to periodic flooding of the plants that I hadn't thought of before.
It also brings to mind the likelihood of growing rice in my system. I'm definitely going to look into it, as I think it would be quite easy to start off with less hydroton and keep adjusting the flood height and adding hydroton. I think that's how it works! Like I said, I need to read up on it.
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