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OK, I just finished building the Micro 128 in my backyard in Kahului.  It has a 32 ft trough and a 300 gallon Rubbermaid tub.  About 1250 gallons of tap water was put in, and the MD2 has been turned on to cycle the water.  At this time, I have 1 AP300 air pump with 2 air stones in the fish tank (eventually will have 2), and 2 AP300's driving 4 air stones in the trough (every 8 feet).  It took 3 days for the chlorine to gas out.

 

With the chlorine at zero, I added Proline Ammonium Chloride to bring the ammonia up to 2ppm.  Then I added a gallon of Proline nitrifying bacteria to inoculate.  All this per the manual.

 

It's been 6 days since I inoculated the system.  Ammonia is still  at 2ppm, nitrite and nitrates are still at zero.  DO is 8.5.  PH is 7.8.  I have my hole-less rafts covering my trough, and my fish tank is covered to protect the nitrifying bacteria.  The manual says that nitrites should show up in 3 days, and nitrates in 5!

 

To add some live bacteria, I added gravel from my 100 gallon cycled tank couple of days ago, per an earlier conversation with Rebecca.  Still no change.  I called Aquatic Eco systems tech support, and Kevin said it should take 4-6 weeks!

 

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Day 7 since I inoculated the system.  Still no change.  NH3=2ppm, NO2 & NO3=0ppm.  DO=8.63ppm.  PH=7.8.  Temp this morning at 69.9 deg.  Trough and fish tank are covered to keep out sunlight that is detrimental to the bacteria (per the manual).

 

Per discussion with Rebecca, added 8 gallons of live bacteria water from my 100 gallon tub (holding 38 golden tilapia frys), a bucket of gravel from the same, and the filter pads from my aquarium (holding 15 mosquito fish).

 

Waiting for the nitosomonas and nitrobacter to start doing their job.  Good thing they're not getting paid by the hour.

Hi Larry,

  We had a really tough time getting our system started. I feel your pain! For whatever its worth, here's my thoughts:

 

  Its been a week since you inoculated. You said it took 3 days to gas out the chlorine-- it took us 3 days as well, and that was the source of our problems. We left our troughs uncovered, and after 3 days when the chlorine was zero, we inoculated too. The problem was, we had started to grow algae and didn't know it. Three days of sunlight was waaaaay longer than we should have left the troughs uncovered. So what is the color of your water? Does it have any green tinge to it? I am going to email you our excel document called "Start Up Stats (statistics)" so you can see how it went for us. And how is been ever since! We had to dump all the water in our troughs, scrub the liner, and start again. The second time we filled in the morning, turned on the air pumps, and left the covers off for ONE afternoon. We go the chlorine to near zero, and we able to start up normally. We got nitrites between 1-2ppm after he first day. Ammonia was at almost 1ppm. I hope this helps. Or, maybe you got a bad batch of bacteria, but I doubt that every last one was dead. Also, make sure the ammonia doesn't get above 3!


Larry Yonashiro said:

Day 7 since I inoculated the system.  Still no change.  NH3=2ppm, NO2 & NO3=0ppm.  DO=8.63ppm.  PH=7.8.  Temp this morning at 69.9 deg.  Trough and fish tank are covered to keep out sunlight that is detrimental to the bacteria (per the manual).

 

Per discussion with Rebecca, added 8 gallons of live bacteria water from my 100 gallon tub (holding 38 golden tilapia frys), a bucket of gravel from the same, and the filter pads from my aquarium (holding 15 mosquito fish).

 

Waiting for the nitosomonas and nitrobacter to start doing their job.  Good thing they're not getting paid by the hour.

Hi Marina,  thanks for joining!  And thanks for the spreadsheet - it was very interesting following your readings day by day.  Start Up One was scary as the ammonia kept climbing.  Start Up Two looks great, and looks like you did all the right things to control the nitrite spike.  Thanks for documenting your journey so well.

 

I'm assuming that you started with some fish in the system since the ammonia went up initially.  Is this correct?  I'm trying to do the "fishless cycling, " and added ammonia with Proline ammonium chloride.  I added just enough to bring the ammonia up to a little less than 3ppm.  Then I added the Proline nitrifying bacteria.

 

How many gallons of Proline bacteria did you put in for Start Up Two?  Was it the cheaper $40 gallon that Tim recommends (and that I used), or was it the $312 gallon one that Aquatic Eco Systems tech support (Kevin) recommended?  Kevin said that the $40 gallon one was in "suspended animation," and that I should expect it to take 4-6 weeks.  If I wanted faster results, he said, I should get the "live" bacteria for $312 per gallon.  (grrr)  I guess it IS possible that I got a bad batch of bacteria.  Expiration date on the bottle was 12/2011.

 

Does not look like I have any algae in my system.  No green tint.  The fish tank and the trough are covered.  As I read about you guys having to drain the entire system and scrub out the troughs, I was reminded that we had to do the same before this attempt.  When we had the big rains a few weeks ago, I had left a 2x4 laying across the trough that I had earlier used as a concrete form.  It seems that the rains washed some concrete into the trough and when we tried to fill it, the water was soapy and bubbly.  We drained it and washed it, but may have left some of the soapy water in the return pipe to the tank and feed pipe to the trough.  Hmm, maybe I need to drain and clean it again.

 

Thanks so much for your diligent documentation, and sharing your experience.  Many heads are better than one, and just discussing this has given me some direction.  I will wait a few more days to see if the ammonia starts going down, and if not, I will bite the bullet and drain and clean the system, including the return and feed pipes, order another bottle of Proline bacteria (hopefully the $40 one), and try again.


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