Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I just noticed that with all the topics we have going, none are about the most mystifying topic of all - cycling your system.  How did you start up your system?  Using fish or "fish-less"?  Pee-ponics? Pure ammonia?  A bacteria product?  If so, which one?  Did you supplement with anything?  Liquid seaweed?

It's been a while since I last cycled a system.  Once you have done it a few times you get to where any new system is started with media and tank water from a fully cycled system so it becomes much easier and less dramatic.  The first system I cycled was a nail-biter.  I just used fish...period...and watched anxiously as the ammonia, then nitrites spiked.  The next two systems were cycled at the same time and I used a ridiculously expensive product that had to be refrigerated in one tank, and a combination of peeponics and Maxicrop in the other tank.  Much, much faster results (unfortunately I didn't keep great records so I can't remember more detail than that) with less angst.  I seem to remember that the two tanks cycled at about the same rate, so I'm never buying an expensive product again!  The Maxicrop enabled me to get plants in there immediately, and I followed up with fish in about a week once I could see through the water again.  What I would probably recommend at this point is cycling with a little pure ammonia and Maxicrop, and add fish once you see the nitrites going down and a glimmer of nitrates...if you have that much control over when your fish arrive.  

Anyone else?

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Ok, I used 2 quarts based on a recommendation of 1 quart per 300 gallons of water. I hope I didn't overwhelm my system. 

TCLynx said:

Sounds fairly typical.

You may start seeing some nitrates even while the nitrites are going to be high here shortly.  Still to get to the point of completely cycled up (where you can add between 1-2 ppm of ammonia and have both ammonia and nitrite be back down to 0 ppm within 24 hours) can still take between 4-8 weeks, average of 6 weeks.

How much maxicrop to use.......  Perhaps a cap full or an ounce per grow bed every 1-3 weeks.  I tend to use more during initial cycle up and while the system is still really new and then I might reduce down to just a splash per grow bed every few weeks and then eventually I might not use it much at all once the system is mature.

For the initial start up, You are probably fine with that.  However, I would not continue using that much since it would probably elevate the salinity of your system.

When the bottle says use an ounce or two per gallon, that is like if you are going to spray a gallon over water over 100 square feet of your garden.  So in the future extrapolate that to using an ounce or two per 100 square feet of planting space in your system.

The overall growth of creatures depends on the availability of nutrients in the environment because Nitrogen is an vital component of proteins and other cellular constituents. Nitrogen is plentiful in the earth's atmosphere in the form of N2 gas.
          Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. The key component of aquaponics is nitrifying bacteria These little organisms are essential to successful aquaponic gardening because they create the nitrogen cycle that turns fish waste into plant food.

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