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PostPosted: Oct 22nd, '18, 03:30 
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hello. long-time lurker, first-time poster (made an account just to ask this question!!!).

we have a (very janky) home-made aquaponics system in our backyard. we have added a few feeder fish to kickstart things while our tilapia get a bit bigger in a small indoor aquarium. we have VERY high nitrite levels and very low nitrate levels. How do we kickstart the growth of the good bacteria? We would like to plant soon!

details of system:
80-90 gallons of water divided between two recycled 50 gallon drums, two large beds with lava rock substrate. System is working and circulating just fine.
There are four feeder goldfish in one drum, fed daily, they are surviving.

Measures taken so far:
taken some rocks and water from our indoor aquarium and put in our AP system.
will try feeding the goldfish less.

Concerns: while the measures we've taken so far might work, is there any way to jumpstart the nitrate-making bacteria? and good starters out there?

Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Oct 22nd, '18, 03:43 
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How high is really high? You can salt to one part per thousand with Sodium Chloride (Calcium Chloride can also be used). The chloride ion competes with the nitrite to help protect the fish from harm. Strawberry plants will suffer at this level and might be a reason not to salt. I suspect it won't be long before your nitrites come down but if they are really high then stop feeding until they drop and then resume feeding. Fish can go for a long time without food (usually weeks) unless they are really small so a few days off isn't going to hurt them.


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PostPosted: Oct 24th, '18, 01:29 
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scotty435 wrote:
How high is really high? You can salt to one part per thousand with Sodium Chloride (Calcium Chloride can also be used). The chloride ion competes with the nitrite to help protect the fish from harm. Strawberry plants will suffer at this level and might be a reason not to salt. I suspect it won't be long before your nitrites come down but if they are really high then stop feeding until they drop and then resume feeding. Fish can go for a long time without food (usually weeks) unless they are really small so a few days off isn't going to hurt them.


We have a simple aquarium test. It doesnt give us numbers, but the results are the highest that the test can read. We've considered salting, but don't have any way to closely monitor the salt levels. But honestly, we're at a loss. Hoping to plant celery, chives, and kale so far.


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PostPosted: Oct 24th, '18, 09:10 
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You just need to be able to figure the system volume and then it's 1 gm of salt for every 1000 mls of system volume. You'd just weigh the correct number of gms of salt dissolve it in some of the system water and then add that slowly to the system. If you do water changes then you'd need to figure how much water you replaced and add a bit more salt to compensate. If it's due to evaporation then you wouldn't need to add any.

The veggies you've listed should be fine with the low salt concentration. I have noticed that celery actually takes on a salty taste at higher concentrations.

If your kit is maxed out you can dilute the original sample, say one part sample to 3 parts tap water and run the test. When you've got the result multiply it by four (assuming there are any numbers on the test at all :dontknow: ). If you want a better kit then the API Freshwater Master Test kit is what many people here use - it's not perfect but does well enough and may be better than what you have.


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