Aquaponic Gardening

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I just completed my 35 gallon, 1:1 ratio, flood and drain system, and I want to cycle the system with fish, probably gold fish.  Are there any store bought chemicals that help with the cycling and promote bacteria growth?

Also, my grow bed is 3 feet long and 2 foot wide, and thoughts on the most economical(initial cost) light to use.  (going to be growing leafy greens and Basil to start).  How many hours per day should the light be on?


Brandon B.

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I've always recommended a less is more approach with cycling.  There are different schools of thought out there but so far in my experience, dosing the ammonia up to only 3 or 4 for the first dose max ad then smaller doses after you actually see the ammonia start to fall seems to work better.

If you simply start dosing 5 ppm a day your ammonia is going to be so high off the charts that it will probably act like an antibacterial chemical.

Usually your first dose is going to give you a spike that will last a while until the bacteria start to colonize and then the level will start to come down which is when I would dose again.  Then you are likely to see the nitrite start climbing.  While your nitrite is through the roof I wouldn't be dosing the ammonia too high since there is school of through that the bacteria that convert the nitrite can be inhibited by super high ammonia levels.

No matter what you do, cycling tends to average about 6 weeks.  Even if you do one of those super fast cycle ups with bottled bacteria you might get past the initial spikes of cycling in three weeks but you still generally have at least another three weeks of settling in time where you still need to keep a close eye on tests and such.

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