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I'm running through Sylvia's "Aquaponic Gardening" book and trying to understand the cycling process... as far as I understand the process...

1) abundant Urea breaks down into Amonia over time on its own through percolation

2) abundant Amonia attracts Nitrosomonas bacteria which results in Nitrites

3) abundant Nitrites attracts Nitrospira bacteria which results in Nitrates

4) steady and manageable levels of continuously converting Amonia and Nitrites will produce an "end result" steady supply of Nitrates which is not harmful to fish, and beneficial to plants.

sooo if you continue to cycle I'm guessing that there is some form of bacteria that will eventually feed on the excessive levels of Nitrates resulting in yet another compound... basically I'm wondering what happens if you "over-cycle" your system instead of adding the plants that will take out the Nitrates?

or does it just simply make your water increasingly fertile?

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Replies to This Discussion

I think Algae steps in next. I haven't heard of a bacteria.

Hi William,

The purpose of cycling, putting it simply, is to establish bacteria needed to grow plants and to clean toxins from the water for the fish. Nothing will go wrong if you over cycle, except that your Nitrates may build up to eventually become a problem, but that's over a long time. After cycling, and when you start feeding the fish, nutrient will now start building and results in explosive plant and fish growth. So the faster you cycle and the faster you start feeding the better your system does

As Rick and Harold have stated the next to come after the Nitrobacter / Nitrospira comes algae.  The very fertile water may cause an algae bloom in your system which in the long run, become a problem.  When the algae die they will start to decompose and may make your system septic i.e. anerobic causing am uprise in pH, decreased oxygen levels and in the end - dead fish.  Like Silvia B. stated, don't look at high nitrates being a problem, look at it as an oppertunity to add more grow beds and plants or time for a fish dinner.  If your nitrates are low the opertunity is that you can add more fish to your system.  Every cloud has a yada, yada, yada.

Well, it COULD decompose into NO2-, NH4+, then N2--but that won't happen. You'll get a algae bloom.

How do i get the algae bloom under control ? 

i haven't started using tank water on plants yet ( fish less cycling )

water went from clear to green in a couple days 

running it through my swirl / bio filter

should i run my ft water through my vertical towers  (gb are not ready yet)

i covered ibc's with a tarp to stop sunlight

water temp is around 65*

thanks Brad

some paint the out side of the ibc's as well.

Brad-

  I had the same difficulty with my NFT setup until I excluded all light from the system.  It took about two weeks to really cut down the algae significantly.  You may want to do a 50% water change to help deplete the algae and keep the water out of the light.
 
Brad Moreau said:

How do i get the algae bloom under control ? 

i haven't started using tank water on plants yet ( fish less cycling )

water went from clear to green in a couple days 

running it through my swirl / bio filter

should i run my ft water through my vertical towers  (gb are not ready yet)

i covered ibc's with a tarp to stop sunlight

water temp is around 65*

thanks Brad

Leo 

should I run ft water through my plant & bio filter or by pass them until green is gone ?

I will have raft system built this weekend was planning on adding another 600 gal to the 550 gal in sump, swirl/bio filter & ft, so no change needed, was going to leave water in raft bed with air stones for a couple days to remove chlorine. wanting to run vert towers while new water is removing chlorine in rb?? what do you think??

also will be painting ibc's to help with light

IMHO- I would by-pass running the water through the grow bed and bio filter because upon dieing the decomposition of the algae will deplete the oxygen levels in the water and may cause anaerobic areas in the grow beds.  You will discover this when the grow beds and bio filter start to small bad.  If you have a really bad growth of algae, cut off all light, darkness will kill off the algae and their spores.  A little bit of algae is not really much of a concern but the high nutrients may invite a green slime that will choke off everything.

  To really clean out the algae, I would do a water change and treat the original FT water with chlorox bleach at a 20% concentration.  With running an air bubbling system through this treated water, the chlorine will be dissipated within a few days.  Be sure that if you do this, check the chlorine concentration before you decide to return this water to your system, any chlorine WILL kill all your plants and fish.

  There is a product that works well with HTPE IBC totes, made by Krylon to paint plastic.  It deos work well but you must wait for it to throuly dry or it has a tendance to scrape off.

  If you are collecting rain water and diverting it into a rain barrel, could you instead, divert it to an IBC for replacement water?  This way you will never have to aerate to rid your water of chlorine.

Leo 

20% chlorine bleach of 550 gal ft thats 110 gals bleach or 1/2 is 55 gals bleach ? maybe drain complete & recycle

Leo White Bear said:

IMHO- I would by-pass running the water through the grow bed and bio filter because upon dieing the decomposition of the algae will deplete the oxygen levels in the water and may cause anaerobic areas in the grow beds.  You will discover this when the grow beds and bio filter start to small bad.  If you have a really bad growth of algae, cut off all light, darkness will kill off the algae and their spores.  A little bit of algae is not really much of a concern but the high nutrients may invite a green slime that will choke off everything.

  To really clean out the algae, I would do a water change and treat the original FT water with chlorox bleach at a 20% concentration.  With running an air bubbling system through this treated water, the chlorine will be dissipated within a few days.  Be sure that if you do this, check the chlorine concentration before you decide to return this water to your system, any chlorine WILL kill all your plants and fish.

  There is a product that works well with HTPE IBC totes, made by Krylon to paint plastic.  It deos work well but you must wait for it to throuly dry or it has a tendance to scrape off.

  If you are collecting rain water and diverting it into a rain barrel, could you instead, divert it to an IBC for replacement water?  This way you will never have to aerate to rid your water of chlorine.

Hi Brad,

Everything that Leo suggested will work off course and t is a good practice for you to learn how to save nutrient water as this will come in useful for later on. However as you're just now at the cycling stage and want to complete this stage in a timely manner, it may be prudent for you to, as you suggest, simply empty, clean and refill the FT, making sure to provide adequate shading this time, and then cycling. Take it as a lesson for the future in learning to avoid direct sunlight where the FT is concerned

P.S.

It will be better for you to post your concerns in a separate post of your own, so that we don't confuse these two topics

Brad Moreau said:

Leo 

should I run ft water through my plant & bio filter or by pass them until green is gone ?

I will have raft system built this weekend was planning on adding another 600 gal to the 550 gal in sump, swirl/bio filter & ft, so no change needed, was going to leave water in raft bed with air stones for a couple days to remove chlorine. wanting to run vert towers while new water is removing chlorine in rb?? what do you think??

also will be painting ibc's to help with light

LOL very nicely put.

Leo White Bear said:

As Rick and Harold have stated the next to come after the Nitrobacter / Nitrospira comes algae.  The very fertile water may cause an algae bloom in your system which in the long run, become a problem.  When the algae die they will start to decompose and may make your system septic i.e. anerobic causing am uprise in pH, decreased oxygen levels and in the end - dead fish.  Like Silvia B. stated, don't look at high nitrates being a problem, look at it as an oppertunity to add more grow beds and plants or time for a fish dinner.  If your nitrates are low the opertunity is that you can add more fish to your system.  Every cloud has a yada, yada, yada.

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