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PostPosted: Jul 16th, '09, 09:46 
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I have a working barrelponics system and am very much in the planning phase of an ambitious 20' x 60-72' greenhouse with a 6 tank raft/growbed combo system.

As a major scrounger, I have begun assembling the lowbudget pieces for a nice design.

Have purchased a tube bender from hoopbenders.com to make the greenhouse. On this site found a fascinating link to sunnyjohn.com and their ideas/experience with a solar heated AND COOLED greenhouse... Have since scored the free use of a trencher and am hunting a deal on 2000' of 4" sewer drain pipe... Have a small stack of 3/8" 3'x6' glass for solar water heaters to supplement winter heat in the fish tanks and several barrels to set up that system.

Searched and searched for what to use as tanks. I want six tanks (to rotate harvest times) with a total capacity in the 2000 to 2500 gal range.... Looked at IBC storage tanks, but could not find a reasonable source within 500 miles and shipping from that distance is more than the refurbished tanks... Found this GEM: http://www.watertanks.com/category/6/ and almost bit on the 550 gal tanks to cut the tops out of (a steal at 50¢ a gallon of capacity!), but the total for 4 or more was out of budget... Then, miracle of miracles, today, I scored 6-275 gallon IBC totes less than 10 miles from home at only $75 each! Not exactly the capacity I wanted, but willing to make that sacrifice for now.

I am working on the design of the overall system, but the current plan is for two 4' x 40' rafts and a series of growbeds that total 3' x 30' of half barrels. Water will leave the fish tanks and travel through a tank to capture major solids before running through the grow beds to the rafts, then a sump and back to the fish...

Fish of choice at this point is tilapia and hoping for prawns or Red Claws in the raft beds... The grow beds will primarily be for family veges and the rafts will be a combo of salad and herbs as requested by local restaurants...

Have a number of the details worked out in my head, but still trying to get a really solid grip on the plumbing and tank set up as that is my weakest area of expertise. I guess I've read about so many options I have to seriously begin to sort how I plan to make each part work.

Input, questions, advice, thoughts, etc are WELCOME! (And if you want to come help set it up :setup: , I'll be happy to buy a few quality brews! :occasion5: ) :D

Peace,

Pete

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PostPosted: Jul 16th, '09, 10:00 
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Welcome Pete!

You started with a bang on here!

I think ounce for ounce pond liner is the cheapest way to build capacity - a 500 gallon sump in the ground cost $65 for the liner from a local source where shipping was inexpensive. I spent some on a wooden frame to make a nice rectangle but a sloped hole in the ground can work as well. The fittings for all those barrels will start becoming a factor in the cost compared to fewer larger containers.

One type of tank that they have in S. Africa and that TCLynx has made is a mesh tank, which is a wire mesh for the round frame and pond liner inside it. That could be a cheap way to make a self-supporting round tank.

OutBackOzzie cut his barrels in half horizontally rather than vertically like the barrelponics way. You might consider that way since they don't require a frame.

Another way to configure your beds would be CHIFT PIST which is fish tank, grow beds, then sump from highest to lowest. One advantage is that solids go straight into the beds where they belong and another is that the fish tank stays a constant depth rather than fluctuating.

How did you find out about the IBCs?

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PostPosted: Jul 16th, '09, 10:01 
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BTW check out DecalsByJT's build, it may give you some more ideas for yours.

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PostPosted: Jul 16th, '09, 10:31 
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countryboy wrote:
I have a working barrelponics system and am very much in the planning phase of an ambitious 20' x 60-72' greenhouse with a 6 tank raft/growbed combo system.

I scored 6-275 gallon IBC totes less than 10 miles from home at only $75 each! Not exactly the capacity I wanted, but willing to make that sacrifice for now.

I am working on the design of the overall system, but the current plan is for two 4' x 40' rafts and a series of growbeds that total 3' x 30' of half barrels. Water will leave the fish tanks and travel through a tank to capture major solids before running through the grow beds to the rafts, then a sump and back to the fish...

Pete

Wow :shock: I like it, a hobby that pays for itself and some! So Fishtank to settling tank for solids to growbeds to raft tank to sump tank. Well a lot of your solids, uneaten food and such make good fodder for the crawfish, prawn or young tilapia. DanDman mentioned his tilapia fri that ended up in the solids filter grew twice as fast as the ones in his tank. And like Dave mentioned the cattle panel tanks are cheap easy and strong. The IBC make good biofilters/setting tanks as well as sump tanks. Also cut in thirds good growbeds, (modify the frames) I would think lined tanks for the raft tanks would be better and cheaper. Both the crayfish and prawn need bottom space 1-2 square feet per animal. So they can also work in the raft tank although the crawfish will try to escape, and may eat roots, not sure. They may just eat the biota among the roots. Lots of different configurations here. Good luck!

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PostPosted: Jul 16th, '09, 10:52 
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Welcome!!!! Wow going big from the start!

