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Cycling and Testing Water Quality in Your ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kit

An overview of the nitrogen cycle, instructions for testing the water quality in your ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kit, and tips for maintaining healthy water.

For more information, visit www.ecolifeconservation.org

Intro Music: “Little Tomcat” by Josh Woodward

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Comment (2)

  1. I prefer to teach people about fishless cycling, whether it be with decomposing fish food (my preference), or surfactant free 10% ammonia (Ace Hardware Janitor stuff). That way, we can avoid putting the fish through the stress of being in an uncycled system. I guess I would try to dose the ammonia so the aquarium reads 2ppm, definitely no more than 4ppm (what do you think?). We can also just simply buy nitrifying bacteria to inoculate the filter with so as to get the cycle over with right away and add the fish (instead of waiting 4-6 weeks). In the aquarium hobby, I tried to keep nitrates below 20 or 40ppm with water changes (that was before I learned about denitrification filters with anaerobic bacteria, which I never really got to work with yet), but in aquaponics, I've heard of people letting it go as high as 80ppm or more (definitely no more than 160ppm). But yeah, once the aquarium is cycled, whether it be with decomposing fish food or the ammonia I mentioned, and the nitrates are within an acceptable range (doing a water change if needed), I then make sure the pH is right and add the fish. To acclimate the fish so as to avoid stressing them out, I first turn off the light in the aquarium, then float the bag the fish are inside of within the aquarium itself (the bag is still sealed), perhaps for around 25 minutes, so as to stabilize the temperature first. Then I open the bag, carefully dump them into a 5 gallon bucket, and take water from the aquarium (little by little), adding what I estimate to be around 10% of the volume of the water within the bag the fish were in, every 5 or 10 minutes, until I've basically doubled or tripled the volume of the water that was in the bag. Then I add the fish to the aquarium, but I don't dump the water they were in with them because that can often contain medication. I try not to do the acclimation process any faster than one hour, but I think I've taken a couple hours at times. There's a drip method too, where an air tube/hose is used to drip water from the aquarium into the bucket (tying a knot in the tube to create the drip). Oh yeah, and never use chlorinated water. It can kill the fish, and it will kill the bacteria. Use to be that we could just use an air pump/diffuser in a bucket to gas off the chlorine in the water after around a day or so, but now a days, many water plants are using chloramine, which can't be gassed off. You have to use a dechlorinator for that stuff, and it will have some ammonia in it (the chloramine).

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