Ecology Team

Goals:

  • Address all biological and ecological aspects of the system.

  • Develop better ecological assays of our systems.

  • Maintain plant and fish growth and production in the systems.

Current Work:   The ecology is currently working on the beta system, which is a 550 gallon system with a 250 gallon fish tank, a mechanical filter, a biological filter, and a plant bed with 67 wells for plants.  The mechanical filter acts to separate the excess fish food and fish feces from water.  From the mechanical filter, the water then passes into the biological filter where the nitrosomonas and nitrobacter bacteria reside.  In the process of nitrification, the bacteria convert the ammonia given off by the fish into nitrites.  Once nitrites are produced, nitrates are then produced.  From there, the water travels into the plant bed carrying the newly produced nitrate, which is used by the plants for growth purposes.

Member Sofia Kruszka evaluating the pH level in the water of the beta system

Problems: Recently, the team has had issues with establishing the nitrifying bacteria in the beta system.  The team spent multiple weeks researching and experimenting with different possible factors that could cause the bacteria colonies not to grow.

Solutions:  As of last Sunday, we have seen a marginal increase in our nitrate level from 0ppm.  We believe that because RO (Reverse Osmosis) water was being used in the system, salts and naturally occurring elements such as phosphorus, which are integral in providing energy for plant growth.  

First plant that was added to the system on December 3rd, 2017

Updates:  Recently have added malaysian trumpet snails (~37)  into the plant bed to consume the large amount of algae that resides in the tank.  Algae use a lot of oxygen and a well-oxygenated system is important for providing bacteria and plants with the necessary level of oxygen for respiration.       

Our plants are currently in the process of growing, check back for future updates!