Hi all, I am new to all of this, Aquaponics and blogging, I need HELP, fast, I thought my tank was cycled, I was lucky enough to get a small fish pond, gold fish and all the good bacteria, I bought a larger tank, 180 gal and put the fish, water and filter into it, all looked good, nitrates where there, low ammonia, and nitrites..... I removed the goldfish and added 40 catfish fingerlings 4 -6 inches... thats when it all turned bad...my pump from the tank to the grow bed failed and I was not aware of this for at least 14 hours...I thought that with tthe timer going on 15 min and off 45 I was just missing it...My grow bed is expanded shale... I was already filtering through the bed when I added the fish... but bed was not planted... I got my worms and fish on the same day... nice warm 70 degrees..what a happy day :) but now it look like I might lose it all... :(..my ammonia shot up to 2 ppm, nitrite 2 ppm and nitrate over 160 ppm ...I got the pump fixed...ran the water through the newly planted growbed continuesly for 14 hours to try and clean up the water...did not help... my fish where gulping at the top of the tank, jumping out, and not eating....then to make it all worse .. the temp changed to 45 degrees... I was and am not prepared for such a quick change...had hoped to make it through summer and build a greenhouse by fall... luckly we had a huge rain storm and I was able to collect enough water to change about half my tank...did not use tap water... now more than 36 hours later and my water has dropped to 55, ammonia has lowered to 0.5 ppm but nitrite is still 2 ppm and nitrate has dropped to 80 ppm...fish still show no signs of wanting to eat, are no longer jumping out or gasping for air but seem to just be staying as close to the pump as possible and not moving around much... what do I need to do... I don't want to lose it all and sure don't want my fish to die... also to add more stress to it all my husband was not into this and now I am hearing "I told you so" I have to make this work so I can get in the last I TOLD YOU SO.. lol ...really HELP
Just hang on tight, make sure you have lots of circulation/filtration and aeration.
If you let more light in the tank it may warm the water up more but it can also slow down the conversion of ammonia to nitrite which would mean your ammonia goes up a bit but it would also probably cause the pea soup stage which doesn't really help so I say just keep the tank covered. Since your nitrite is at 1 ppm I'd say just hang tight, this is the hardest part you have to let the spike exist a bit so that the bacteria can build up to deal with it. If you have 1 ppt of salt in the system just hang tight, the nitrite spike could last a week or just a couple days.
When the nitrite falls there is a good chance that pH could fall about the same time too. Be prepared to buffer (a stocking or mesh bag with some chicken grit or crushed oyster shells or limestone chips that you can hang in the tank and take out as needed) so that the pH doesn't fall too far too fast since that could cause a re-newed ammonia spike and even more issues.
Just add more patience I know this is the hardest part.