Aquaponics - Pump-less cycling Success!

Sometimes, I know things like cycling a pile of gravel should work, but I'm still surprised when they actually do.

After shovelling 3/4 of the gravel into my grow bed, I got lazy and went to bed. But I thought I'd try getting a head start to cycling up my system as gravel in a grow bed, and a pile of gravel on the ground. 

It was about to rain, so I figured it was a good time to add some fish emulsion to the gravel. When I last wrote about pump-less cycling, I promised I'd let you know if it worked.

It worked!

My recent test showed some nitrites.

The sample pictured was taken from rain runoff, at the standpipe in my new growbed.

To make sure I wasn't getting the nitrites from the bottle of fish emulsion, I tested some fresh water with fish emulsion added. 

ammonia 2.0
nitrite 0.0
nitrate 0.0

What this means is, there were no nitrites introduced directly from the bottle of fish emulsion. What that means is that my pump-less, sump-less, no fishtanked system is cycling, because the nitrites must have come from the bacteria in my new system.

No great surprise really, but still interesting.

It's actually not that important for me to cycle my system, because I will be adding 100 litres of mature media from my test system. That 100 litres of media is currently coping with my eleven silver perch, so in the new system, it should continue to cope. As long as I transfer it in such a way as to keep it wet at all times, my nitrifying bacteria colony should find its new home welcoming. I'm told I should bury my old mature media from the small test system at about half way down into the new gravel media for best results.

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