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PostPosted: Feb 19th, '17, 17:17 
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Hi all, Iv just finish building my first aquaponic system and have had a fishless cycle running for 14 days now. I was a bit hasty and started the cycle before I had a chance to buy a test kit so it ran for a few days (with Wee for ammonia source) before I started monitoring. once I got the kit i started dosing with ammonia every day to 1.0ppm. After day 5 I started to get Nitrate reading (20ppm) but for the whole time Iv been testing the nitrite reading has been off the chart (>5.0) so yesterday I decided to do a 75% waterchange in the system. This Morning I tested and got,

PH 8.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5

So I dosed with ammonia to 0.5ppm and tested 8hrs later getting

PH 8.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 1.0 to 2.0 ppm
Nitrate 20 ppm

Im not real sure what I should do now. Should I keep dosing with ammonia every day? Was I correct to do a water change? I was concerned because I read that High Nitrite can stall the cycle. How do I keep the Nitrite under control? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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PostPosted: Feb 21st, '17, 03:21 
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Welcome to the forum :headbang:


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PostPosted: Feb 21st, '17, 06:33 
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Quote:
Im not real sure what I should do now. Should I keep dosing with ammonia every day? Was I correct to do a water change? I was concerned because I read that High Nitrite can stall the cycle. How do I keep the Nitrite under control? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Get some plants in ASAP. It is no good generating nitrates unless you have something to use it. If you have plants in place then 20-50ppm for nitrates is fine but if it keeps going up you dont have enough plants (or plants are too small).

Dont worry about the bacteria, they are present now.
Definitely don't go putting ammonia in every day.

My advice is to get some other nutrients cycling in your system.
So instead of pee perhaps use some liquid fertiliser that has **urea** in it (urea goes to ammonia _> ites -> ates).
As you are in Aust then Seasol Powerfeed is good/best option (green bottle not the white one**).
If you put plants in they will benefit from the additional nutrients. Just water onto the grow beds directly.

Cos lettuce is a good one to put in - hardy and grows pretty fast
(get seedlings from Bunnings etc, no good waiting for seeds to establish at this stage).

water change is fine - the bacteria is mainly in your media so taking out water from the fish tank wont affect bacteria.

give it a bit longer and get your plants using nitrates and then you should be fine to add fish.

you haven't fully cycled yet as the nitrites are holding at higher than desired levels.

** while you are there buy the white normal seasol as well as you will need it in future.
(it has minerals, plant benefits and potassium etc but low nitrogen and phosphorous - use this when nitrates high).


[edit] p.s. when you get chance it would be a good idea to tell us about your system and perhaps post some pictures. Members here can flag any potential issues. Guide to post pics here > viewtopic.php?f=4&t=21754 (go to bottom for easier instructions).

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PostPosted: Feb 21st, '17, 07:34 
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Thanks Darren, I appreciate the advice. I planted a heap of veggie seedlings a few days ago and yesterday the nitrate had dropped to 5ppm so I assume the plants are consuming it. I'll buy some Powerfeed today.

Just to confirm I understand this correctly the Sesol Powerfeed will provide nutriants, minerals and produce Nitrates but the Seasol in the white container will add nutriants & minerals but wont increase the Nitrate level.
& while cycling I should add the Powerfeed when required to maintain a Nitrate level of between 20-50ppm? Am I on the right track?

Brad


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PostPosted: Feb 21st, '17, 09:31 
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Hi Brad,

Hi Ammonia levels (8ppm+) will definitely stall the cycling process, but I've never heard of Nitrites stalling it.

At this point you really don't need the Seasol Powerfeed, it contains a lot more Ammonia than the standard Seasol. You don't need substantial amounts of Ammonia anymore, it has done it's job and it will only increase your Nitrates further.

If you were to add either of the two, the standard Seasol would be the better option, it will provide trace elements and some Potassium, but will also provide a small amount of Ammonia to keep the bacteria ticking over, if that's what you want. However, IMO you don't need to be adding anything at the moment, there will be enough nutrients in there for the seedlings, simply wait for the Nitrites to drop 0.0ppm and add your fish. The bacteria colony will be fine with no Ammonia for the period it takes the Nitrite to drop, and will get up to speed very quickly once fish are added.

After you have added your fish you can add std Seasol at 1x capful per 500L per week, especially in the first few months, just to provide some trace elements. Many people find they don't even need to do this once their system is well established, depending of course on their stocking and feed rates, and types of plants they are growing.

You don't need to aim for any specific Nitrate level, anywhere between 0.0ppm and 40ppm is fine. In a well balanced system you can have 0.0ppm and still have very healthy plant growth. Above 40ppm is not really desirable, IMO it suggests your system is not balanced. At 80ppm lettuce and other tender leafy greens can start to become bitter. At 160ppm it can inhibit seedling development and affect fruiting. At 160ppm+ it can also have a detrimental effect on fish health with long term exposure, and many people suggest it also affects the taste of the fish.

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PostPosted: Apr 12th, '17, 05:12 
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Curious on a Fishless Cycling

Where or how does the bacteria start?

If you have the fish tank ->> Radial Filter --> Sump Tank --> Fish tank

and add Ammonia to start.

How does the bacteria start? Or do you need a grow bed, and if so, what about the ammonia and the plants?

Thanks in advance


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PostPosted: Apr 25th, '17, 06:10 
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Where can one learn more about fishes cycling
the process, effects etc...

Thanks in advance


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PostPosted: Apr 25th, '17, 08:36 
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Hi Bear,

It's best to have the grow bed in place when you're starting to cycle, as that's where most of the bacteria will be living; there will be some floating around in the water, but most of them grow stuck to surfaces. The media in grow beds (or in bio filters for those using them) gives them the surface area they need to grow enough to handle all the ammonia and nitrites produced by the fish.

As for where they start / come from, they're everywhere in the environment and will just turn up on their own.

The process is pretty simple; you set your system up, giving the bacteria somewhere to live, and put in whatever ammonia source you've chosen. (If you're using bottled ammonia, you need to make sure it doesn't have any detergents or fragrances or whatever in it; just ammonia and water. Cloudy ammonia has detergent in it.) Then you do water tests! Not much will happen at first, but after a while you should see the ammonia level start to come down as the nitrite level rises; then you'll see the nitrite level fall as the nitrate level rises. Once you have zero ammonia and zero nitrites, it's best to test again by adding more ammonia - enough to raise the ammonia level to 1ppm - and then test several times over the next 24 hours. If the ammonia falls to zero within that time without you getting a nitrite reading, your system is fully cycled and has enough bacteria to handle a reasonable number of fish. :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Apr 27th, '17, 07:43 
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Thanks Mel Redcap


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PostPosted: Apr 28th, '17, 06:45 
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Thinking further
What do the plants feed on while the Cycling process is under way ?
Or are they just happy to have water flowing through/to them ?

Or do you need to add something for the plants besides the ammonia during the cycling process ?

Thanks all


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PostPosted: Apr 28th, '17, 07:22 
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Some plants won't do well to start with, others will do okay even without much in the way of nutrients in the water. Generally if you start out with leafy greens you'll get better results, they're usually happy with just the water. You can add other fertilisers while you're cycling, but if you're using something that will put in extra nitrogen it'll make it a bit harder to interpret your test results to tell when you're cycled.

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PostPosted: Jun 9th, '17, 00:24 
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Typically how fast does the system take to cycle ?

at 7:50 am NH3 0.5 , NO2 0.25 , NO3 5 after reading added 500ml NH3 to 650 gal system
at 8:30 am NH3 1.0 , NO2 0 , NO3 20


Has this system cycled ?


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