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My 800gallon system is now ready for cycling.  However, I'm not clear on how to go about figuring the amount of ammonia to initially add to begin this process.  Any help would be appreciated.

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Umm...if you have fish you really have no need to be adding any ammonia...and certainly shouldn't be doing so... And yeah, you are basically cycling with fish and do not have a bio-filter (yet) to process that ammonia. So it will climb. Don't feed the fish for a good long while (weeks, or until your ammonia falls). Cylcling takes a while...like 4-8 weeks sometimes...If your fish die in the mean time just continue cycling fishlessly (by adding the ammonia yourself).

A second bed and more water volume would help dilute that a bit. If you have some prized ornamental fish that you value, then a partial water change may be in order. 

Statements like adding "2ml per 20 gallons" don't really help anyone unless you tell us the strength of your ammonium hydroxide...Imagine if someone using a 2% product told Tracy to "just add 2ml..." and she is using her 26% product...that would be not cool...for her.

I gather you are addressing me Vlad...I believe I never made a statement like 2ml per 20 Gallons.  The actual non politician, statement in full context was "Best in current testing is no more than 2ml per 20 gallons".  Simply put to hit the mark it was not 5ml and below, as someone on AP instructed me to do, but more like 2ml.  That set it at 4.0ppm.  However anyone feels the need to achieve their goal is their business.  I am the last person to tell someone how to Aquaponic, you need advice on 200 species of Hot Peppers and Chilis or how to run a fish farm then let me know.  I will try hard from now on not to share any experiences I have or ask questions, apologies to John Wilson for jumping in on your thread.

Oh man! Do I ever love hot peppers (and jacking threads). 

No worries...but even the "actual non politician, statement in full context"...gives us no inkling as to the amount of ammonium hydroxide you added? Unless you include the % strength of your ammonia product...See what I'm saying? It's like saying I ate three hot peppers...Well were they Manzano or Naga Jolokia?

And dude, I wasn't ripping on you or anything...at all..really.

I often come across like an asshole, if you don't know me, but be assured in my own head, I neither held you or anything you said in any negative regard. I just meant that for the next person reading this and struggling with the same issue (ammonia dosing)...it's helpful to give those kinds of details...

Relax John.  You were not being jumped on there.  Vlad was only re-iterating to those who might skim read (since there are many people out there who tend to do that) that simply following something like "Best in current testing is no more than 2ml per 20 gallons." doesn't quite work unless you actually know the concentrations involved (as you found out when you followed some advice that told you wrongly to use 5 ml per 20 gallons.

It is really a pretty blue green in the tube.

TCLynx said:

Relax John.  You were not being jumped on there.  Vlad was only re-iterating to those who might skim read (since there are many people out there who tend to do that) that simply following something like "Best in current testing is no more than 2ml per 20 gallons." doesn't quite work unless you actually know the concentrations involved (as you found out when you followed some advice that told you wrongly to use 5 ml per 20 gallons.

I will have to check the MSDS sheet, there is no indication to what percent water is in it.  It is a commercial type used on fish farms.

Vlad Jovanovic said:

Oh man! Do I ever love hot peppers (and jacking threads). 

No worries...but even the "actual non politician, statement in full context"...gives us no inkling as to the amount of ammonium hydroxide you added? Unless you include the % strength of your ammonia product...See what I'm saying? It's like saying I ate three hot peppers...Well were they Manzano or Naga Jolokia?

And dude, I wasn't ripping on you or anything...at all..really.

I often come across like an asshole, if you don't know me, but be assured in my own head, I neither held you or anything you said in any negative regard. I just meant that for the next person reading this and struggling with the same issue (ammonia dosing)...it's helpful to give those kinds of details...

Hi Vlad,

It's Austin's Clear Ammonia.  I found a few websites that indicated this is safe for fishless cycling.  I bought at a local hardware store in Connecticut.

I have a 20-gallon fish tank, which I try to keep nearly full.  The grow bed fills to about 15 gallons before draining, and then there's usually another few gallons in the reservoir.  So maybe a total of almost 40 gallons or so.

Thanks,

Steve


Vlad Jovanovic said:

Hey there Steve...Yeah, most of us are still here

Weird that the concentration is not listed? Who is the manufacturer?

So are you saying that your total system water volume is 20 gallons?

Give us some more info on the brand, your area and what hardware store/chain and maybe someone could dig up some good info as to the strength...

Unless it's "Justin Bieber's Super Whimpy Brand Ammonia" or something, you can be sure that your dose wont be in the cups or half gallons range...

Okay, brain trust -- I think I've screwed up this whole thing.  

This afternoon I added in 15 ml of Clear Ammonia to the 35-40 gallon system.  I waited an hour, tested, and got clear.  So I scratched my head, then added another 15 ml.  I tested again a few hours later, and still clear.

Then, I read this blog post, which informed me that (a) 30 ml of Clear Ammonia is waaaaaaaay too much for this size of a system, and (b) it is possible to get a false reading on the ammonia test if you overload system with ammonia.  I'm guessing that's what I've done.  

I'll test again tomorrow.  I haven't yet added my plants, but I was going to do so in the next day or two.  Assuming I have indeed overloaded the system with ammonia, how long do you all think it would take to filter out the excess ammonia, or rather, bring it down to a tolerable level for fish?  Am I just better off pumping out the water and starting from scratch?

Thanks again,
Steve

Fishless cycling takes time even if you don't over dose.  Cycling up a system takes about 6 weeks under good conditions.

Super over dosing is likely to stall out cycling so you are better doing a water change to bring the ammonia level down to between 2-4 ppm.

A few goldfish would be is just as effective and he won't spend weeks chasing ammonia levels up and down with water changes. Nature does a wonderful job with this process, but then again...you don't get to fiddle.... :D

I posted this on another thread last night.  Reposting to let others know not to give up.  Be patient and listen to the great advice by those who give so much of themselves to help us all out.  

On Sept 8 I began fishless cycling in my 300 gallons by adding 6 oz of ammonia.  The next day I added another 6 oz so now I had 12 oz in there.  My ammonia level has been wayyyyyy up there and wasn't budging until last week when I thought I was seeing maybe a little lighter shade of green on the color chart.  I was tempted to change out half the water this week.  Yesterday I tested it and it was down to ZERO.  The nitrites are high between 2 & 5 ppm.  The nitrates are over 80ppm.

I did throw my nephew's filter pad from his fish tank in the sump tank last week.

So, be patient.  In three weeks mine went from sky high and "oh my God, you added how much?" to zero..

When fishless cycling you normally wouldn't need to do any water changes and there isn't chasing ammonia levels up and down.  Except for when people dump in way too much before reading the answers to their questions.

If he were to put in a few goldfish now, they would become dead goldfish since the ammonia is way high and they would only add to the problem.

Chip Pilkington said:

A few goldfish would be is just as effective and he won't spend weeks chasing ammonia levels up and down with water changes. Nature does a wonderful job with this process, but then again...you don't get to fiddle....

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