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PostPosted: Nov 17th, '19, 03:44 

Joined: Dec 24th, '17, 00:12
Posts: 19
Gender: Male
Are you human?: Arrrrg
Location: Bay Area, Ca
Hello Aquaponic People!

I have recently finished building a newly revamped system at my GF’s house. She used to have a simple chop and flip system that her sister built a few years ago but it crashed. They had their trials with it but ended up dismantling it. Then I came along and I brought it back to life. Now I have built an expanded chop and flip system with two GBs, solids collection and sump tank.

Basic Rundown of System

~400 gallons
Constant Flow
Pentek Big Blue Carbon Filter( For top off)
Pondmaster PondMag 1200 pump
2” plumbing
2x 6.5Gal RFF plumbed in sequence
IBC Tote for FT
IBC Tote split in two for GB (Media and DWC)
55 Gal barrel (Sump)
Reusing Hydroton Media from first Chop & Flip ( I dont know if this was my best choice/decision. Having some interesting water tests during fishless cycle, more to come)


Since picture has been taken, I added bubble insulation to block light out of tank and grow beds.


2 RFF plumbed in sequence


Walkway to command center


Command Center (Left to Right)

Green Globe Valve: Regulates water pressure from main into carbon filter for top offs
Blue Ball Valve: Solids blow off/ removal
Pentek Big Blue Carbon Filter
Red Ball Valves (Top to Bottom)
Water inlet to GB with bypass to Sump
Water inlet to FT


Manifold (From Sump/Pump to FT)
2 expansion Slots
1st Slot- Return to sump
2nd Slot- Empty (Thinking vertical NFT, above DWC, in future)
Water inlet to FT

I need to add two check valves to system in order to cover all bases if power cuts out. But other than that, it runs smoothly, cant wait to have it cycled!

Started the fishless cycling process on the 2nd of November. Dosed water to 2ppm ammonia. Was a little weird since my nitrites spiked in the first few days and havent dropped since. Did a few water changes. I do not have the optimal water temp right now, as they sit in the mid/high 50s. So I have that going against me...


One of the first water tests

Question on reusing Media

Could this be from using media from previous system that crashed? For a year or so hydroton sat in buckets/containers and probably didnt fully dry out? Then adding ammonia kicked bacteria into overdrive? This is my train of thought currently.

I know of the nitrite spike but it usually doesnt happen this quickly, right?

Ive been chatting with a good friend/old boss who builds and maintains koi ponds, and even he is stumped... I have tried a few things hoping the system wont crash with such high nitrites... Did a few large water changes and buffed water with kH booster( curious of peoples thoughts on this as well). Ive read that you want a high pH during the cycling process to help the bacteria.

Here are my test results ( Some times its hard to tell what the colors are on the API test)



My current plan of action is to wait it out and see what happens. My friend has a few 250w water heaters, so I might see if I can get my temps up in order to speed up the process. I welcome any feedback.

Looking forward to growing fresh produce in my backyard!

Cheers :occasion5:

~OEP :pirate:

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