Goal: zero waste-water -- saltwater friendly garden?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by L/B Block, May 13, 2017.

  1. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    Lawrence and I (Betsy) take on different tasks with getting this tank thriving - and one of my goal's is 0 wastewater. With 35 TDS coming in from the garden hose, we run through Kold Ster-Il and DI. 0 waste getting water in.

    But water changes are another challenge. I want to set up a gray water system that can feed a garden. If we move towards a more continuous approach or smaller weekly changes, we can just water directly or I can set up a gravity feed from a reservoir.

    I found this article: http://www.sciencefocus.com/qa/are-there-any-crops-can-be-irrigated-salt-water - nothing specific to reef tank/water changes though.

    And this on plants that thrive in salt water soil: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/seaside/gardening-salt-water-soil.htm

    Has anyone done this? Thoughts?






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    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  2. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    Great question. I'm interested to know too. I always thought salt water would kill anything I would want to plant. Unless you want to have plants used to brackish water.


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  3. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    Lantana is apparently one of them - we have one that is struggling and segregated from all our other plants. We are going to test today!

    This, along with a continuous water change approach, has us both really curious.


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  4. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    I feel a trade coming on! Salty Graywater garden setup guidance for continuous water change setup. Any guidance on cost for the parts on that?

    They are such a natural combo.


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  5. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    True! I guess you can drop the water from output into an irrigation system.

    So I'm using a neptune dos pump, new is $300 but can be found used without too much difficulty. You'll need to be running an apex. You could also do this with BRS single peristaltic pumps, but I haven't looked into it as much. You need a high quality one because as you can imagine there's a decent amount of wear and tear that can happen. And then you need a big mixing container for your new salt water. That's about it. Tubing can run very long distances with these pumps. My nsw storage tank is about 30 ft from my tank and many go longer distances.


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  6. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    Disclaimer. I haven't done it yet, but I have everything to do it. Maybe wait a bit before taking my advice :). Or if anyone else who is doing it currently can chime in.


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  7. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    Me, too! Let's keep sharing.

    My scientific process:
    1) start watering our lantana with the water we've got now. If we don't kill it....
    2) add on a daylily and/or other options from the list. If those thrive...
    3) start doing the math on watering a planter... either to set up a drip line (we got a bunch of that!) or to fill a reservoir in a large planter like this:
    https://www.houzz.com/photos/431587...Grey-240-industrial-outdoor-pots-and-planters
    We need to make sure that we wouldn't overflow -- may just be easier to get a standard non-self-watering and just let it drip.

    We can use this self watering approach if we are doing weekly, but if we do a large enough planter, we can probably just let it run drip.


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  8. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Apex w dos seems to be the best way for continuos water change.
     
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  9. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    So it only works with Apex? I'll have to do some homework if we can back engineer to the legacy AquaController. The dos would make a good (generous) Father's Day present - but the Apex is a little much!


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  10. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Yeah. Need apex to be controlled. Not sure if your dinosaur is compatible. Not saying it isn't, just don't know.
     
  11. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    You could do it with a legacy controller, the problem is the DOS sends back information saying how long it's been on (or how many times it turned) to base, now the DOS system isn't backward compatible but you could make something of similar with a similar high end pump which should be fine as you periodically check (i.e. every couple days) to make sure that one of the pumps isn't off or pushing the wrong amount of water.

    That said, no way I'd put saltwater in the garden, yes there are some plants that can thrive in salty conditions but the vast majority of what we have will absolutely hate your salty soil. If you wanted to do it, I would say first test with a closed off planter box so you don't contaminate your soil with salts.

    Bravo on 35 TDS from the hose though, that's very clean water to start with.
     
  12. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    A few posts above I gave my "scientific" process, along with links to a self-contained planter. Absolutely agree!

    We have some lantana in a totally isolated area with no irrigation currently. I'm going to test there. I've been contemplating pulling it because it isn't thriving, so a good test candidate!

    On the 35 TDS - it was higher during drought, but they just switched our reservoir back a few weeks ago. It was lovely to get that back.


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  13. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    I've had this idea too but there is a lot of salt in our aquarium water. I have a 55 gallon barrel for my nsw and add 28 cups of salt into it. That's just over 1/2 cup of salt per gallon. I do a relatively small water change of 1/2 gallon each night. That means if I was to export it to a garden it would be getting 1/4 cup of salt every day. That's 91.25 cups of salt over a year.
     
  14. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well if you wanted to go super MacGyver, you could rig up some evaporation system that lets the evaporated (non-salty) water drain out and use that for irrigation, then periodically just dump the brine down the drain.. It'd be something similar to what you'd needed to do if stuck on a deserted island. That said, not sure it'd be worth the effort, but points for effort if you did :D
     
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  15. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    The plants we'd look at are ones that thrive next to salt water/e.g. the ocean. Those would thrive in similarly salty conditions. I'm curious, too if we use a reservoir based system if all the salt would necessarily leech up with the water.

    Thinking about it: good garden practices have you 'turning' the soil in much the same way we do water changes, amending to compensate for mineral depletion & additions. This is going to be a fun experiment.
     
  16. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I'd be curious how salty those conditions actually are. Mighty be a world of difference between getting spritzing from the ocean and dumping many gallons of water into a yard.
     
  17. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    Naysayer?

    Actually, I'd imagine beach side would have even similar or higher concentrations of deposited salt from spray - one article speculates that it gets all the salt and none of the water. . I'm doing a lot of reading right now on it - fun stuff.

    The guides I'm finding online are for NC and Florida coastal landscaping, one published NC State. A few shrubs appear to be highly salt tolerant, such as rugosa rose, yucca, rosemary and (though toxic to animals) oleander. Among perennials, daylily and blanket flower - all beautiful pops of color.

    Rugosa rose sounds like a fun one to try first after our existing lantana - pretty, and the wiki already describes it as "the first one in from the sea" and the one cities put next to roads that get salted for de-icing.

    [​IMG]

    Yup, I put up a picture of a land plant on the forum...

    We've got a ways to go. We also need to figure if and how to get the continuous water change running. I posted to BRS on the product page for the Dos to ask how it can be done with our AquaController III. The seller on Amazon (Reeftec) said "yes" when I asked if it would work, but then mentioned the older Apex. Not sure he realizes we have the dinosaur!

    [​IMG]


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  18. Chromis

    Chromis Supporting Member

    I don't understand how this would work, Salt would build up from evaporation and you'd switch back to watering with fresh water. Also haven't you heard the expression Salting the Earth?


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  19. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    I'm not sure I understand the question.

    To be clear, I don't know how it would work either - but lots of evidence points to the possibility. And it's an inexpensive experiment. I garden extensively, so buying a new planter is about the only big add-on.


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  20. L/B Block

    L/B Block Supporting Member

    Just found a great thread on Reef Central - in particular the following:

    "It depends on the plants, frequency etc. I have been doing this for years (more than a decade infact) on the ground cover plants around my house. I alternate waste salt and fresh h2o with absolutely no ill effects. Many plants can tolerate salty water. Experiment and see. It is not a lot of effort and as water becomes scarcer and more valuable we need to be creative, use grey water and conserve. FWIW I own a plant nursery."

    http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2518415

    Sounds like ensuring we have a good balance and the right plants. And just experimenting.


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