Aquaponics - disaster, strawberry towers, and narrowness

Normally I tend to dive right in to aquaponics disasters, but this time I thought I'd narrowly avoid one instead.

I decided to do a post on my two spinach plants I have growing in my strawberry towers.

That's them from the front...

and from the side.

I look at them every day, but what I don't see is the root system.

It turns out the root system has been growing down into the drain hole of the strawberry tower it lives in.

The result was the water was restricted from leaving the tower, and was getting ready to overflow at any minute.

Seen here is a meniscus forming on the lip of the hole for the plant. This is looking into the bottom  hole, down toward the drain.

Seconds to spare.

No doubt a lot of water was still getting through the drain, but it did look ripe for disaster.

The roots looked like this when I removed the plant. It's difficult to see in the picture, but they reach the ground. This means they were not just blocking the tube, but were probably growing in the large PVC drain half way to the fish tank.

Definitely something to look out for, and another mark in the "cons" column against my system design.

My only real course of action was to prune the roots. They were so long that even if I only used the top holes of the strawberry towers, they would still reach the bottom, and thus, the drain.

120 things in 20 years, the disaster that never was - Aquaponics - disaster, strawberry towers, and narrowness

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