Cycling an aquaponics tank with pee
Even though we
started with a kit,
no aquaponics system is truly plug and play. Instead, you have to build
up handy bacteria to change fish waste (ammonia) into the form of
nitrogen plants can use (nitrate). While you can do this by putting some fish
in your tank and hoping the bacteria will grow faster than their poop
will build up, most folks cycle the tank using chemistry instead.
Cycling is pretty
simple. Basically, you set up both your tank and grow bed (with pump
running), then you add a source of ammonia to bring the content of the
water up to 4 to 6 ppm. After that, it's just a waiting game while the
bacteria accumulate and do their job.
(This picture actually
portrays a pH test. But let's pretend, shall we?)
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