Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm just getting into Aquaponics and this is my first experiment.  I am running a 20 gallon fish tank (FT) and a 21.5 gallon grow bed (GB).  My auto siphon is set at the 20 gallon level in the grow bed leaving roughly 1 1/2 " of dry gravel on top.  The total GB depth is 15".  I started cycling the system three days ago using the Peemonia method.  Two days ago I added a hefty amount of bio active water from filter squeezings from my local fish store.  Within the last 24 hours my FT has turned a very cloudy yellowish color and my GB is starting to smell like my kids diaper pail.  I haven't begun to heat the tank but I'm considering it because the outside temp is sub zero and the room the tank is in is around 60.

My levels are:

pH = 7.4

Ammonia = 4ppm

Nitrites = 0

Nitrates = 0

Is this stink normal in the cycling process?  Can I expect it to subside as the bacteria colony establishes?  Will the tank clear up during the process?  I'm afraid that the stink may get me and the system kicked out of the house and into the cold.  

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mmmmm love me some arsenic.

Everything is good in the household. The stink has subsided. The pH os still 7.4 the NH3 rose slightly today to about 3ppm (not quite as dark as the 4ppm green). Nothing to note as of yet on the others, as expected. Still have a jar of piss fermenting, yum.

I'm wondering now if I should get some new filter squeezings from the fish store? Do you think the toxic environment has killed off my bacteria?

Vlad, you would laugh if you only knew how much immature piss I added to my 20 gal tank initially. Just like you said I kept doing it until the level reached 4ppm. oh man I sure f'ed up. no wonder it stank.

Thanks again all for helping me straighten this out.

Hi Vlad,

Never knew that about Maxicrop!!!!! I am aware of the procedures involving fish mean production for fish pellet.....its the safest thing out there, except, than maybe 1000year glacial ice, but maxicrop! WOW! Never expected that.....Makes walking a tight line in AP even harder my friend. What i would so like to see in AP, and i hope I'll make my start soon on this, is more of a serious effort in establishing more and more sustainable systems. Since I am aware that there is little to no interest by big business or Governments in this area, I'm hoping that what you and others are doing here will pave the way forward for all. Its a big responsibility for sure, and you're doing a great job, and i just want you all to know I'm with you all the way. Cheers!

Yo Harold, I can get you as much glacial ice as you need.  There are about 75+ glaciers within an hour from my house.  Though the ice is much, much older than 1000 years.   It makes great margaritas.

Hair of the Mammoth Margarita's eh? 

Yeah, Harold the heavy metal content of those products (MaxiCrop USA, Seasol AU, and Kelpak, SA) has to do with where the kelp is harvested. There seems to be a huge difference in the HM content of the 3. With MaxiCrop being the worst (think, harvesting basically off the Jersey shore...not the cleanest waters in the world :)

I'm betting the same is true for HM content of humonia. Where you happen to you happen to live, what type of foods you eat etc...probably affect those type of things. 

Hi All,

Hey Keith, forget about AP............bottled glacial water! Now that's a great idea for business. I'm sure more people drink Margaritas than they eat fish! I apologize Keith if I'm taking us off topic here, so if you'd like, we can stop posting about it here.

@ Vlad; The benefits of these marine algae being one of the earliest life forms to exist is that they are so efficient they distill and assimilate almost everything in their environment HM and all. I was under the impression that the same or better preparation would have been followed in the manufacture of the extract as in the case of Fish meal. The FDA seem to be super careful in the one area and not the other.........makes no sense does it? Humonia may turn out to rate better than extract in this regard, simply for the fact that we filter a lot of these metals in our liver/body before we urine. So regardless where we live Urine should be the safer of the two products. Thanks for all the info.

Harold,  I don't mind where this is going.  After all I apparently have a long time to chill before my cycle completes.

The thing with glacier ice water is that many people are freaked out by the ice worm and associated by-products.  I'm sure I would have to treat and reverse- osmosis the water.  If that is the case I might as well use tap water.  Ours here in Anchorage originates from the Eklutna Glacier before it gets treated.  

I've got NITRITES!!!!!!  0.25 ppm.  It's alive, ALIVE!

Very cool! Boy, that was quick...guess some N. sonomas from that aquarium filter sponge survived the humonia onslaught.

Keep an eye on ammonia tests and nitrite test these days...when they start to deplete the ammonia (like when it goes down to 0.5 or so) you'll need to add some more to jack it back up to between 1ppm to 4ppm (ammonia NH4/NH3). So bust out that 5 gallon bucket and start testing how much you'll need to add.

(Don't bother testing for nitrates (NO3) these next number of this point it's just a waste of testing reagents (liquid drops)...I hope you are using the liquid drop tests and not those stupid paper test strips. Those test strips suck ass and aren't worth the plastic they're packaged in)...

If you are testing often, I'd suggest filling the tube only part way with water and adjusting the drops accordingly. 

I'm testing twice a day, morning and night.  Probably not necessary to do both but I have the need to tinker.  I did however cut out testing the pH and nitrates a few days ago.  I didn't see a need.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.  At least things are happening.

Hi Keith,

Glad to hear the good news! With your warmer temps you'll be there much more quickly than the time it took to the first pass

Keith the only thing I can suggest is to remember that when adding anything to your system always add in small increments too much ammonia could kill some of that bacteria off to an intern the rotting bacteria will cause more ammonia. The squeezings you got from that filter could've included Bacteria. At the same time it would've included much fish waste from that store's system. If the smell continues what I would suggest is to perform a water change in just the tank only. Any bacteria and Fish waste from the squeezings would most likely have already been deposited in your Grow bed but cleaning the water in the tank May help take the edge off. Also don't allow your grow lights To hit the tank too much this will promote algae growth. Hope this helps and good luck.

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