Aquaponics – Getting the system going

For an aquaponic system to work properly it needs certain bacteria population established in the growbed. This is for converting ammonia released by fish into nitrate. Nitrate provides plants with one of the most essential nutrients it needs for survival, Nitrogen.

In a normal situation, bacteria population gets established naturally within a few weeks (3-6 weeks) after water starts flowing through the growbed. But there are ways to speed that up.

What I am trying is to start the new system with water from another established system, which already has the bacteria population established. This is easy in my case because both of my systems are using the same sump tank.

To give an idea on how this works, sump tank (in my case it is a drum) is at a lower level than the grow bed and the growbed is at a lower level than the fish tank. There is a sumbersible pump inside the sump tank that pumps water into the fish tank. Water from fish tank flows  (through an overflow pipe) into the growbed and then flows back into the sump tank, completing the cycle. In this case water level in the fish tank stays constant.

I’ll add a couple of fish into the system tomorrow and see how well they do. Then add a couple of dozen in a week or so.

I planted a few vegetables on a test basis, like cucumber, capsicum, cauliflower, eggplant  (brinjal or vazhuthananga) and beans. Depending on what works I’ll add more plants. More to come.

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Preparing growbed for planting

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Planting a seedling

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Eggplant / Brinjal / Vazhuthananga

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Just filled water in the fish tank