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PostPosted: Feb 1st, '16, 10:19 
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I picked up my first component of the AP system yesterday... Bought an IBC that someone had already cut down for an AP system... I am still a few months away from actually getting started, but in the meanwhile I am cycling a fish tank to breed guppies in, I was thinking I will breed guppies to feed my fish in the AP system once I get started... At least as part of their meaty food diet... Will supplement some veggies and algae sheets for food too. Was reading the other day that someone claimed tilapia was bad for you, but from what I gathered it sounds like it's mostly due to poor quality foods in fish farms, that they need veggies/algae to be healthy.

I might pick up cinder blocks soon to lay out the greenhouse so I can start digging as soon as the ground thaws... I thought about doing it today but decided to finally she some house projects first.

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PostPosted: Feb 6th, '16, 22:07 
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Hi Rob,

I too am new here, this is my first post. I take it you live in Michigan? I live about 30 miles NW of Midland in Gladwin County. I too am planning to start an aquaponics system this year. I have 34 acres with about 6 acres of it being ponds. I plan to build a greenhouse to house everything so I can farm year round. I already heat my home with wood by way of an outdoor wood burner that heats 350 gallons of water that is piped into the house, it is large enough to also heat a aquaponics greenhouse. I will be 59 on March 7th and am very excited about this project. I have been reading and watching youtube videos about it for a couple years but just found this site. I am confident all the knowledge I will need can be found here, it is rare to find a site so willing to freely share good information. It seems the ibc's can be gotten locally for between free and $100 each. Good luck with your system, maybe we can get together at some point. My ultimate goal would be a commercial setup, we will see ow it goes.


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PostPosted: Feb 7th, '16, 08:49 
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One of my scuba diving buddies that works at a commercial greenhouse dropped off a free IBC today... so I now have two IBC's for the greenhouse! I have rethought my greenhouse/growbed layout and decided against using IBC totes for the growbeds. I just thought it was going to get crowded too quickly, so instead I am going to use these two IBC's as my fish tanks (the one is already cut, the other I will leave full size and just cut a hole in the top... I think this must be bigger than the 275 gal size because it's a lot taller than the other one...) then I will have 2ft wide grow beds built from wood and pond liner in the greenhouse. I think I am able to fit more growbed space while having better walkways/access by doing this...

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PostPosted: Feb 29th, '16, 20:11 
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Still waiting for the weather to break to break ground on the greenhouse. We've had some nasty ups and downs lately, had melted all of our snow then last week wed-thurs we got 12+ inches of snow, now saturday-sunday it all melted again and we have ponds all over the yard. I guess on the bright side it is a good time to check where I want to put the greenhouse to make sure it isn't going to have standing water...

I'm progressing on my other plans though... I picked up my two pigs yesterday, they are bigger than I expected them to be, so shouldn't have a problem getting them fattened up in the next couple of months.

Also went and picked up 7 more pullets to add to our egg-laying flock this fall... will bring us up to 11 chickens for eggs, plus I might get 3 more if I find the right breeds for what I'm looking for (to make it so we have 2 of everything that we have...) will end up with 2 white egg layers, 2 colored egg layers (the current one has green eggs) and 10 brown egg layers if I find the 3 that I'm missing... I'm going to give these pullets a week or two to grow bigger then pick up my first batch of meat birds for the year (plan on doing 48 meat birds again, this time in two batches of 24).

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PostPosted: Mar 23rd, '16, 20:18 
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the wife and I measured out and spray painted the grass in a 16x16 ft area where we're planning to build the greenhouse... it looks so much smaller seeing it on the ground! One issue we noticed is the area we plan to put it has a fairly good grade to it, so I'm going to have to dig the yard out a bit to be able to level the foundation. I've never done any masonry work so this will be a learning experience to try and get the foundation level to have a good starting point...

I'm almost finished with tiling my master bathroom shower, then I still need to rip out the carpet and put the B-board up on the walls, tile the floor and replace the vanity/sink and do all of the trim work, but I think once the shower is done the rest will go a lot faster. The shower is my first major tile job that I've ever done, once I move on to the floor it should be pretty easy as all I have to do special cuts for is around the toilet drain, the rest of the plumbing comes through the wall.. should be pretty easy... need to finish this then I move on to the greenhouse.

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PostPosted: Mar 23rd, '16, 20:47 
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wkinne wrote:
Hi Rob,

I too am new here, this is my first post. I take it you live in Michigan? I live about 30 miles NW of Midland in Gladwin County. I too am planning to start an aquaponics system this year. I have 34 acres with about 6 acres of it being ponds. I plan to build a greenhouse to house everything so I can farm year round. I already heat my home with wood by way of an outdoor wood burner that heats 350 gallons of water that is piped into the house, it is large enough to also heat a aquaponics greenhouse. I will be 59 on March 7th and am very excited about this project. I have been reading and watching youtube videos about it for a couple years but just found this site. I am confident all the knowledge I will need can be found here, it is rare to find a site so willing to freely share good information. It seems the ibc's can be gotten locally for between free and $100 each. Good luck with your system, maybe we can get together at some point. My ultimate goal would be a commercial setup, we will see ow it goes.


