Aquaponics - Fish-less cycling

In order to create a backyard ecosystem we need to establish the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle turns fish waste into plant food, but perhaps more importantly it turns toxic fish waste into relatively harmless fish waste.

Having no photo that relates to this in any way I'll simply do what all media does these days and use some file footage. So here's a fish I prepared earlier.

The aim in fish-less cycling is to introduce ammonia in some form so that the bacteria that convert ammonia into nitrites can breed up and do their thing. Once nitrites are present, the bacteria that convert nitrites to nitrates multiply. This process can take a while as compared to some other beasties they are slow to reproduce (up to 20 hours to double in population).

Ammonia can be sourced by adding urea (bought in packet form from your hardware store or garden supply store) or by having a healthy, drug/medication free person pee in your fish tank. Within the online forums this second method is referred to as adding humonia or sometimes as peeponics.

In order to set the amount of ammonia correctly you will need a test kit. More on testing your aquaponics system later.

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