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Rahul Sud posted a topic in GENERAL AQUAPONICS DISCUSSION@ anyone - Do these parameters hold true Inoculate and startup a new aquaponic system : If one just fills the aquaponic system with water and put fish in it, it will start up all by itself. You can’t prevent it from starting up unless you do something really dumb. To start it sooner (so you have vegetables to eat sooner) simply “inoculate” it with some of the nitrifying bacteria that occur naturally in aquaponics water to begin nitrification. We recommend operating your system with 0.3 pounds of fish per square foot of raft area or media bed. However, we suggest starting your system with 10-20% or so of this recommended operating amount of fish. There are two reasons for this: first, it is difficult and/or expensive to just buy a large amount (by weight) of live fish. Second, until your nitrifying bacteria get well established and numerous, you do not want to inject too much ammonia into your system, which is what “too many fish” will do. Ammonia levels of 3 ppm or over in your water will slow down or stop nitrification (and your system startup) in its tracks, because the nitrifying bacteria in your inoculant are inhibited by too much ammonia, even though it’s their “food”. Although there are some nitrifying bacteria present in the water itself, these bacteria are primarily “surface colonizers”, which means that they live in colonies on solid surfaces; this is sometimes called a “biofilm”. There is a limited amount of surface area for them to colonize in your brand-new aquaponics system, and as a result, there is a limited amount of bacteria; and a limited amount of nitrification can occur because they can only process a small amount of ammonia. But, as you put baby plants into your system during startup, you are adding a tremendous amount of surface area (the bacteria colonize their roots too!), and as your plants grow and increase their root area, the bacteria colonize them and increase exponentially until there are zillions of them, and they can handle an incredible amount of ammonia. Hoping to get some positive feedback. Regards