Hey wkinne, I have to appologize, I somehow missed this post, I wasn't intentionally ignoring you. I live between Charlotte / Eaton Rapids about 15-20 miles south of Lansing. We have a cabin on Sand Lake in Harrison/Dodge that isn't too far from you it sounds like (about 5 miles from Miceli's... everyone knows where that is at even if you've never been there LOL). I don't get up there very often anymore, I used to go up there every weekend that I could, but then life got in the way and now I typically try and make it up Memorial day weekend but that's about it... It sounds nice having the wood burner and being able to run it to heat the greenhouse with... no question about being able to run it all winter long then! We're heating with fuel oil so not a good option for the greenhouse. I'm hoping that with the combination of the 3 plans I have for heat that it will be enough.

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PostPosted: Apr 25th, '16, 21:13 
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it's not much, but it's progress! I broke ground on the greenhouse... started digging trenches to be able to level the cinderblock foundation. I will need to pick up the cinderblocks and concrete/mortar before I can go much farther, but was killing time while my wife painted the master bathroom so I started digging...

I have a little bit left to do on the master bathroom which I'm hoping to be finished with by Wednesday night, then I move on to the greenhouse build, and eventually will get to the aquaponics build once the greenhouse is up...

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PostPosted: May 2nd, '16, 19:01 
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A little more progress on the greenhouse. I picked up the cinderblocks and was trying to get an idea how they were going to sit and decided it would probably be easier to level them if I poured a cement foundation for them to sit on... the cement should pretty much self level itself I figured, instead of me trying to dig out dirt just perfect... so I widened my trenches a bit and put some rebar on risers in them and then started pouring cement. I had previously bought a cement mixer for $100 because I knew I was going to be doing some cement work (was more or less planning to use it for the mortar for the blocks and then some cement to fill the blocks, but have now used it to mix 36 bags (2160lbs) of cement. I probably need another 5-6 bags to finish leveling the foundation, but I ran out of bags. I will go pick up another 10 bags in the next day or two to finish the foundation then I can start setting the blocks.

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PostPosted: May 3rd, '16, 22:04 
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Nice… how deep is your frost line?
We are lucky here frost line is not very deep.

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PostPosted: May 4th, '16, 03:59 
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markb wrote:
Nice… how deep is your frost line?
We are lucky here frost line is not very deep.


our frost line is considered 42". I'm not going that deep, so I'm planning to stack straw bales around the greenhouse in the winter to help keep the ground from freezing up close to the greenhouse. Will help knock down some wind too so hopefully it will keep the greenhouse from getting too messed up from frost... if it does I'll deal with it when it happens I guess. If anyone asks I'm just building a shed with a bunch of windows in it anyways... =)

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PostPosted: May 4th, '16, 04:28 
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I've never seen an IBC shrinkwrapped before. Hold onto that friend.


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PostPosted: May 4th, '16, 18:04 
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That is the one that was given to me by a friend who runs a commercial flower greenhouse. It contained "Oxcide" which sounds like they use it as a water softener in the greenhouse... the shrink wrap is torn in a few places so I was planning on removing it and painting the container black, you think the shrink wrap would be better off at keeping the sun out of it?

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PostPosted: May 24th, '16, 19:56 
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I haven't taken pictures but I did get a chance to spend a few hours working on the GH on Sunday. I have my blocks set and mortared in place, I started filling the blocks with concrete and I bought the treated boards that will sit on top of the blocks and the lag bolts that will run down in to the blocks to be anchored in the concrete. I got one side filled and the board anchored in place, I almost finished the second side before running out of concrete. I need to get another 15-20 bags of concrete to finish filling the rest of the blocks to anchor my treated board. I think I am going to dig out the area where my 55 gal drums will sit and pour a cement pad for them to sit on too for safety sake. Concrete is fairly inexpensive, and I have the mixer so I might as well use it...

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PostPosted: May 31st, '16, 20:05 
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Progress remains slow, but I am making progress at least... yesterday I finished filling all of the cinderblocks with cement and anchored my base board in to the cement with long lag bolts. I poured a little more concrete around the base of the blocks on the inside and outside to help make sure they are anchored good.

Next I need to dig out the dirt along the north wall and going to pour a cement slab for the water barrels to sit on.

Then I need to dig my trench to bury my PVC underground which will be ran up to the peak of the greenhouse once it is built to be able to pull warm air from the peak down underground to store the heat in the winter time.

Then I can buy gravel to fill the trench back in and maybe gravel my floor.

Then I need to move my IBC totes in to their position.

Then I can finally start building walls!

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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '16, 22:57 
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a few pics, I'm obviously an amateur when it comes to concrete work. I need a few more bags to get it leveled out, but it's close although not the prettiest... I might leave it unless I get the barrels in there and decide they don't sit level. I will start digging my trench to bury my PVC for the underground heating / cooling probably friday because I want to give the concrete a couple days to set up good before I dig the dirt out next to it, and I have other things going on Wednesday and Thursday so Friday will be my first chance to work on it again.

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