Aquaponic Gardening

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Right after getting my poor little 10 gallon community into the partially filled 55 gallon I was happy to see that everyone was doing well and nothing had died - despite a night without filtration or an air pump.

Last night I also added sand & some malaysian trumpet snails + 2 other filters (see new video I just added) using just lava rocks & plants in hopes to create as much space for bacteria to grow as possible.  I have to say as a side note, the filters are incredibly efficient at clearing any kind of cloudy from the water, even after adding the sand last night, the water was crystal clear this morning.

Here comes the question about pH.  The 10 gallon was around the 3 month mark before it leaked.  The last time I tested the water the pH was holding a steady 6.8, the water was between soft and hard on the strip, I had excellent buffering capacity (total alkalinity?) and no sign of nitrites or nitrates.

After a day or two of seeing the fish looked OK - I got another test kit and the results were a pH of 5.5, soft water, good buffering capacity (though not excellent, I forget the number) still no sign of nitrites or nitrates.

I am concerned about the low pH because I do not want my bacteria to die off if it drops any lower.  The fish seem OK, so I'm not worried about pH shock with them, I haven't even had deaths since the 10 gallon leaked, so I'm assuming they've adapted just fine.  Since my buffering capacity still reads OK, I'm not worried about a wild pH swing either.  I should also note that the plants seem healthy and some have already shown signs of new growth, plus the roots are all growing and healthy - so that combined with no nitrite/nitrate is telling me the bacteria are breaking down waste.

I'm wondering if any of you have had similar things happen with pH, or if you think this is just because the tank is technically new and things will slowly slide back up the scale? The gravel, rocks, and main filter are all from the original tank, but only about a gallon of the water (there is currently about 20 gallons in the tank, 19 of which is from the tap, though it is dechlorinated) is original. The other thing I was thinking was if the dechlorinator could have something to do with this pH drop? I always let my water sit for 48 hours before adding it to de-gas, but as starting this one was an emergency, I had to buy dechlorinator so I could fill it right away.

I've been contemplating getting a hold of some crushed coral and sprinkling it on the sand so the water washes over it and slowly dissolves to help with the pH - but wanted to wait a bit and see if the tank adjusts on its own...I'm so "need it right now" sometimes, LOL, but don't want to shock the fish either and want to stay away from pH up & down products. OK, that's the end of my pH rant :) Any suggestions or shared stories are welcome.

 

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As an added note, I just reread this form something Sylvia posted,

" Nitrobacter will grow more slowly at the high pH levels typical of marine aquaria and preferred by African Rift Lake Cichlids. Initial high nitrite concentrations may exist. At pH levels below 7.0, Nitrosomonas will grow more slowly and increases in ammonia may become evident. Nitrosomonas growth is inhibited at a pH of 6.5. All nitrification is inhibited if the pH drops to 6.0 or less. Care must be taken to monitor ammonia if the pH begins to drop close to 6.5. At this pH almost all of the ammonia present in the water will be in the mildly toxic, ionized NH3+ state."

I'm wondering if I need a better test - I've heard strips are not the most accurate - because if I'm reading no nitrites/nitrates the bacteria should be in full bloom.  Very confused here, LOL>

Hey Ricky.  I've been following your blog and your trials and travails the past week.  too much excitement!

 

Before I comment or make any suggestions I would want you to be pretty sure about that pH number.  I'm not a fan of test strips - as you said, they just aren't very accurate.  If you add something like crushed coral to your media - which is permanent - and then find that your pH was ok all along you might be setting up the next problem.  Do you have a master test kit with dropper reagents?  Or can you pick one up from the aquarium store?

Sylvia, I love that you've been following, and you're right, WAY too much excitement!! As much as I wanted to start the big tank, this was not the way I wanted to do it - very stressful after all my careful months of building the 10 gallon.  I just want this one to be stable so I when I leave to go home to Philly for 4 days everything is fine for my roomie to just feed my tank.

After I posted my comment, I decided it was silly NOT to get a better kit, I was holding off because of the cost, but I went and got a better kit.  My pH - which I JUST measured - is between 7 and 7.2, thank goodness, because I DID NOT want to mess with it.  I did buy some argonite in case, but now I can return it. I was dreading reading about how much I would have to add compared to my current pH and amount of water, and then testing frequently to watch the rise and hoping it wouldn't go too high, but freak out averted!

 

I still have to measure nitrites/nitrates, but my ammonia levels are at .25ppm - which I am currently not worrying about at all since I'm basically re - cycling, though hopefully with a boost from the gravel and used filter.  I expect that to fall back to 0 fairly soon.

 

I'll keep you posted 7 of course will be be blogging about the tank.  Thanks for the input though! Always nice to hear from you!

 

Ricky

Sylvia Bernstein said:

Hey Ricky.  I've been following your blog and your trials and travails the past week.  too much excitement!

 

Before I comment or make any suggestions I would want you to be pretty sure about that pH number.  I'm not a fan of test strips - as you said, they just aren't very accurate.  If you add something like crushed coral to your media - which is permanent - and then find that your pH was ok all along you might be setting up the next problem.  Do you have a master test kit with dropper reagents?  Or can you pick one up from the aquarium store?

Rest of test results are in:

Nitrites - 0 ppm

Nitrates - somewhere between 10 and 20 ppm

I expect nitrates to go back down in the coming days...and I can now breathe a sigh of relief :)

Ricky Flickenger said:

Sylvia, I love that you've been following, and you're right, WAY too much excitement!! As much as I wanted to start the big tank, this was not the way I wanted to do it - very stressful after all my careful months of building the 10 gallon.  I just want this one to be stable so I when I leave to go home to Philly for 4 days everything is fine for my roomie to just feed my tank.

