Paul Nickerson

A Good Head Start

In Aquaponics on December 23, 2010 at 8:38 pm

When starting up a new aquaponic system, it is important to realize that plants cannot be introduced in the same moment as the fish, as there will not be enough nutrients, nor bacteria present in the water to sustain them.

It is common practice to allow the system to run for a couple of weeks after introducing the fish, prior to planting. This allows for the nutrient levels to increase in the tank, and facilitates the growth of important bacteria needed to convert ammonia into nitrates.

My father has a large fish tank in our house, so we decided to get a head start on the system. Over the past few months, while building the system, we have been collecting water from washing his fish tank. This water is already rich in bacteria, and will give an extra boost when working to start up our aquaponics system. We have currently gathered 22 gallons of fish water, storing it in one gallon jugs. If you have a healthy fish tank available, it is a good idea to collect water during cleanings. Apart from jump-starting an aquaponics system, it can be used to water houseplants.

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