This is what aquaponics is really all about – the nitrogen cycle
Fish poo creates amonia which is eaten by Nitrosomonas sp. Bacteria which then poo out nitrite, which is eaten by Nitrobacter sp. Bacteria which poos out nitrates, which are then eaten by the plants.
I just took all my levels for the first time in 2 months – (note to self: do this more regularly).
Everything looks fairly balanced, with only the nitrate and carbonate levels a little on the high side.
The nitrate levels on the high side could be a good thing, especially seeing as my nitrites are at zero. Seeing as 2 months ago, when I had no fish or plants, there were no nitrates in the system, I presume this means that my nitrogen cycle is functioning well.
This also aligns with the recent growth ive noticed with my plants. This also makes me think that I’m clearly not maximizing the vegetables that this system could handle. I imagine, that as the plants and roots grow that the nitrates my go down… I’d like to see if that hypothesis pans out.
The other way it could go is for the fish grow, and the nitrate production potential may therefore outgrow the rate of the vegetable growth to consume it… Which could mean that I have to add more vegetables to balance it out.
It will be interesting to measure this to see how this changes over time.
Lastly, in regard to the high carbonates, I believe that is a result of a recent top off that I did – and we have very hard water here. However there is one concern with this. Seeing as carbonates are alkaline, yet my pH was last at 7, it does make me wonder if, prior to adding top up of hard water, the water was fairly acidic.
Another thing to keep an eye on.