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Vegetables that don't work well together in the same system? Aquaponics in cold climates?

Does anybody know where can I find information about vegetables that grow well together? Or I can just try to plant anything?

Beisides, has anybody tried to grow rice? I was reading this interesting article about rice-fish farming in Bangladesh..

Moreover, what people do in cold climates to keep their aquaponics alive during winter? I am located in Germany..!



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You can pee in a bottle (unless you have a bad illness or are taking strong meds) and the urea content of the urine will turn into ammonia in a few weeks which also happens to kill things like e. coli which tends to be on the skin of even healthy people.  Then you will have some good humonia to use for cycling if the yuck factor doesn't get you.


Otherwise, look at the hardware store cleaning supplies and see if they have any clear pure ammonia.  You want to make sure it isn't cloudy and it doesn't get bubbles when you shake it up since soaps, sents and detergent will be bad for fish.


I'm not sure what the local brand of seaweed extract would be there.  You are looking for seaweed extract with no added fish emulsion or other added nitrogen.  I believe the NPK numbers for the correct maxicrop to use here are 0.1-0-1.0

Thanx TCLynx, I was thinking of humonia, but I now it's a bit late summer already and I want to start as soon as possible. How many weeks does it take to be converted? and do I have to let the bottles in the sun ?

What are the NPK numbers?

Some people will even use humonia fresh but I don't really recommend that since it is hard to know how much to add since the urea will not have converted to ammonia yet so you won't get an immediate ammonia reading on your test kit.  When I was doing my research on using "liquid gold" as fertilizer they said to bottle the urine and wait till the pH got to 9 before using it since that meant that most of the urea had converted and the ammonia would kill much of the common bacteria.  (I did run some tests on this and indeed the aged humonia did kill of e. coli which is all I could really test for.)  So how long does that aging take, apparently it depends on the person the pee came from.  For mine it took about two weeks.  And for a system between 300-600 gallons, about one pee worth per day for a week was more than enough to cycle up the systems.  But I usually only dosed up to between 1-2 ppm of ammonia and then would wait till the ammonia dropped some before dosing again and then I would wait till the nitrite dropped below one before dosing the next time and then dose up between 1-2 ppm and see how log it takes for both ammonia and nitrite to drop to 0 then dose again until I was able to get the ammonia and nitrite to drop to 0 within 24 hours.  Cycling this way probably took about 4 weeks in a tiny system in cool weather with only some worm castings to provide booster bacteria.
So, if I use urine how much do I need to add every time? Does the ammonia amount drop per day? On the other hand,  if I buy clear ammonia do I need to add 1-2 ppm per day? How do I mesure in ppm? I guess only 1-2 ppm is a tiny amount...?

There are two different schools of though on how much to add.  Some people will add ammonia every day where as I will usually wait till I see the level dropping before I add more.  I'm not sure how much you need to add to get to a particular level since everyone's urine will be different and how much to add will depend on the size of the system.  I would usually add some amount (between 200-500 ml) and then let it mix in the system for an hour then use your ammonia test to see where the ammonia level is (this only really works with aged humonia where the ammonia is already readable) then use the info you learn from this to help you judge the amount needed for the next dose.  I've been able to bring the ammonia level up to 4 ppm before in a 300 gallon system with 500 ml of very aged humonia.


Once the bacteria gets going, the ammonia level can drop every day but in the beginning it may take a week before it drops the first time.  You will want to be running your water tests daily during the cycling process and I recommend running your first tests before you dose for the first time so that you know what your water baseline is.


1-2 ppm is 1-2 parts per million.  I don't know the exact amount you need to dose to get to that level since even clear ammonia is going to be a %.  Lets see, here is a blog post that down near the bottom has a number for how much ammonia Sylvia used to get 4 ppm in 60 gallons of water for her system

There are also links at the bottom of that blog post that will give you a chance to read up on different methods of cycling up a system.

I would say start by adding a small measured amount of ammonia to a measured amount of water (like a gallon or something) and mix it up then run the ammonia test.  If the ammonia test comes up giving you the amount of ammonia you want to dose to, then you do the math to figure out how much ammonia you need to add to your whole system to get to that level.  (this is just an example, for instance you add 1 ml to a gallon of water and it gives you 4 ppm ammonia so if your system is 100 gallons and you want to dose to 2 ppm then you need to add 50 ml to your system.)

Thanx TCLynx, this is very clear and helpfull. She only uses a couple of drops, otherwise the test kit might not work because of high concetration! Good to know.
Well that was a couple drops in a cup of water and then extrapolate out to figure out how much to use in say 60 or 100 gallons and so on.  Yes, if you do an extreme over dose not only will it likely stall the cycling process, but your test kit may not even register.
Ok.One more question. How many days after I start adding ammonia into the system shall I hope that the nitrites appear so to start mesure them?And then how long for nitrates?Once the nitrates appear, do I cut immediatelly the ammonia dose? Sorry, these are three questions:)

The nitrite test is easy to do so you might as well run that test daily so you see when the nitrites start to rise.  Every system is a bit different so it is hard to say how long till the different things appear.

Nitrates will appear long before you get to the point of being able to dose and then have both ammonia and nitrite reach 0 within 24 hours.  You need to stop dosing enough before you add fish so that the ammonia and nitrite are 0 when you add fish.  You should keep dosing at lest a tiny bit until shortly before you get fish since if you don't provide any ammonia for too long then the bacteria may die back from starvation.


Once a system is more mature and has solids slowly breaking down in the grow bed, that will often provide the needed small dose of ammonia to keep the system ticking over at a low ebb between fish loads but whenever you increase your fish load you much monitor ammonia and nitrite levels in case of a spike that would indicate you need to reduce feed till the system catches up.

So, after I put the fish in, the ammonia level should raise a little bit? To be honest with you, I will put less fish and plants that the system can take. I will just put in 8 small tilapia. And that's why I have to move it inside in september but I dont want to wait so long to start experimenting. You can see the plan here. Do you think that will be a problem? Maybe I will not have enough ammonia and then my bacteria will die from starvation? In such case, can I still add small amounts of ammonia with the fish in?

It you are cycling the system up fishless before you put the fish in, you may not get any ammonia rise after you add fish and that would be a good thing.  You generally don't want to see any ammonia readings when you have fish since ammonia is bad for fish.

You don't really need more bacteria than is needed to take care of the ammonia from your fish so I wouldn't recommend adding more when you have fish.

Now if you have a really small fish load and you don't feed them a high quality feed, you may find that you are limited in the amount of nutrients available to grow plants but I wouldn't worry too much about that until it happens.  If you cycle up fishless, there are usually plenty of nutrients to start.

Thank you for your immediate replies, it seems a bit more clear now. I had problems to find ammonia. Tomorrow I 'll go to ask to an aquarium shop to give me the dirt from inside their filter pads. I read here that works as well and maybe faster. Do I only have to do that once in general? Anyway, I have started collecting pee, just in case that nothing works. I can also find some worms to put in my growbeds. Will that speed up the cycling?


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