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PostPosted: Mar 19th, '15, 12:13 
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So here is my first attempt at a successful set up. I'm not sure if photo posting is the same here as in other forums im with, but here it goes!!!

Specs:
-grow bed: I think it's 26" x18" x10". I don't have the numbers memorized.
-stock tank: a standard sized tote from Walmart.
-stand pipe: 3/4" base, attatched to a 3/4" to 1/2" smooth bore converter.
-down spout: all 3/4" based off of Rob Torselinies set up from Bigelow Brook Farms.
-pump: 200 gph "adjustable flow" (NOT).
-inlet: all 1/2" PVC
-clear hose: I believe it is 5/8, but I could be wrong.
-siphon: 2" with a 3/8" breather tube (again based off of Bigelow Brook Farms set up)
-media guard: smashed no. 10 can (starting to rust)
- media: washed pea gravel

I'm currently doing a fishless cycle of the system to get my nitrates up to par, before I put my plants in. My question that has been bothering me for a while now, is how long on average does it take a new system to cycle through completely? I've heard it can take anywhere from a week, to several weeks. I'm near the end of the first week, with a partial water change (ammonia levels were WAY off the charts), and no change in the ammonia levels (the water change took it down to about 5-6 ppm).

So any words of advice are welcome. And here are the pics if I can get them to work my first try :p


[url]http://s1328.photobucket.com/user/thsdragoon/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20150318_213251352_zpsv5w2jca4.jpg.html?filters[user]=136495288&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=0[/url]

[url]http://s1328.photobucket.com/user/thsdragoon/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20150318_213314168_zps5mhqfeav.jpg.html?filters[user]=136495288&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=2[/url]

[url]http://s1328.photobucket.com/user/thsdragoon/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20150318_213334681_zpsabmqrtq0.jpg.html?filters[user]=136495288&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=3[/url]

[url]http://s1328.photobucket.com/user/thsdragoon/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20150318_213350211_zps5qerafzs.jpg.html?filters[user]=136495288&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=4[/url]

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PostPosted: Mar 19th, '15, 12:30 
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Can't see your pics on iPhone.

Patience is key.

Plant now.

Have fun and clear space for next year. Your system will grow each year.


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PostPosted: Mar 19th, '15, 13:12 
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Photobucket have an IMG code, copy that one instead:

Image

Image

Image

Image

The BYAP also has a upload function, you can put up to 6 photos in one post if that's easier for you.

With the cycling, add your plants at any time. You don't need to wait for the nitrates to show up. If your ammonia is off the charts, stop adding anything with ammonia, and do some water changes to get it down. If it's too high, it can stop the bacteria from growing.

And it's not possible to give a firm date on the cycling period, will take as long as it takes.

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PostPosted: Mar 19th, '15, 22:16 
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OK, thanks for the advice on pics and plants! Im still trying to figure out Tapatalk. When I have a break from school, and work, I'll do another water change, and get my kholrabi and cabbage seedlings in the system.

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PostPosted: Mar 20th, '15, 03:57 
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Is there anything in your media guard that could leech into the system?


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PostPosted: Mar 20th, '15, 09:49 
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Another thing I think you're going to run into is lighting.

Is it out in the sun? Or indoors?

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PostPosted: Mar 20th, '15, 21:11 
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Silverbullet555 wrote:
Is there anything in your media guard that could leech into the system?

Aside from iron oxides from the can rusting, I'm not too sure. It should be fine though, since it was used to hold rice before I converted it

As for lighting, I have a grow light I bought off the internet, so its an indoor system for the time being. Mainly because my neighborhood has lots of kids who don't know what respect of private property, or space is. So to keep it from being killed prematurely, its indoor.

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 Post subject: Re: My First System!!
PostPosted: Mar 22nd, '15, 23:59 
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*UPDATE*
Today when I measured my ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels, I found that my nitrites are finally beginning to become converted over from the ammonia! :thumbright: Soon I will be able to get the fish in the system! I'm planning on having 1-2 goldfish, or maybe a koi, I haven't decided yet.

My other seedlings that I have started to replace the ones my cat killed, are slightly stunted due to the fact that I kept them out in the sun too early. So I now have sunburnt Bok Choy seedlings, and limp Red Romaine seedlings. Which probably isn't a good thing, but I think they will survive. Working with Bonsai trees has shown me that plants are more resilient than many people give them credit for.

Now I just need to convince my wife to let me set up a second growbed in the kitchen..... And to let me get a second grow light. As it is I need to try and figure out a better light setup without putting a hole in the ceiling. I'm thinking of using tape, or that sticky tack stuff that Walmart sells. But we'll see about what I do.

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PostPosted: Mar 23rd, '15, 23:43 
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Quick question, what levels should my nitrate levels be at? I know I've seen some crazy high numbers (at least in my opinion they are high), but I'm not sure what is safe for fish and plants. I know that ammonia needs to be zero for the fish, and I know they don't like nitrite too much, and I know that too much nitrate will kill the plants rather than help them. Any advice here is welcome.

Also, what is considered to be too high of a Ph level?

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Last edited by thsdragoon on Mar 23rd, '15, 23:55, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mar 23rd, '15, 23:48 
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I think an "ideal" level would be 60-80, but I've had zero to over 140 and had good growth with all? Start off with more greens, then add flowering plants in a few months.


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PostPosted: Mar 23rd, '15, 23:57 
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coachchris wrote:
I think an "ideal" level would be 60-80, but I've had zero to over 140 and had good growth with all? Start off with more greens, then add flowering plants in a few months.

OK, thanks for the input. Currently I've got Kholrabi and red cabbage in. I'm planning on having chard and Bok Choy in as well.

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PostPosted: Mar 24th, '15, 10:16 
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Quick note for anyone who is looking for pure ammonia for fishless cycling!! I'm not trying to advert anything here, but tonight while the missus and I were grocery shopping, I found some pure ammonia at a store called Macys Grocery. The brand is Western Family. Just figured this would be helpful to anyone looking for no scent, no color ammonia. again, not advertising, just a heads up.

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PostPosted: Mar 24th, '15, 22:45 
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Hopefully the picture works this time, I took Colums advice and copied the IMG URL off of photobucket, then pasted between the IMG brackets. So we'll see.

Anyway, this morning the colors from the tests showed a definite progress of the micro bacteria! Hopefully in about a week or so I will be able to add in the goldfish. I will also be doing a weekly plant update mainly so I can watch the progress, but also for anyone who may be faintly curious.

Image

Also, sorry for the bad pic, my phone camera sucks.

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PostPosted: Mar 25th, '15, 10:56 
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Here is the system with the seedlings in it, some of them are newly sprouted, and my camera would make them look like the gravel. So I won't post those just yet.

Image
Image

The little bits of cardboard are mainly so I know what plants are what. Because at this stage. The kholrabi and cabbage look identical. Then the other ones are also just so I can find the darn seedlings amongst the gravel.

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PostPosted: Mar 28th, '15, 07:23 
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Just a quick update, ammonia is almost to zero, nitrites are off the charts, and nitrates are almost to where I want them. The plants are doing very well, and I am getting ready to transplant a few more starts into the system. Including romaine lettuce, arugula, and cilantro. Hopefully next week I'll be able to get the fish in place. Also, Friday will be my weekly update day.

Anyway, here are three pics of the system, and test.

Image
Image
Image

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