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Dave

Bag In Box Aquaponics (BIBA): a cheap first system you can build

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Hello everyone,

 

I am a social worker interested in promoting sustainable living and educational programs though aquaponics. I created a non-profit organization (www.aquaponia.eu) in Belgium that aims for social-educational-humanitarian impacts. We are working to make aquaponics accessible for everyone.  

 

BIBA is a system invented by aquaponia asbl. This system has been designed to be financially affordable for people who want to learn about aquaponics.

 

The particularity of BIBA system is to reuse waterproof bags (wine or fruit juice bags). When you recycle bags, it becomes possible to reuse them as grow beds for your plants. The main advantage of the bag is that it is already equipped with a fitting. Those who have already built an aquaponics system know that bulkhead fittings are often expensive. Reusing bags will remove a significant cost in the construction of a system and it becomes very accessible for the growers who want to experiment for the first time aquaponics. 

 

In our document "Bag In Box Aquaponics in 10 steps", we explain how to make this system. We have written it in 4 languages ​​( French , Dutch, English and Spanish).
BIBA system is an excellent tool for developing an educational workshop in your classroom. It is also interesting if you want to grow herbs in your kitchen.
 
Please, if you enjoyed our document, let us know! We are also interested in your achievements and projects. Do not hesitate to send us a photo of your BIBA system!

 

To download our free 10 step guide : http://www.aquaponia.eu/#!otilsdocs/c89s

 

 

 

 

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Hi Dave,

 

Welcome to Aquaponics Nation.

 

While "Bag in Box" has a nice ring to it, I wonder how practical it really is when it comes to giving someone their first aquaponics experience.

 

My concern is the same as I have with all tiny aquarium-based systems….and the current plethora of cute tabletop systems…..in that they are likely to require more skill to keep the various organisms alive than a considerably larger system (of say 1000litres).  As such they may discourage more novices than a bigger system would.

 

I've seen hundreds of aquarium systems get started but very few of them last all that long.  While some of their developers undoubtedly go on and build larger system, most of them just fade away.

 

But then, that's probably an accurate depiction of what happens to the majority of aquaponics systems in general.

 

Gary

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Hi Gary,


 


thanks for your thoughts on small aquarium systems and on the BIBA design. I would also like to thank you personally for all the information and knowledge you have shared through out the years. With your work you have truly inspired me and help me learn more about aquaponics. 


 


I completely agree with you. It's true, the smaller you go when sizing your system the harder it is to control the various organisms alive. We have seen wide range of small table top aquaponic systems built by hobbyist and entrepreneurs...and some are very creative! The reason why people build these systems, is that they are either attracted by smaller systems or don't have the space nor the right environment for a 1000L system. I think everyone has their own way in experimenting for the first time in aquaponics. Some start with barrels or IBC, and others buy complete commercial set-ups... but we all end up learning as we go, right? Then we often redesign or upgrade our systems. 


 


This said it's still possible to grow in small systems. I have successfully grown basil, parsley, mint, rosemary, and coriander in the BIBA. Check out my attached photo.


 


The main advantage in the BIBA system is that we use recycled materials. This allows growers to experiment without taking on huge construction projects or buying fancy complete systems... 


Also it always questions me when I see the amount of work, energy, and money spent for developing these small table top aquaponic products. Why make molds for small plastic growbeds when we can recycle and reuse everyday items (such as wine bags and containers)? 


 


I would like to conclude by saying: when experimenting for the first time with aquaponics size doesn't matter...but then again sometimes it does ;-)


 


Dave


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Wow - i'm impressed. Coupled with a longer tank (maybe a 55g long), this could be used in a classroom type setting so each team could have their own growing spot. If you have a source of bag in box bags - this could be a cheap way of experimenting. 

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Very true!

 
The BIBA is a wonderful tool for class experimentation and It was manly design for that matter. 
 
We have built a BIBA system in a classroom here in Brussels and students were ecstatic. Each student appropriates his own bag and plants the crop he chooses! He may also take his bag home once the school year is over. 
 
It just gives more meaning for children if teachers accompany a "hands-on approach" with theoretical content.
 
Glad to hear you thought directly about an educational program when you discovered the BIBA system :-)
 
I would love to hear more about your project if you decide to start a BIBA system in a classroom.
 
Dave

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By "stopping up" you mean gloging ? Never had that issue! It might happen with overwhelming roots certain crops have (for example mint crops) if you leave them to long in your system.

 
Where to find these bags: Here in Belgium we have a lot of bagged and boxed juices and wines, so it's pretty easy to find them. What I did, is ask students to bring empty wine or juice bags their family drank.
 
Pleas let us know if you have any more questions.
 
David

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Hi Dave,

 

Thanks for reminding me of the low cost/recycling aspect of the BIBA……it's certainly a useful point of difference between it and most of the tabletop "kickstarter" projects that are about.

 

Tiny systems like these are useful learning situations for those who are committed to making them work…..and they are a useful demonstration system.

 

Gary

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