As you design and work on your greenhouse, biggest tip I will give is pay attention to levels, fall and gravity. As in, make sure the fish tank is high enough to feed by gravity to the grow beds (and filters if you like) and the grow beds are high enough above the DWC raft system to gravity feed and the DWC raft beds are at least as high as the top of the sump. It really sucks to try to lift a fish tank after you have already filled it.

Look into plastic welding and you might be able to use the mesh tank idea with welded sheet HDPE plastic as your "pond liner" I used a 15' by 15' piece of EPDM pond liner for my "mesh tank" but that meant I needed to fold to make it fit the round tank. You can buy fitted round liners but they get $$$$$$.

Anyway, welcome

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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '09, 05:04 
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Okay, finally getting back for followup info and questions...

Dave, excellent thread on JT's build.. and he's close enough I can go bug him if I need serious help!

Planning on a CHIFT PIST design, but trying to work in some media beds and rafts for both filtration and a few freshwater crayfish/prawns on the side.

The thought on the IBCs is that they are small enough to move/manhandle by myself is the water level is dropped... Also, unlike round containers, they better utilize a limited rectangular footprint and do not have the hassle of having to be built... though JT's tank looks very nice. Dollar for dollar on the total volume, I bet we'd be close... I'd have 2 - 275s for his 1 - 500... Is there a reason I might avoid IBCs? I've seen them used on other sites... (I open to input here...).

I did search for mesh tanks and need to look more. Haven't found anything that clearly articulates that type of build... Besides, I'm a picture guy. If I can see it, I can build it.

Playing with Sketchup so I can make a model to run past you guys before going to the shed for my shovel and PVC cement... LOL!

The plan for the rafts is HDPE lined troughs of 2 x 12s, though price wise, it may be cheaper to cut the sides off some IBCs and recycle the remaining guts... I'll have to figure the price per sq. ft... Extra plumbing will be a factor, though leveling each individually over a 40' bed has advantages.

Roughly, what is the optimum size for the sump? Same as total H2O volume of the growbed? Half that?

BatonRouge Bill wrote:
So Fishtank to settling tank for solids to growbeds to raft tank to sump tank. Well a lot of your solids, uneaten food and such make good fodder for the crawfish, prawn or young tilapia. DanDman mentioned his tilapia fri that ended up in the solids filter grew twice as fast as the ones in his tank. And like Dave mentioned the cattle panel tanks are cheap easy and strong. The IBC make good biofilters/setting tanks as well as sump tanks. Also cut in thirds good growbeds, (modify the frames) I would think lined tanks for the raft tanks would be better and cheaper. Both the crayfish and prawn need bottom space 1-2 square feet per animal. So they can also work in the raft tank although the crawfish will try to escape, and may eat roots, not sure. They may just eat the biota among the roots. Lots of different configurations here. Good luck!


Have puzzled over the solid filtration before the rafts/crayfish... maybe the solution is to occasionally feed a set amount of solids to the crayfish through a separate system (like a bucket and ladle? )..... Maybe need to go with more growbeds and not worry about lettuce with clean roots. Just focus more on a variety of produce for sale out the front door and use this smaller system as a trainer for (hopefully) other area cottage industry. Already have several following very closely with interest in their own systems and one order for a greenhouse...

Decisions, decisions.

Thanks for all input and I need to make a Sketchup!

Peace,

pete

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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '09, 07:54 
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Hey pete

no problem on a visit..... im always round someplace... if im not here im somewhere else...

jT


:cheers:

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PostPosted: Jul 31st, '09, 03:09 
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Making headway... first order of business here is to see if I can get my computer and camera to talk...


DRAT!! I even took pics today!!

Anyway! Have the tube bender and have test bent a couple hoops for the greenhouse. It will be 20' x 72'. Room for a LOT of stuff. Have a spot roughly leveled and the corners marked.

The barrelponics system I built a month and a half ago is doing very well, but need more plants in it now. The lettuce in the top float tank is growing gangbusters.

Have an unlimited supply of free used fiberglass bathtubs, so I plan to use these as grow beds. Have two set up now cycling water from a three year old water garden... one is a floating raft, while the other is ebb and flow... Had a time with the autosiphon! Finicky thing, but learned a lot through reading and trial and error. Now it fills in about 15 minutes and drains in about 3 before repeating the cycle.

In my spare time these last two weeks I've made and started a black soldier fly larvae collector... My chickens will enjoy those until I have fish in the system. Also, I read about, built and filled two bee hives... (free plans and info at backyardhive.com or search 'top bar hive' on google or youtube...)

Sold a piece of equipment that will give me a chunk of change to work with. Hope to pickup greenhouse supplies this weekend and really start building next week. More as things happen.

Will work on solving the camera issue!

Thanks for all the know-how and DIYers on this site!!

CB

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PostPosted: Sep 2nd, '09, 23:07 
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Update and some pics...

First order of business.. Progress slowed a bit because I was waiting on cash from a machine I was selling. Machine is still here, but have a source to make headway..

