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Aloha,

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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Urine peeing

Vlad Jovanovic said:

Hey Jon, If you're American when you walk into the bathroom, but you're Asian when you walk out...What are you in between..? 

Nitrites up to 1 ppm.  Yeah.  Ammonia is still holding tough at 3 ppm.  I expect to see it start dropping here real soon. H2o temp steady at 70.  Probably because the outside temp is up to 30 and the tank heater can now keep up. The smell is totally gone.  I should rename this post the "Thank Farm", for all the good advice I have received.

Vlad, you made mention of algae in the GB because of the transparency of the plastic.  I am hoping that worms from my vermicomposter will eat that up.  Then add their poop to the whole system.

The black bin below the table is just a utility bin.  No sump in this experiment.  Trying to keep it really simple this first go around.  Though next time I will use a sump for sure, I don't like dropping the h20 level in the FT by 8 gallons each cycle.

Here are a few more pics.

First, with much cleaner water, what a remarkable difference.  Proof just how much piss I added to get the ammonia up.  Yuck.  The front of the table slides up for access to the FT.  This hopefully, along with the side panels, keeps kid things out of the tank.  

My first three plants, transplants from my potted peppermint. 

I'm using a SAD light for the moment, I asked Santa for a set of T5's.  Keeping fingers crossed.

I do love the sound of the siphon kicking in and draining.  Wonderful background noise.

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I was thinking Pacific Ocean but I couldn't make it work. 

Bob Campbell said:

Urine peeing

Vlad Jovanovic said:

Hey Jon, If you're American when you walk into the bathroom, but you're Asian when you walk out...What are you in between..? 

Hi Keith, glad to see your on track with cycling...

About the worms and algae...I'm not sure that that would work real well? It's a good idea though, but red composting worms (E. fetida) pretty much only eat dead stuff. (Actually new studies are showing that they eat the stuff that's decomposing the dead stuff). So, they probably won't be munching on much algae. When algae dies off, it turns into (mostly) NH4 (the same NH4 it was "robbing" from your system/plants to begin with, causing ammonia spikes, and playing mischief with pH.

When problems occur in small systems, parameters usually swing quite rapidly. This doesn't give the operator much time to react since things (all changes, good or bad) seem to happen really fast in a small system. So, IMO algae should be kept out as much as possible. 

At those temps you should be getting to the 'nitrite spike' phase of cycling real soon. 

Pacific Ocean..hehe, Yeah, I guess that joke only really works on East coasters... You're-a-pee-in..man sometimes I kill myself...wakaa wakaa...Fozzy Bear signing off...

Keith Barkwood said:

Nitrites up to 1 ppm.  Yeah.  Ammonia is still holding tough at 3 ppm.  I expect to see it start dropping here real soon. H2o temp steady at 70.  Probably because the outside temp is up to 30 and the tank heater can now keep up. The smell is totally gone.  I should rename this post the "Thank Farm", for all the good advice I have received.

Vlad, you made mention of algae in the GB because of the transparency of the plastic.  I am hoping that worms from my vermicomposter will eat that up.  Then add their poop to the whole system.

The black bin below the table is just a utility bin.  No sump in this experiment.  Trying to keep it really simple this first go around.  Though next time I will use a sump for sure, I don't like dropping the h20 level in the FT by 8 gallons each cycle.

Here are a few more pics.

First, with much cleaner water, what a remarkable difference.  Proof just how much piss I added to get the ammonia up.  Yuck.  The front of the table slides up for access to the FT.  This hopefully, along with the side panels, keeps kid things out of the tank.  

My first three plants, transplants from my potted peppermint. 

I'm using a SAD light for the moment, I asked Santa for a set of T5's.  Keeping fingers crossed.

I do love the sound of the siphon kicking in and draining.  Wonderful background noise.

Hi Keith,

Here's hoping you finish cycling Ra"pee"do!

If you can't Duck it, F**k it.  Advice taken. Black duct tape to the rescue.  I left that strip bare because I like a sight glass to see at a glance, where my cycle is.

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Hmm, I heard that one different. I heard if your a Russian going into the loo, and Finnish when you come out, what are you in between? - European
(actually originally told with cathouse in place of the loo, and the punch line "Himalayan")




Keith Barkwood said:

I was thinking Pacific Ocean but I couldn't make it work. 

Bob Campbell said:

Urine peeing

Vlad Jovanovic said:

Hey Jon, If you're American when you walk into the bathroom, but you're Asian when you walk out...What are you in between..? 

Awesome!

Jon Parr said:

Hmm, I heard that one different. I heard if your a Russian going into the loo, and Finnish when you come out, what are you in between? - European
(actually originally told with cathouse in place of the loo, and the punch line "Himalayan")


Cool beans Keith. That should pretty much take care of that...

"Himalayin..."............................   

Keith Barkwood said:

If you can't Duck it, F**k it.  Advice taken. Black duct tape to the rescue.  I left that strip bare because I like a sight glass to see at a glance, where my cycle is.

Water temp steady at 70.  Nitrites have gone up to 5ppm.  The Ammonia is holding fast at 3ppm.  It has been there since Dec. 9th.  I though I would be seeing Ammonia drop with the increasing Nitrites.  

Don't worry about the NH4 not dropping yet. As far as bacteria go...our bugs are super slow pokes (takes them days to double their population instead of hours...and it takes a lot of these guys to oxidize just 1mg of NH4).

Your nitrites should keep rising, test results will literally be "off the chart". No, really, you'll see deep red colour that isn't even on your nitrite test chart! Your NH4 will start to go down. It might just take a bit longer than you would have thought. 

Not to mention that the urea may still be converting to ammonia, for quite awhile after not adding any more pee.

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