Monthly Archives: August 2012

Fanatic Progress! – Tank, Pump, Plumbing, Grow Media.. we’re Cycling Baby!

Yes, it has been a while my friends.. my sincere apologies on the lack of updates as of late. Finances had been put on an extreme budget as of late, so progress was put to a stand-still. Thankfully I’ve been able to get some freelance work as of late, so I was able to obtain the materials I needed (pump, grow media, liner, pvc and assorted fixtures) as soon as I was able to get a few jobs completed.

Today’s post? WE ARE CYCLING!!!

Truth be told, this was one of those final pieces of the puzzle that seemed to be forever in coming. But thankfully with a little help and some great support from family and friends, we have arrived at this glorious moment in the AP Greenhouse build!

So, lets get the meat and potatoes of what’s occurred since our last post..

  1. Got the tank and grow beds lined
  2. Purchased the pump, filled the tank
  3. Installed first grow bed
  4. Created my first hand made siphon and plumbed the intake and outflow for the 1st grow bed
  5. Dropped rock media into 1st bed (lava rock or red cinder)
  6. Started pump for first time (big deal.. really says something about your AP getting going)
  7. Dropped in some ammonia to get the bacterial cultures started

For your benefit I’d though I’d list some things I learned from the school of ‘hard knox’. Prepare for a lot of ‘detail bits’ that usually won’t go through your mind in the pre-planning stages. For me this included getting the 4″ outflow pipe set at enough of an angle to go down toward the tank. In order to do this I had to raise the grow bed another cinder block higher than I was originally planning on (or about 6-9 inches). Other small ticket items like PVC joints, size reducers for the pump, creating an outflow valve to relieve excess pressure on the lines till I get additional grow beds installed (pumps rated for 2,300 gpm), etc. etc. Lastly was ants. Those little buggers are a real pain here in the valley. So had to treat some areas to keep them at bay. All of this sorta seemed to pop out of the woodwork at the last minute.

Thankfully though, with the help of a friend, all of these items were able to be taken care of within the span of one day (the wait came from saving up the money and getting the supplies shipped over the past few weeks).

The last item I purchased was a 55 gallon food grade barrel for my top off water (this originally contained Soy Sauce, so had to go through a few rinses before it started to smell.. acceptable). Plan on using a hose and siphoning out what’s in the barrel when needed until time permits me to install a outflow fitting near the base of the barrel to make it easier to pour into the tank.

Did some readings yesterday after my first week of cycling. When I started I had ammonia at 4 ppm. As of yesterday that had dropped to 1ppm and my Nitrites were hitting between .5-1 ppm. Threw in some additional ammonia this morning to feed the hungry buggers. We’ll see how soon it’ll be before the Nitrates start to kick in.

My last project was to build the cover for the tank to help protect it from debree floating in on the wind and to keep anybody from falling in 😉 Added some excess lining on the opening cover near the water outflow pipe to negate any paint from leaching into the water and help protect the wood. That was a good investment of my time let me tell you! I still need to add a handle for ease of opening, but for the most part it came together quite nicely!

Lots more work to do, but for the most part we are now at a stage where fish and plants should be forth coming in the next three weeks or so! YIPPEE!!!

Well that’s it for this part of the story. Plan on adding in another grow bed within the next couple of weeks time and start working on getting my Ph between 6.8 and 7 as well.

More updates to come as funds permit!