After I posted my comment, I decided it was silly NOT to get a better kit, I was holding off because of the cost, but I went and got a better kit.  My pH - which I JUST measured - is between 7 and 7.2, thank goodness, because I DID NOT want to mess with it.  I did buy some argonite in case, but now I can return it. I was dreading reading about how much I would have to add compared to my current pH and amount of water, and then testing frequently to watch the rise and hoping it wouldn't go too high, but freak out averted!

 

I still have to measure nitrites/nitrates, but my ammonia levels are at .25ppm - which I am currently not worrying about at all since I'm basically re - cycling, though hopefully with a boost from the gravel and used filter.  I expect that to fall back to 0 fairly soon.

 

I'll keep you posted 7 of course will be be blogging about the tank.  Thanks for the input though! Always nice to hear from you!

 

Ricky

Sylvia Bernstein said:

Hey Ricky.  I've been following your blog and your trials and travails the past week.  too much excitement!

 

Before I comment or make any suggestions I would want you to be pretty sure about that pH number.  I'm not a fan of test strips - as you said, they just aren't very accurate.  If you add something like crushed coral to your media - which is permanent - and then find that your pH was ok all along you might be setting up the next problem.  Do you have a master test kit with dropper reagents?  Or can you pick one up from the aquarium store?

Your using the filtering gear from the 10 gallon tank, so your system should basically be 'cycled' already. I don't recall you adding any fish, so the larger tank & more water shouldn't be much of a problem.

 

Did you ever get the chlorine drops? I don't like using them myself, but I do have a bottle around just for such emergencies.

 

I've dumped my 75 gallon tank over night twice now, so I feel your pain.

 

I discovered your blog about a month ago and have been following it too.

 

Keep up the good work, and your lucks bound to turn around sooner or later!


Ricky Flickenger said:

Rest of test results are in:

Nitrites - 0 ppm

Nitrates - somewhere between 10 and 20 ppm

I expect nitrates to go back down in the coming days...and I can now breathe a sigh of relief

Hi Mike, glad you've been following as well, thanks!
I thought tank would be cycled...most of the way...if you'll go with it, LOL.  Was fearing I killed off some of the colony though because when the dump happened, I DIDN'T have the dechlorinator.  I had to add some water for volume while waiting 2 hours for the pet store to open so I could buy the drops, at least now I have them in case, I don't like using them either.
Not worried anymore either since buying a better test kit - put my mind at ease for upcoming trip and between observation & the tests, I can my tank is right where it needs (and I thought) it should be.  My original freak out & confusion was because the fish/plant behavior wasn't matching the test results, so I thought maybe I was missing some important facts.
Thanks for the response :-)

Mike Creuzer said:

Your using the filtering gear from the 10 gallon tank, so your system should basically be 'cycled' already. I don't recall you adding any fish, so the larger tank & more water shouldn't be much of a problem.

 

Did you ever get the chlorine drops? I don't like using them myself, but I do have a bottle around just for such emergencies.

 

I've dumped my 75 gallon tank over night twice now, so I feel your pain.

 

I discovered your blog about a month ago and have been following it too.

 

Keep up the good work, and your lucks bound to turn around sooner or later!


Ricky Flickenger said:

Rest of test results are in:

Nitrites - 0 ppm

Nitrates - somewhere between 10 and 20 ppm

I expect nitrates to go back down in the coming days...and I can now breathe a sigh of relief

Ricky, sounds like all is now calm and right in your AP world.  You can go grab a glass of vino and relax. 
Thank goodness! LOL...not to hijack my own forum discussion, but how are your cycling tests going?

Sylvia Bernstein said:
Ricky, sounds like all is now calm and right in your AP world.  You can go grab a glass of vino and relax. 

It's your topic, you can hijack if you want to (remind you of a song?) 

 

The tests went very well and I'll be launching a Cycling kit product based on a combination of Maxicrop and powdered ammonia to cycle tanks up to 100 gallons, 100 - 300 and 300 - 500.  Looking for a name... I'm thinking of Stressless Cycling.  What do you think?

I like it.

 

Remember there is a MUCH larger aquarium market out there that this could apply to. Even though the maxicrop would give them fits.
Sylvia Bernstein said:

It's your topic, you can hijack if you want to (remind you of a song?) 

 

The tests went very well and I'll be launching a Cycling kit product based on a combination of Maxicrop and powdered ammonia to cycle tanks up to 100 gallons, 100 - 300 and 300 - 500.  Looking for a name... I'm thinking of Stressless Cycling.  What do you think?

I like the name as well - when are you planning on launching?

Sylvia Bernstein said:

It's your topic, you can hijack if you want to (remind you of a song?) 

 

The tests went very well and I'll be launching a Cycling kit product based on a combination of Maxicrop and powdered ammonia to cycle tanks up to 100 gallons, 100 - 300 and 300 - 500.  Looking for a name... I'm thinking of Stressless Cycling.  What do you think?

Hey Mike, I meant to ask you, what happened that your tank dumped twice? Hopefully no damage anywhere - my place makes me nervous because it's an apt and there is carpet everywhere, also on the third floor.

Mike Creuzer said:

Your using the filtering gear from the 10 gallon tank, so your system should basically be 'cycled' already. I don't recall you adding any fish, so the larger tank & more water shouldn't be much of a problem.

 

Did you ever get the chlorine drops? I don't like using them myself, but I do have a bottle around just for such emergencies.

 

I've dumped my 75 gallon tank over night twice now, so I feel your pain.

 

I discovered your blog about a month ago and have been following it too.

 

Keep up the good work, and your lucks bound to turn around sooner or later!


Ricky Flickenger said:

Rest of test results are in:

Nitrites - 0 ppm

Nitrates - somewhere between 10 and 20 ppm

I expect nitrates to go back down in the coming days...and I can now breathe a sigh of relief

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