As my blog has explored, there are many reasons to start an AP system. Here in the PNW I am encouraging people to explore AP as an indoor means of gardening (to replace or help supplement their veggies) but also as means to a better way of keeping pets.
Two friends of mine, Steph & Frankie…Frankie has been mentioned on this blog before for our forays in microponics, have really taken to AP and its indoor adaptable nature. Steph is a baker/cook in the seattle area and has asked me to set her up with a beginner tank to grow fresh herbs to use in dishes. Frankie has continued along his AP journey from microponics to a full fledged 50 gallon and back to a 20 gallon.This is steph and her new tank. We just got it set up today and have spent the past few weeks collecting parts, conditioning water, building a filter box and growing bacteria.
When I arrived at her place today we tested the box for leaks, filled with hydroton, and planted. I also gave her a second innoculation of fish poo/bacteria and some starter snails. A little over a week ago we filled the tank, turned on the pump for circulation and added the fish poo. I was pleased today to see a thick coating of clear slime on everything as well as some good water readings. The slime was indicative of the biomatrix (I believe that is the right word) the bacteria build to stick to things and keep from floating in the water column. There was no bad smell and the water readings were .5 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrites, and 10 ppm nitrates. It seems as though the second set of bacteria have taken hold and ammonia is on the downslide.
Here you can see her plantings…mint (from my tank), parsely, sage, and thyme. Good beginnings for an herb box. Steph is going to take some time to develop the look of her tank in the next two weeks before we test the water again to see if we can add fish. She has promised to send pictures of changes and I will post them to keep you updated. I am very excited to see the progress of her tank over the summer.
Here is Frankie’s 20 gallon. He has pothos, spathyphyllum, mint and several aquatic plants growing.
There are not too many fish for the filter to support and clean for, so a small planting for this case works well. He went from a 50 to 20 gallon merely for space reasons and loves his fish.
AP is such a great, natural & fairly inexpensive way to keep healthy and happy pets. In a natural environment with no addition of chemicals and the reliance on nature’s own systems, you have little disease and happy fish.
Think about this option for yourself if you want fish but have no want to grow veggies. Use recycled materials to build where you can and there are few limits to the kimd of set up you can do…and, of course, bigger is always better.
I will continue to update on these two systems as changes are made, not to mention updates on mine as spring plantings and new filters come around.