Attachment:
File comment: Older pic of BP system. Need a current one as the plants have really taken off. Have eaten some lettuce and have a new batch growing. Cukes and 'maters doing well. Hot peppers, too!
DSCF0743sm.JPG
DSCF0743sm.JPG [ 82.47 KiB | Viewed 6979 times ]


System is under a small GH frame made of 20' sticks of 25mm pvc. Will cover this Winter for other uses and the system will be moved into the much larger GH that is under construction.

Started a couple recycled fiberglass tub GBs connected to my watergarden.... Has only gone moderately well as the ph is way too high.. Guessing there is limestone in the river gravel, so I am going to dump and start over...

Attachment:
DSCF0741sm.JPG
DSCF0741sm.JPG [ 70.61 KiB | Viewed 6964 times ]


The goldies are doing well... The "system" is composed of a raft tub and a gb with modified loop siphon. I could not get it to break siphon cleanly and predictably, so I ended up adding a piece of 6mm clear tubing from top of loop to bottom level where I wanted the water to drain to and break siphon. Immediately cured the malaise.

Now to get to the point... the big GH is underway! Pics in next post.

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PostPosted: Sep 2nd, '09, 23:25 
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Now to the GH project at hand...

Selected a site that roughly runs East-West, so the South wall will be exposed to sun most of the
day.

Attachment:
DSCF0742sm.JPG
DSCF0742sm.JPG [ 61.49 KiB | Viewed 6939 times ]


We've driven 1 5/8" chain link posts into ground about 24" and cut/leveled the tops, then mounted a treated 2x6 on the outside to retain gravel flooring. Some weed mat in the pic as I had to have this under the 2x6.

Attachment:
DSCF0756sm.JPG
DSCF0756sm.JPG [ 78.28 KiB | Viewed 6932 times ]


Now I have to dig a hole for the sump that will hold about 900 gal (3600l?), then after that tank is in place we'll finish the weed guard and dump 15 yards of gravel into the frame as a heat sink during the Winter.

Oh, the square thing in the corner is a compost bin where I hope to not just compost, but produce heat for the GH and keep the BSFL bin warm for a longer season of production...

CB

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PostPosted: Sep 18th, '09, 22:10 
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Slow going right now... Ground is hard as a rock and I tried getting a friend to bring his backhoe, but alas, he sold it... Then, waited for a week + to use a neighbor's tractor with auger bit. Figured I could break up the ground easier with it by drilling a bunch of holes, then dig it out...

Of course, it hasn't rained in WEEKS and as soon as we get started it started to rain... Only had a limited time to use the tractor, so we forged ahead. The workers did not seem to mind! :D

Worked til dark and have most of the hole dug... Sore today.

Finishing the ground cloth and adding 20 tons of gravel this weekend. Most of the GH frame will be completed as well.


More pics early next week as I have to upload them on the work PC.


Attachments:
File comment: My eldest monitoring the tractor while I dig in the hole to keep the other moving dirt.
DSCF0786sm.JPG
DSCF0786sm.JPG [ 54.43 KiB | Viewed 6799 times ]

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PostPosted: Sep 18th, '09, 22:20 
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Man the 'edit' time on this thing is short!! Had two more pics to add... here they are with comments:


Attachments:
File comment: Child labor is cheap in the short run! It's the days you gotta feed when they don't work that kill you! ;o)
DSCF0788sm.JPG
DSCF0788sm.JPG [ 61.41 KiB | Viewed 6786 times ]
File comment: Enjoying the rain and the mud!!
DSCF0787sm.JPG
DSCF0787sm.JPG [ 52.29 KiB | Viewed 6770 times ]

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PostPosted: Sep 18th, '09, 22:43 
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My bet is they'll be feeding the fish and harvesting the veges... for free.. :wink:

At least they wont grow up thinking food grows in plastic bags... or out the back of the McDonalds drive through window... :cheers:

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PostPosted: Sep 18th, '09, 23:34 
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You mentioned you need pictures to help with the idea of mesh tanks. Here is a link to page 80 of my thread where we built our 6 foot dia "mesh" tank
http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2640&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=1185
It is two cattle panels from tractor supply hooked together to form a circle with added cable and other hardware to keep the two panels locked together. Lined with a cheap tarp and some 1/4" blue board insulation before carefully folding the 15' by 15' piece of heavy duty EPDM liner into it. Would probably be better done by welding hdpe into a cylinder but I don't know how to do that yet and I was able to get the liner.
Image
Image

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PostPosted: Sep 19th, '09, 04:43 
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EXCELLENT TC!!

Thanks for that and I will read more carefully. That along with the current ferrocemet thread yields some fascinating low budget possibilities.

Questions on fish. you had a couple comments in JT's thread (pg 29) about what I might choose for fish and recommended against tilapia. I have access to hybrid blue gill, crappie, bass and cats next weekend... I have a place to put some and can scramble for a larger holding tank until I get my big system up and cycled... What would you choose? Would you mix species (I can separate later into the sump tank...)? What stocking density might I be shooting for?

I know you are gonna have to guess at some of these, but I have to scramble to get these fish and would like some wise input...

Thanks,

CB

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