Let’s Consider the Two Principle Workers:

Aquaponics utilizes natural processes. We rely on these natural processes to produce a truly organic nutrient bank.

- Nitrosomonas Bacteria
- Nitrobacter Bacteria

These two bacteria are naturally occurring. They are in the soil and water all
around us.

When we provide the starter compound, ammonia, the bacteria
swing into action and grow and multiply according to their food source.

The nitrogen cycle

The nitrogen cycle

TheNitrosomonas bacteria
convert the ammonia to Nitrite, and when Nitrite is present, then
theNitrobacter Bacteria convert the Nitrite to Nitrate.

Nitrate is, of course, the principal plant food for all plants, in particular leafy green plants such as vegetables.

To reiterate - it is important to understand that there is a myriad of microbes and bacteria at work in an Aquaponics system and eventually as the system matures many naturally occurring
nutrients become available to the plants.

Ammonia is the major waste product of the Kish.
released across the gills as a gas, and immediately dissolved in
the system water. Ammonia is TOXIC to fish at low levels and therefore, needs to be made
non-toxic as quickly as possible.

This is where the Bacteria play their role. The Bacteria convert the Ammonia (NH3) to Nitrite (NO2), then to Nitrate (NO3) Nitrate is non-toxic to the fish at small to medium levels ( This bacterial conversion of Ammonia to non-toxic Nitrate occurs in the bio-filter and on all the wetted surfaces of the system.

The breakdown, or mineralisation of solids in other areas eg, media beds and mineralisation tank, or sludge tank. This process occurs on all wetted surfaces. Grow media, underside of rafts, sides and bottom of raft beds, walls of fish tank and inside vertical towers.

So we have a system that is home to many, many forms of beneficial oxygen dependant microorganisms that perform very valuable tasks for us, providing the necessary ingredients for nutrient dense produce and healthy fish.

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2 thoughts on “Let’s Consider the Two Principle Workers:

  1. G’day Murray

    I always have ammonia levels now at between 0.5 and 1.0, sometimes higher. Can’t seem to get them lower and have to do a water drop from time to time. The nitrite is good, usually zero. The pH is never above 6.0 so I think affects the plants poorly. The Nitrate is always above 100 to 130 and my plants have stopped thriving. Rhubarb, egg plant, ginger, strawberries, parsley, basil are doing just OK but the plant system is not thriving, though we are eating nice Jade Perch a couple of times a week. Delicious.

    On another matter the battery back up system to run the bilge pumps when the power goes off has given up the ghost (bought a new battery) so I need to order a new one please. I run a big aerator every night from 10.00pm to 5.00am when the system is not pumping water around. I also have a heap of poly on the roof which pumps heated water through the system every half hour in daylight hours when the water temp gets below 25 or thereabouts.

    I’m on the cusp of either enlarging and mastering the system to get it to run properly or giving up, not my usual preference. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    If I can sort it out I’ll go to the next self sufficiency stage and buy a soldier fly trap and get my worm farm up and running

    Thanks
    Bruce at Samford

    32891094

    PS You’l love Portugal.

    • Hi Bruce, If your pH is always at 6.0 it is most likely below 6.0 because the Freshwater Test Kit only reads down to 6.0 Need to work on getting it up above 6.0 slowly by adding Hydrated Lime (1 tbl spoon per 1000 ltrs) daily until you can get it up above 6.0

      Post the backup box back to me and I will take a look at it for you. May be able to fix it for you.

      The roof heater sounds good.