Dustin Gebhardt

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since Jul 21, 2014
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Recent posts by Dustin Gebhardt

I had a 200 gal tank that housed dozens of cichlids.  I custom-built a cabinet to sit on top of the tank.  The top 6" of the cabinet was sectioned off and I installed a pond liner.  I placed several rafts with net pots in the water.  Above this was a PVC framework with grow lights.  My filtration system would pull from the fish tank and pump it up to the top area.  From there, it would gravity drain back to the fish tank.  The filter would do a good job of preventing too much mulm buildup in the growing area while still passing on the dissolved nutrients to the plants.  I was able to successfully grow lots of smaller plants like herbs.

I response to your question on how to balance the nutrients, I would say that it is nearly impossible.  There are so many nutrients to be balanced that it would take too much time, energy, and cost.  You can easily test for things like nitrate (or nitrite) and phosphate, but testing for potassium with any accuracy is much more costly.  And what about all of the micro nutrients that the plants (and fish) need? What about the contaminants that slowly build up over time and that we DON'T normally test for?  I'm a chemist, so testing and analysis is something that I love to do. I have access to a fully-equipped lab, yet it would take me several hours to perform all of the testing for the items that I know about.  But eventually, it is the things that I don't know about and don't test for that are going to cause me problems.  

For my system, once the nitrates or phosphates rose above a certain level, I would plan on doing a water change.  It kept the contaminants in check and allowed me to enjoy my system rather than overthink it.  
2 years ago
Steven,
I know you are not typically fond of solar devices due to their many limitations. However, in seeking out more information on a portable USB device charger that I can take with me on my 9-day hike through the Appalacian Trail next spring, I am only finding solar-based solutions. These devices typically are strapped or secured to the top of your backpack and then you plug in your iDevice. Since I will be hiking in mostly wooded areas, I feel that this type of charger will be of limited use, especially while I'm on the move and my solar aspect changes. What do you think of these devices? Do you have another solution?

One idea that I'm considering: I have several dozen Eneloop batteries, and I could purchase one of the many gadgets that store power in batteries, which you can then plug into your iDevice, but the weight of this solution might be of concern.

I love your apprearances on Jack's show. As an engineer and chemist, I love your attention to detail and real-life applicability. Keep up the good work!

Dustin
6 years ago
Has anybody used one of the many free mulch services I see on the internet, like chipero.com? They advertise that the mulch is arborist-grade (coarse-chopped, mixed with leaves/etc, and generally free from toxic gick) and the price is right.

I'm considering getting a truckload, spreading it across my HOA-mandatory lawn, and chopping it up with my mower with the intent of adding organic matter to my dirt.
6 years ago