I just cycled a new 40 gallon aquarium with a 10 gallon wet/dry sump tank in four days by using water and media from my aquaponic system.
Day 1 Ammonia = 0.50 Nitrite = 2.0
Day 2 Ammonia = 0.25 Nitrite = 2.0 (added more urea)
Day 3 Ammonia = 0.00 Nitrite = 5.0 (this is the Nitrite spike) (added more urea)
Day 4 Ammonia = 0.00 Nitrite = 0.0 (Wow, I've never had it happen so fast)
The water was kept at 75F.
Inoculating with good strong culture from an established system will greatly speed up the time it takes to cycle a new system. This time the aquarium was filled with water from the aquaponic system, and I used a small activated carbon
filter about 4" x 6" that I had been using to disperse the water with as it
poured into the aquaponic grow bed to inoculate the aquarium..
I have also notice
that a wet/dry sump is especially helpful compared to a letting the
water flow through all of the media.
It's not real pretty, but this is my bio filter. I used a couple
baskets filled with new Hydroton, you can see it is still floating. One basket is submerged while the other is above
the water level (wet/dry sump).
My aquaponic system uses ebb and flow, but I've seen better results when I duplicate a wet/dry sump by not completely draining the grow bed.