Cycling is the process of growing enough bacteria in the aquaponics system to support the life of the system. The fish generate ammonia which must be converted to nitrates,a form of nitrogen the plants can use for growth. Bacteria are responsible for that conversion. The bacteria populate linings of the system as well as the grow media in the grow beds. It takes a few days to a few weeks for this process to happen.
This morning I was in the kitchen standing at the sink when suddenly a hummingbird flew right up the window and stopped in front of me. It stayed for only a moment and then moved on. I smiled and wondered what made that hummingbird stop and say good morning.
Over the last two years, I have added a number of plants to my yard that provide nectar for hummingbirds. But they aren't in bloom. With the cold weather we've had, everything is pretty sorry looking at the moment. I guess I'd have to say, it was simply a thank you for all my efforts.
The Joy of Washing Gravel
In the life of every aquaponics system comes the day to wash media to go in the growbeds. We decided on a two layer approach though we know the layers will become somewhat mixed over time.
Plumbing an aquaponics system is based on a large number of factors and very few systems have identical plumbing. I will describe what we did and how we came to the decisions we did. Over time, if we find we need to make adjustments we will include those as well.
The Journey Begins
Our first step was to dismantle the grow bed we had in the greenhouse and clear out all of the plants. The plants have found a temporary home in our dining room. I dug out the two broccoli plants that were still happily growing in and potted them. They will eventually end up in the new aquaponics system. The huge tomato had to go. There was no easy way to move the tomato but I'm sure it will be replaced by an equally huge one in the new system.