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PostPosted: Jan 28th, '17, 11:00 
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Years ago I built a hydroponics system in my backyard that produced the best tasting lettuce (according to my wife and kids :cheers: though my wife complained it was visually lacking :support: ). It was great learning about the ability to grow without dirt; however, I was not excited about finding the right nutrient mixes as well as working with multi part systems that are designed to grow, then bloom, then fruit. I wanted to grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at different stages of growth off of the same system (with a single nutrient supply) so that I could have a continuous supply of produce for the family throughout the year. My hydroponics adventure came to an end when we bought a house and moved. :wave1: I disassembled the system with every intention of putting it back together once we were settled in the new house. After moving, I started contemplating a new hydro system that could do what I wanted fairly easy and be able to go on autopilot as needed. I researched and researched and kept bumping into "aquaponics" :?: . As I looked deeper into aquaponics I decided that I wanted to change directions-from hydo to aqua. :headbang: Then came the years of planning and watching for the materials to make it happen.

After acquiring a single IBC tote and doing a sample and learn system, I am finally starting on a larger system.

I now have an additional 8 IBC totes. I plan on partially burying 3 to use as a sump. The other 5 will be utilized as fish tanks. I also have 3 55 gallon plastic drums. One will be cut in half and both halves will be used to grow duckweed. The other 2 will be used as RFF's. I plan on having double dutch buckets, dwc, and flood and drain grow beds.

BTW if you are wondering what happened to the hydro system it is in the back of a shed collecting a lot of dust and no we have not fully settled in, even though we have been here for years. :roll:

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PostPosted: Jan 29th, '17, 09:19 
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Hi Michael.

As per other thread posts (viewtopic.php?f=45&t=28087&p=547966#p547966) your experience from a first simple setup should make things much easier second time around. Gather this will be your main thread now for the new setup.

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I now have an additional 8 IBC totes. I plan on partially burying 3 to use as a sump. The other 5 will be utilized as fish tanks. I also have 3 55 gallon plastic drums. One will be cut in half and both halves will be used to grow duckweed. The other 2 will be used as RFF's. I plan on having double dutch buckets, dwc, and flood and drain grow beds.

Sounds like you have a plan. Look forward to seeing it develop.

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PostPosted: Jan 29th, '17, 13:51 
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+1, it's always nice to follow a new build. Good luck, you should have great success in your location with lot's of options for fish. Will you raise fish to eat or just to look at?

If you are interested in catfish, using IBCs for tanks might not be the best. IBCs are a bit small to raise big cats. I finally went to a 900 gallon stock tank and it is working much better. I still have tilapia in my IBC system.

My daughter always said she didn't want to eat our fish, they were pets. So I asked if the neighbors had fish if it was okay to eat theirs, and where does she think fish at the store come from. She still didn't want to eat ours, but she doesn't seem to mind when they are on her plate.

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PostPosted: Jan 31st, '17, 09:50 
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dlf_perth "Sounds like you have a plan. Look forward to seeing it develop."

Thanks, I will def. need input as I go.


dstjohn99

I am going for fish to eat. I would like to try to raise barramundi, but I can not get them here (for a reasonable price) and they also are on the invasive species list, so I'm considering tilapia, bluegill, crappie, and catfish. I am not sure what I will end up with... I am wondering about the water temp. in winter for the tilapia. If the catfish will have a hard time growing in the IBC I may remove them from my potential fish list.

I understand about not eating pets. We had a pet rabbit pass (several years back) and I was told quite firmly that while rabbits can be eaten, WE do not eat pets :naughty: ! Well, we do have chickens now and I insisted they were not pets, all of them had been named Nugget :D and we have eaten several of them.

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PostPosted: Jan 31st, '17, 09:56 
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This is my initial plan. I am looking to pump from the sump to the fish tank. Then letting gravity take it from the fish tank to the swirl filter, from the swirl filter to the grow beds, from the grow beds to the sump.


Attachments:
File comment: Initial Plan
Layout.jpg
Layout.jpg [ 29.58 KiB | Viewed 4632 times ]

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PostPosted: Jan 31st, '17, 23:23 
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Looks like a great plan. I hear a lot about barramundi from people in Australia. Have a look at DandMsthread. They are one of the few that actually did barramundi for a while. It sounds like they are a warm water fish like tilapia.

With you layout you could easily have multiple species or have a fry / fingerling tank and a couple grow out tanks. I like catfish because they are delicious and they can tolerate a wide temp range. I did raise them in an IBC the first year. I now have separate systems for catfish and tilapia. I have to heat the tilapia system about 4 months out of the year. The catfish can take the cold - currently 47°, but they don't eat or grow much below 65.

