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My system is  about a month old.  I've got a 150 gallon tank with no fish yet.  I've got a grow bed I filled with pea gravel and plenty of healthy vegetables.  My grow bed apparently with lime stone in it as well because my ph levels sky rocketed.  I've been adding a cap full of seasol a day right off the bat.  I stopped that four days ago because my water was turning brown.  about a week ago I started adding 150ml of ph down.  these past 3 days I haven't been testing anything but my ph which finally came down to 7.2, but when I checked my nitrite levels, they were today5ppm.  

I did some research and I have something else to add, I cleaned out the filter on my water pump Friday, 2 days ago, it was over 2/3 blocked.  I don't have any other filters in my system yet.  I flushed it out in the sink, did some research, found out I just got rid of a lot of my bacteria.

My question is how do I fix this?  change 20% of my water every 3 days, or something to this effect? let me know, 

Misc,  My levels are currnetly

PH 7.2
Ammonia 1ppm
Nitrite 5ppm (my api test kit, 5ppm is my max reading)
Nitrate 5ppm

Thanks,

Dave

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thanks for the info Randall, I will let the system cycle, remove my black scrubby thing and see where things go from there.  When I come across a cup of vinegar, I'll let you know the results of that test.

Dave

kieth,

I have no idea why my plants are doing so well with only a couple hours of direct sun an evening.  They all started out as little plants in the quad holders, about 3" x 3" and now most are 4x their original size if not bigger.  The beans are hanging over the edge of my ibc by almost 2', the tomatoes are half way up their cages with half dollar size tomatoes.

I did get some white vinegar and did a fizz test.  I'd have to say it failed. My pea gravel looked like the expanded shale in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_7C-1hJLDo 

I'm going to try and pick up another ibc and make 2 more grow beds this week.  I just bought 5 packets of seeds I want to start playing with but my plants in my original bed are hogging all the sun.

Seasol and phdown have been the only thing I have put into my system.  now that my water cleared up I'm going to start adding seasol again.   I know one person's idea of healthy could mean something completely different from another person's idea.  I will try and have a link to that video up tomorrow.

Dave


Keith Langdon said:

Hi Dave,
Randall is right water changes will exacerbate your problem. 0.5ppm isn't enough to get freaked out about especially If you have no fish. Cleaning your filter could have been the issue, but I have completely cleaned filters on my aquariums many, many times with no problem.
Just give it time, it's not a race.

Randall the avg pH of the water in the area is well above 7.0 closing in on 8 due to high calcium content from bubbling through limestone. Most aquarist are keeping tanks of African chiclids becuase many aren't willing to deal with the issues of lowering pH.
The pea gravel mined in the area has plenty of limestone content.

Just curious how are you keeping the plants so healthy. Anything else besides seasol?
P.s. a gallon of white vinegar is just over 2.50 at Meijers and makes good vinaigrette with little fresh basil, cracked pepper and oil.

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