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PostPosted: Jul 12th, '18, 11:15 
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Hello!

I'm a total `ponics noob and appreciate you looking at my question. I started a fishless cycling of my system on 5/22 using pure ammonia. Things progressed much as I had read they should. I registered both nitrites and nitrates by 6/14. However, I've been consistently stuck in a state for about three weeks now where ammonia is readily processed down to 0, but nitrites are always >= 5ppm and nitrates are upwards of 40 ppm.

I'm now 7 weeks in. I've read that the process usually takes around 6 weeks so obviously I'm not too far off the mark here. I've dialed my ammonia dosing back a bit in hopes that would encourage the nitrospira. But, I am wondering...at what point should I become concerned and possibly intervene somehow?

Thanks,
Kyle


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PostPosted: Jul 12th, '18, 16:53 
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First off having nitrates at that level is fine and nothing to be concerned about. You should have plants in the system and they will use this up once they get going.

The nitrite reading will eventually go down just give it another couple of weeks. It is a bit unusual for it to take this long though. Could be a problem with that nitrite test kit - try it on your tap water and see what you get.


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PostPosted: Jul 12th, '18, 18:30 
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+1 to adding plants into the system.... however they wont do much on pure ammonia.

I would stop using ammonia and switch to a low nitrogen (N) & low phosphorous (P) liquid fertiliser.
(something like a seaweed based fertiliser)

Any plants in the system will get a great boost and establish *and* grow...
The bacteria will deal with the ammonia conversion still from the liquid fertilizer. (usually because it is urea etc).

This will also get you well on truly on track for growing your vegies from the very beginning of your AP journey.

You need to do this until you see a clear conversion of ammonia and nitrites and no significant build up of nitrates (because the plants are using them).


would be worth you posting some pictures as well...
instructions here -> viewforum.php?f=4

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PostPosted: Jul 13th, '18, 11:02 
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Thank you both for the tips!

Here are some pics of the system: https://photos.app.goo.gl/cgcaoCAca4S4jvHJ7

As you can see it's an indoor system, although the window behind the system is open as I hoped that would encourage the bacteria's occupation of the system. Sump tank is on the left, fish tank on the right. Single pump pumping to one active grow bed and to the fish tank which has a gravity feed back to the sump tank.

The old plants are a little less than three weeks old. I wouldn't say they're going gangbusters. The predominant green plant is spinach. The weird red one is red orach miner's spinach.

You may note in the photos the indication of a water level line that's too high. I recently lowered my stand pipe so that it's about an inch lower than where the high-watermark line is. But I may need to lower it further, or add more media. But that all seems unlikely to be related to my nitrite problems :)


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PostPosted: Jul 14th, '18, 13:21 
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>> Here are some pics of the system: https://photos.app.goo.gl/cgcaoCAca4S4jvHJ7

better to post them here using the forum inline post.
Many members wont bother following external links.

In the early stages of a system it is better to get some more established plants in so the Nitrates are being used.
Maybe get some punnets of leafy greens - they are usually inexpensive and save you 6-10 weeks of plant growth. Do the seeds once you have the growbeds well populated and rotating.


>> unlikely to be related to my nitrite problems

that will just be a cycling issue. Nitrites generally disappear as long as you have enough wet media for your fish load. Ammonia and Nitrate spikes/rises are more common in a fully cycled system that is not adequately filtered/planted.

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PostPosted: Jul 16th, '18, 03:10 
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It happened! I'm cycled! Thanks for your responses. @dif_perth - I'm interested in adding some of the fertilizer you suggested. I've got some derived from fish & seaweed that is 3-3-2 (Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potash). Is this in line with what you were thinking?

I also got some larger plants in there, transferred and rinsed from my outdoor garden.

EDIT: Nevermind, I see some other posts indicating it needs to be just seaweed. I'll see if I can procure some of that.


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