If you are considering tilapia I recommend White Brook. A bit pricey but there nile strain survives well in cold water. I still have one in my catfish tank. Their fish seem to be excellent quality and they ship overnight. If I order more tilapia I will definitely get them here. Supposedly you get a mix of males and females so you can establish a breeding colony, but I ordered the hatchery choice and mine were all males.

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PostPosted: Feb 7th, '17, 12:43 
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I broke ground-I dug the location for my partially buried sump. :cheers: It feels good to act on something you have been thinking about for a long time. Here are some pics of the work.


Attachments:
File comment: Breaking ground for the sump
Sump Prep 1 BAP.jpg
Sump Prep 1 BAP.jpg [ 139.25 KiB | Viewed 4587 times ]
File comment: Sump site dug
Sump Prep 2 BAP.jpg
Sump Prep 2 BAP.jpg [ 124.5 KiB | Viewed 4587 times ]
File comment: Sump Prep dug
Sump Prep 3 BAP.jpg
Sump Prep 3 BAP.jpg [ 152.01 KiB | Viewed 4587 times ]

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PostPosted: Feb 7th, '17, 12:53 
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Placed a layer of large gravel, then road base, then cinder blocks, then another layer of road base before placing ibc cage (without the feet) down. I went through this hassle to hopefully counter the effects of my soil being sand, sand, sand, with some other stuff mixed in and that the water table sometimes rises up to within a foot of the surface (depending on how much rain we get). All this to try to keep the sumps from shifting as the water table rises and lowers and possibly breaking the plumbing connection between the tanks.


Attachments:
File comment: Sump frame
Sump Frame BAP.jpg
Sump Frame BAP.jpg [ 167.79 KiB | Viewed 4585 times ]

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PostPosted: Feb 7th, '17, 13:02 
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Sumps connected, leak tested, and ready for back fill. In addition to the ground work, I used rubber flex couplings between each IBC as well as connected to each IBC with threaded unions to provide some ability to handle a small level of movement if/when the ground does shift.


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File comment: Sumps connected together
Sump Connect BAP.jpg
Sump Connect BAP.jpg [ 139.97 KiB | Viewed 4585 times ]

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PostPosted: Feb 7th, '17, 13:49 
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It would sure be nice to have a backhoe :headbang: . Nice start :thumbright:


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PostPosted: Feb 9th, '17, 10:47 
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Thanks scotty435. The indentured servant (my son) :D was very thankful. The backhoe was courtesy of a friend that got it for a job and had some extra time available for me to use it :thumbleft: .

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PostPosted: Feb 10th, '17, 21:29 
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It really is an impressive facility that you are building. You have not said it out loud, but it seem to be in almost commercial scale. Your neighbors must be nice people, not looking for fault in every situation. Perhaps you have a large yard and therefore do not need to worry about what others think. Unfortunately I have suffered more. Always found the neighbors something to complain about. Most often, they argued that it smelled bad. I'll have to wait some time to launch something again.

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PostPosted: Feb 13th, '17, 13:33 
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Hans, I hope it turns out better then the idea. I don't believe it to be big enough to be commercial, but I am hoping for it to be big enough to provide family and friends with a wide variety of produce and fish. I have 3/4 of an acre which seems large until you see my neighbors properties (I have the small lot in the area, haha). My neighbors are fantastic (at least all of my direct neighbors).

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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '17, 19:20 
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Nice start, you aren't going to back-fill around the plumbing side are you? I would build a wooden box around that side so you can access the plumbing if something does start to leak... won't be much fun if you have to dig it out by hand later to fix it.

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PostPosted: Feb 18th, '17, 10:12 
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Green Time wrote:
Thanks scotty435. The indentured servant (my son) :D was very thankful. The backhoe was courtesy of a friend that got it for a job and had some extra time available for me to use it :thumbleft: .


Umm, backhoe? Cheater!! (of course I hired a tractor to dig my FT in the ground, so pay no attention to the hypocrite). At least it's a CAT!! I work for a division of CAT here in San Diego, thanks for supporting our jobs!

Looks like it will be an amazing system. +1 on the box / plumbing access. There is always something that happens. Also, be sure to reinforce around the IBC, especially with your soil issues - seen a few photos of collapsed sump tanks when they get emptied or with wet soil.

Great start, I hope you get many years of enjoyment from this!

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800 gal sys 2016
IBC system 1/2015
simple flood & drain
5 growbeds

9 kW Solar Electric 2011

"Aquaponics...solar-powered nanotechnology that produces fresh vegetables and meat, while purifying water..." - Rick Op, Houston Texas.


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