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Some information about my IBC based system 

Fish Tank = 175 gallons

Grow Bed = 80 gallons with automatic siphon working well. 1/2" tube with valve for water circulation with 300 gph pump setting. (cracking the valve half open LOL) Pump is rated for 594 gph.

Hydroton media

Air pump with 2 outlets working well.

Water Temp maintained at 76F with immersion water heater.

Chlorine already removed before putting fish in with chloramine.

Also put API  brand nitrifying bacteria 8oz.

All this was accomplished 2 weeks ago.

PH=8.2

Ammonia = 4.0

Nitrite = 2.0

Nitrate = 40

GoldFish are doing well - active, hungry and finish whatever little I put in within 2 minutes.

Additional comment - water seems clear - starting to see brown lining around the edge of the grow bed.

Nothing seems to grow - some seedlins sprouted but seems to be not growing. Put a couple of small flowering plants after washing with rain water a week ago. Seems to be withering.

I know it's driving me nuts not to see any growth. But I know patience and time needed. How long should I wait before changing anything. I don't want to make too many changes (learnt this from tuning PID controllers) for slow responding systems.

Any comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated.

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Thanks Alex - will do
Temp - 70F
PH - 8.0
Ammonia - between 0 and 0.25 - closer to 0 the color than 0.25.
Nitrite 2.0
Nitrate 80
KH - 10

Now plants are sprucing slightly. Withering has stopped. Have starting adjusting PH down.

Have I started cycling? Seems to me as ammonia has gone down

Update 3/27/2016:

I am definitely cycling in the proverbial sense - 6 catfish died in last 60 hours.

Amonnia is at zero.

Nitrite is at 5

Nitrate is at 80.

PH at 8.

Goldfish are doing fine - must be the catfish could not take the stress in a higher ammonia and nitrite environment.

I jest by saying that to get this system started - needed a few sacrificial offerings.

But ammonia and nitrite lowering added last night. Will check and update status in about 12 hours.

I notice this is becoming a log of sorts for me. 

so true - same in my system except it was 50 catfish

Khanaponics said:

 must be the catfish could not take the stress in a higher ammonia and nitrite environment.

Thanks George - it gives me some sense of comfort knowing that i am following the footsteps of people who walked the path ahead of me.

George said:

so true - same in my system except it was 50 catfish

Khanaponics said:

 must be the catfish could not take the stress in a higher ammonia and nitrite environment.

There were a couple of surviving catfish but I eventually killed them by setting a timer wrong (10 seconds on instead of 10 minutes per hour).  Very simple mistakes can kill fish.  My third fish kill was in my fifth year of aquaponics this recent winter when I stopped pumping to media beds at night in an effort to retain warmer water in my fish tank, which is in the ground.  I also stopped my air lift at night so no pumping or aerating was being done at night.  I thought it would be ok because the fish were on the bottom at night and inactive.  Wrong.  All of the bluegill and largemouth bass died but the tilapia all survived.  What I didn't think through that time was nitrifying bacteria cover every surface in the tank and also consume oxygen - it's not just the fish which consume oxygen.  Anyway, good luck and when you make changes, be careful.

Khanaponics said:

Thanks George - it gives me some sense of comfort knowing that i am following the footsteps of people who walked the path ahead of me.

OK - 15 catfish became floaters.

ph=7.8

ammonia - 0

nitrite - 2.0

nitrate - 80

kh=10

gh=7

temp - 74

i guess -  I am following the typical cyling curve where the mmonia is close to zero and nitrie and nitrite are up.

At least plants are not withering away. Starting to lower ph slightly 7.8 down 0.2.

will slowly bring it down over a week around 7.2.

Hopefully remaining catfish survive.

Ciao.

Thanks to all for gcing feedback and support.

Update on April 1, 2016. All test results using API test kists

1. Nitrite stays high between 2-5 on the API test

2. Ammonia is around 0.25

3. PH around 7.8

4. Starting to see algae on the sponge filter. Good sign I guess. Tank water color is yellowish. 

5. Put in few plants, tomato, strawberry pepper and lettuce. Growing well. Nitrate now dropped from 80 to 20.

6. Temp = 74 maintained with heater.

Catfish still dying about 1 a day. Goldfish healthy. 

Comments appreciated!

You shouldn't need a sponge filter anywhere in your system.  

The bacteria which consume nitrite take longer to establish than those which feed on ammonia. as you are experiencing.

You did well to build a system with twice as much media as water in tank.  Once cycled, you probably won't have much to monitor much, other than PH.

Do goldfish need water that warm?  Heating water is expensive.

Sponge filter - it is piece of foam filter and I call it the sponge filter. $3 in walmart on sale. LOL.

I wanted to get the bateria happy. Also in Arkansas the temperature seems to be fluctuatng a lot. Withion one wieek we have seen a high on 81 and a low of 41. Just want to keep the temp stable. Once system is cycled completely - I will use it for winter time only.

Thanks George for your comments.

System update:

All the catfish are gone. All goldish are good. water is yellow, all seems good - plants doing well. Lettuce was sorta limping now blooming good.



George said:

You shouldn't need a sponge filter anywhere in your system.  

I disagree George, a sponge filter is an excellent backup that adds oxygen to the system.  They're old school (so am I) and very reliable.  All they do is take up some extra space, I've got one in each of my tanks.   Khanaponics, in my opinion, you're right on to include it.

 

If you don't mind, how does a sponge filter add oxygen to a system?

Cris Meeks said:

a sponge filter is an excellent backup that adds oxygen to the system.  T

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