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kingjam

Planning Stage of My Aquaponioc System

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Hello Everyone,

I am a retired middle school teacher living in Florida. I am planning to develop a aquaponic system using two 275 gallon IBC totes which I have bought and cut off the top at the very top and cleaned out. I cut the totes at the very top so that I would maximize the volume of the fish tanks. I will use 55 gallon blue barrels cut lengthwise in halves to act as my growbeds.

There are so many questions that I have I am afraid to make a start. At this point, I would appreciate advice from anyone as to how to proceed. I am anxious to learn from your experiences.

Some of the questions are about: system design, suitable and best pump to use, how to collect waste and remove from the IBC totes using only one economical poump, etc.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Kingjam

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First off welcome.

Here is an animation of how a CHOP system works

http://www.aquaponics.net.au/Chops.html

I don’t like CHOP 2 as much but here is how it works it has some advantages and disadvantages.

http://www.aquaponics.net.au/ChopMk2.html

Mean and Green has a small system that is using blue barrels.

http://www.aquaponicshq.com/forums/showthread.php/6070-Hello-everyone-just-finished-my-first-system-check-it-out

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Well in order to have enough grow beds to grow you want at least a one to one ratio of fish tank water to the amount of gallons of grow bed. So technically you need 11, 55 gallon barrels. Cut them in half lengthwise to form 22 grow-beds. This should be equivalent to the water stored in the two ibc tanks. Then you can also use another 55 gallon barrel and dig it into the ground and use it as your sump. So in all you would need around 12 barrels. I hope this helps, just make sure to have a sump, they really help. If you have any questions shoot them at me.

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if you can get more IBC's, cut them in half for growbeds, much less plumbing!, barrels are ok, but take up lots of space and more barrels = more plumbing/points of failure

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Well in order to have enough grow beds to grow you want at least a one to one ratio of fish tank water to the amount of gallons of grow bed. So technically you need 11, 55 gallon barrels. Cut them in half lengthwise to form 22 grow-beds. This should be equivalent to the water stored in the two ibc tanks. Then you can also use another 55 gallon barrel and dig it into the ground and use it as your sump. So in all you would need around 12 barrels. I hope this helps, just make sure to have a sump, they really help. If you have any questions shoot them at me.

Thanks M&G for you thoughful answer,

I am wondering if it wouldnt be less work and cheaper to build some wooden growbeds with liner rather than use the recycled drums.

Any thought of a good pump to use?

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I am using a wooden box with a pond liner it works fine. not sure how many years i will get out of it though. :)

I picked up a pump from lowes I think it is 2 or 3000 gph. I had a much smaller one but when I pumped the water up high enough to get into the IBC container the water flow was not enough for it to start the auto siphon. Also once you get the pump if it is working well and you like it pickup a second one. It is a real pain to have one of the pumps die at like 7pm on a Sunday and you have to wait till 7am before you can get another one.

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My source for ibc is too far away and he sold me some for $60 each. I'm thinking of using wood frame with pond liner instead. I need to price out this system

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Brad,

Do you remember what the power comsumption of your pump was? Was it a sump pump that goes on and off as the water level in the Sump Barrel changes. or was it a waterfall pump that stays on constantly?

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waterfall pump as I want water to flow at one rate all the time. Dont know power usage on the thing and box is long gone. Also I found my IBC container at a new and used store. May want to call and ask a few of them if they have any.

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If you have time and a little bit of of money, you can build your growbeds out of plywood, then fiberglass them, then do three layers of epoxy paint over the finished glassing, but apply each coat every 4hrs. The only thing about fiberglass, is that it will break down in the sun over-time, but you will get longer life out of them.

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That's essentially how I built my first screen filter (plywood box, glassed and painted with epoxy). It was water tight and worked well, but was a bit heavy. I think it was probably bullet proof too.... literally. hehe

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The fiberglass isn't needed, but it does add a great deal of structural integrity. If you are building for something to last a very long time, fiberglass helps a great deal. Just a little piercing of the epoxy layer will ultimately cause the plywood to rot out. The fiberglass is nearly impossible to pierce.

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And fiber-glassing isn't to hard either, just make sure if you are handing it barehanded you want to rub your hands in baby powder so that the glass fibers wont go into your skin :P Words of wisdom

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a water tank used as a FT some plastic barrels for filtration and Wooden growbeds work for me, just a little water proof-cloth aka pond liner and away you go.. :)

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waterfall pump as I want water to flow at one rate all the time. Dont know power usage on the thing and box is long gone. Also I found my IBC container at a new and used store. May want to call and ask a few of them if they have any.

Brad,

Do you have a picture of your setup? I will need to build two 4'x8'x10" wooden frames and then line them with pond liner for each of my 275 gallon totes. Using fiberglass and epoxy seems too difficult for me as I've never worked with these materials before. I want to see how others built their wooden frames.

Edited by kingjam (see edit history)

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a water tank used as a FT some plastic barrels for filtration and Wooden growbeds work for me, just a little water proof-cloth aka pond liner and away you go.. :)

Pugo,

Do you have a picture of your setup? I will need to build two 4'x8'x10" wooden frames and then line them with pond liner for each of my 275 gallon totes. Using fiberglass and epoxy seems too difficult for me as I've never worked with these materials before. I want to see how others built their wooden frames.

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My source for ibc is too far away and he sold me some for $60 each. I'm thinking of using wood frame with pond liner instead. I need to price out this system

Keith,

Do you have any pictures of your setup? I will need to build two 4'x8'x10" wooden frames and then line them with pond liner for each of my 275 gallon totes. Using fiberglass and epoxy seems too difficult for me as I've never worked with these materials before. I want to see how others built their wooden frames.

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Yes epoxy is a must! Epoxy is a resin, and all the fiberglass does is add fiber structure to the resin, making it ten times stronger over flatter surfaces. Also if your going to work with any type of epoxy, make sure to buy the slowest curing epoxy you can get. The longer it takes, the more times you have to adhere it to the fiberglass, and also the molecular structure of the resin will be a lot stronger. I've had lots of experience with epoxy and fiberglass, as I do rc-aircraft and helicopters and my other hobby.

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I finally have some pic of my system. Highest level is the IBC fish tanks, which gravity overflows into the Lanscape timber/pond liner raft system growbed. From there the bridge syphons moves water into my sump which is at the same water level as the growbed water level but whose bottom is lower than the growbed partially burried in the ground. A 2000g/hr max flo pump returns the water to the fish tank. As water is pumped from the sump and its level falls, growbed water flows in through the bridge syphon to replace that which has been pumped out.

pictures#n_5

Edited by kingjam
didnt know how to upload pictures (see edit history)

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I just built mine with wood and pond armor epoxy. I don't see the need for the fiberglass.

pseudoreality

Where can you get pond armor epoxy? Is it painted on? Is it expensive? Does it work well?

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