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 Post subject: Compost Tea a failure?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 3:45 pm 
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Location: Saginaw (NW Fort Worth), Texas
Can someone tell me if I did something wrong here? I took a five gallon bucket and filled it with the water from cleaning the aquarium tanks. Then added compost in a pair of tights, some apple cider vinegar and a cup of garret juice to get it started. I put two small air stones in the bottom (designed for a one gallon tank) and let it brew for about four days. Well, today when I went to use it their was slimy stuff in it. I ended up using the other leg of the pair of tights to strain our this particulate matter. I went ahead and used it full strength on my plants this morning but now I wonder if I just madea huge mistake. ANyone have any thoughts?

Thanks
Christina


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 Post subject: How did it smell?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 3:51 pm 
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Location: Norman, Oklahoma (Zone 7)
Did it smell icky? If so, it was not good to add to the plants...I would think. Why did you choose to use the fishtank water and what do you mean when you said that you "cleaned" the tanks? Just scrubbed around with a brush? How did you aerate it? (Just stirring should have been fine). In fact, it doesn't even need to sit that long, even though members on this board recommend a week. I read in the 1961 Rodal Encyclopedia to Organic Gardening of something called "Compost Water" which is the grandfather, I would think, of our "Compost Tea". That book recommended soaking fresh compost for about five minutes, stirring well and pouring directly on the plants. All the fancy fixin's and recipes we have these days are just new innovations of the same basic idea....compost water. So don't stress out- just give it another go.

Another good addition would be old coffee.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 6:11 pm 
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My last batch of compost tea was the same. No smell. I just strained off the 'slime' and used the rest. I put the slime in the compost bin.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:50 am 
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Location: Saginaw (NW Fort Worth), Texas
Thanks for ya'lls help. I've been using the spent aquarium water because of all the fish poop in it, figure that has to be good for something - especially cuz I clean these one gallon tanks once a week for the little guys - I wanted to use the water somehow and not waste it. As for the smell of my tea - it smelled like composted poop :oops: My yard and flowers really seem appreciative as they greened up rather nicely. 8) I will do more research on the web and see if I can find a reason not to use the aquarium water.

Cheers!
Christina


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:58 am 
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Location: Saginaw (NW Fort Worth), Texas
Oh! I forgot to mention that I do not use any chemicals when I am cleaning their tanks. I just use piping hot water blasted into the gravel to remove the debris, then I wipe everything down with hot water and a clean cloth and voila - a happy home to Little Fella and Miss Molly. Also, I have aerated the compost tea with two tiny air stones designed for the one gallon tanks and weighted them down with rocks.

Hugs!
Christina


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 12:30 pm 
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Check out these two sites, their tea brewer they are selling is basically the same system described in the forums: 5gal bucket, airstones, ect.

http://www.alaskagiant.com/instructions.htm

http://www.alaskagiant.com/faq.htm

I also found this little snippet on the site:

To help you determine if your tea is getting adequate aeration

When your tea is done, half-fill a plastic water bottle with a sealable top, make sure the top is sealed, and let the tea sit in a warm place for 24 hours. If the bottle is blown up in 24 hours, or all sucked in, you have a problem with your tea maker that you need to deal with, most likely anaerobic conditions. If the bottle is normal looking, then open the top slowly, and use your nose carefully. If it stinks, you have a problem. If it smells good, and the color is dark brown, your tea is likely in good shape relative to aeration.

Good Luck!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2004 10:55 am 
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I would do three things different:

1. No piping hot water on the raw fish manure. Hot water will kill microbes.
2. No vinegar in the tea. Microbes are sensitive to pH.
3. Only brew for 24 hours, especially in the summer. Maybe 12 hours.

You might add no more than one ounce of molasses as a food for the microbes at the beginning of the brew.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:38 pm 
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Location: Saginaw (NW Fort Worth), Texas
Thanks for the info David. Can I ask why the limited time for the brewing process? The last batch I did brewed for three days with no funny smells at all amazingly - but I did use hot water when I cleaned the aquariums. Thankfully I saw your post b4 I cleaned them out this morning and so I used cold water this time. Hopefully this helps. Also, is apple cider vinegar still bad to use with this concoction? If so, I won't use it but I thought it had so many miconutrients that it was supposed to be a good thing.

Thanks for your help.\
Christina


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