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I started fishless cycling yesterday.  350 gallons.  The PH was around 8.5 so I added about an ounce of Muriatic acid.  A couple of hours later I checked and it had dropped to 8.2 or so.  Added another ounce.  This went on  every couple of hours until I went to bed and the last reading was 7.62.  This morning it hadn't changed much so I added another ounce.  later this afternoon I checked and it was 3.83 !  I just now checked and it had gone up to 4.33.

It took roughly 6 ounces of ammonia in order to get the level up to 3ppm. 

I also added a quart of Maxigrow when I started yesterday.

Should I freak out about the low PH or should I just wait and see what happens in the next day or so?

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The arugula started sprouting in 18 hours.  It took almost 24 for the lettuce.  Not even four days now and they're an inch tall.

I have no nitrites.  The ammonia hasn't changed.  It's around 4ppm

The water temp has been in the low-mid 70's.  I have an old 200w aquarium heater.  Will that do much to 300 gallons?

Hey Bobby. Newbie here myself.

Just at the fish stage having started my build in Jan. I noticed that you chose an 1800 gph pump for a 300 gal system. Sounds like way over kill to me and unless you are on an unlimited budget I think you may be shocked by your next electric bill. 24/7 after all. I am running a 1200 gal system on a LGiant 950 and have to bypass about 1/3 as I only have 5 ibc grow beds finished. All 10 gbs and I will turn off the bypass. Flow is very strong and I have yet to time it but the gbs are cycling at 4 to 5 times an hr I feel sure. I will test today. Anyhow, point made. Watch that electric bill. Just say'in. I'm dealing with some sort of white fungus on the dorsal fin of my new BGs. today. Always something new until we all become experts:-)

See what happens, judging by your initial Ph your municipal water is probably very hard. What most likely happened was the pool acid (very strong stuff) broke the Ph buffer, which was the high mineral content of your water. The continuous ammonia adding and biological cycles will drive Ph up in the first weeks of cycling, then down as your system matures with fish. My water is about the same, started out at around 8.4 then adjusted w/ acetic and citric acids. These acids were too weak to break the buffer so my Ph always climbs back to around 8.0.

Adam, acetic (vinegar) and citric acids are both antibacterial, and neither should be used in Aquaponics. Muriatic (HCl) is cheap, readily available, and safe for AP.

Jim Fisk, salt your bluegill quick. I recomend 5 ppt for 2-3 weeks, which will slow or stop your plant growth. 3 ppt is safer for plants, but not as effective for fin parasites. After 3 weeks, do water changes to get salt down between .5-1 ppt. After a week of fresh water, if symptoms persist, salt again. The salt itself isn't what kills the parasites, but rather it's the sudden change in salinity. Bluegill are very subject to stress, and if left untreated the parasite population will boom, causing death to all other fish in the system, even those less susceptible. Use course rock salt for water softening, $5 per 50 lbs at HD and the like. Recently I have been using potassium chloride (KCL, also used for water softening for about $15 per 50lb) for half of the total required salt, with good results, and less impact on the plants. This is not commonly advised, so experiment at your own risk, but so far good for me. Salt won't harm your biofilter or change your pH, though I believe it will slightly reduce the total DO (should double check that).

Are their any studies to indicate that organic acids such as vinegar and citric acids are more antibacterial than other inorganic acids at the same pH and concentration levels?

Probably not searching for the right thing but all I come up with is feed additive regiment studies for pig feed which include using both at different times and don't really apply to AP or other "around the house" antibacterial treatments. Just curious.


Jon Parr said:

Adam, acetic (vinegar) and citric acids are both antibacterial, and neither should be used in Aquaponics. Muriatic (HCl) is cheap, readily available, and safe for AP.

Parsley is up after six days and the cilantro after 8.  The basil cutting I put in the bed is doing just fine and showing new growth.  I even put in a stump from a head of romaine lettuce.  It now has small leaves coming out of it...

I would recommend for a mineral acid to adjust your pond pH sulfuric acid(H2SO4) rather than Muriaticacid(37%HCl).  The reason is that if your water is already fairly salty(NaCl), you will just be increasing the Chloride ions, which is the part of saltiness that some plants dislike.  Sulfuric acid is about the same cost as Muriatic acid per amount of acidity, and is readily available in the big box stores in the plumbing department, as a drain cleaner.  A half gallon is about 9 bucks, versus about 15 bucks for a two gallon twin pack of Muriatic acid.  I like Muriatic acid for washing the lime out of media, as it more readily dissolves calcium carbonate, and rinses more completely.  The sulfate ions left from sulfuric acid are more beneficial to your plant life, and the fish don't care either way.  I've never seen any negative effects on the fish life from any additives in the plumbing sulfuric acid(if there are any) at the rates I used.  

An important thing to keep in mind, and this is CRITICALLY important; as nasty as muriatic acid is, sulfuric is even more so.  The main issue is that it has a very high heat of dilution, meaning that it heats up very much when you add water to it.  If you put a half a container of concentrated sulfuric acid out and add water to it, it will boil so furiously that it might splash acid on you.  ALWAYS add the concentrated acid to the water, not the other way around, and always add a small amount of acid to a large amount of water.  

Sulfuric acid has much more acidifying potential than muriatic acid.  Firstly, it is 100 percent in concentrated form, a very thick, dense, liquid whereas muratic acid is a 37 percent solution in water in it's most concentrated form.  Secondly, one molecule of H2SO4 supplies 2 hydronium ions(H3O+) versus only one for HCl.  Another advantage os sulfuric acid is that it doesn't fume, or put out an acrid vapor if, heaven forbid, it should spill.

Organic acids like vinegar just don't have any permanent effect on pH.  The bacteria in your system just see them as another carbon source and eat them.

Hey Jon thanks again. I have salted to about 4ppt with solar salt and raised temp to 71F so far. They are isolated so I do a 5gal drain dump and add hot well water back in and 2 more # of solsr salt for about 15 gal exchange. They are eating like piranha today. Nice display. Lost another catfish today for a total of 2. I salted them on isolation for 2 days but have them back as over all they look good. I think I will be using healthy wild fish in the future. This is a real pain. How does one get rid of the diseases if one were to start fish over with wild caught eventually? (not bailing on these yet) The dead cf had one very red eye and spots like a rainbow trout. The rest look good so far and seem hungry. Sorry if we stole this thread guys.

Jon Parr said:

Adam, acetic (vinegar) and citric acids are both antibacterial, and neither should be used in Aquaponics. Muriatic (HCl) is cheap, readily available, and safe for AP.

Jim Fisk, salt your bluegill quick. I recomend 5 ppt for 2-3 weeks, which will slow or stop your plant growth. 3 ppt is safer for plants, but not as effective for fin parasites. After 3 weeks, do water changes to get salt down between .5-1 ppt. After a week of fresh water, if symptoms persist, salt again. The salt itself isn't what kills the parasites, but rather it's the sudden change in salinity. Bluegill are very subject to stress, and if left untreated the parasite population will boom, causing death to all other fish in the system, even those less susceptible. Use course rock salt for water softening, $5 per 50 lbs at HD and the like. Recently I have been using potassium chloride (KCL, also used for water softening for about $15 per 50lb) for half of the total required salt, with good results, and less impact on the plants. This is not commonly advised, so experiment at your own risk, but so far good for me. Salt won't harm your biofilter or change your pH, though I believe it will slightly reduce the total DO (should double check that).

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