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 Post subject: Bonsaibellys IBC+Barrels
PostPosted: Jun 6th, '10, 21:53 
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Hi there,
Got up and running today so thought might be a good time to share!

I have a limited space and of course budget so decided to go with an IBC. The space is about 4mx3m wide narrowing down to about 1m wide. A bit of a wedge. I also want to be able to expand(despite what I just wrote) so decided 2 IBC's would be better. I ended up using poly irrigation piping which is more expensive than pvc but easy to set up. It screws together and you can snip the pipe with secateurs. Another brainwave and I though if I bury them then I wont have to build racks for the 1/2 barrels. I have now 4 barrels on top of 2 IBC tanks which means ive got a lot of water capacity and not many grow beds. I got about 1/2 a meter down and the dirt turned to rocks turned to undiggable super thick clay. Oh well I figured its easier to build a step than dig deeper...bed height is about 1.2m...

I have put in a 400w submersible pump which has power enough to get 3 more barrels going in the next few weeks and also another bed along the path by spring. I am happier with pump and timer - it just seemed a little lest complicated and I was a little scared of auto syphons. What I ended up making can probably be adapted easily for an auto syphon anyway but now worries, see how we go...Thanks Fish+Food as I saw your pics of drain and overflow and 'referenced' that pretty heavily. Anyway the water is pumping through now with beds filling in 3 minutes and draining in about 35. they run once per hour, which has been pretty good going out and hearing the timer kick on, on queue.

I have planted some veggies because I'm impatient, but have added some seasol to keep them happy. I also plan on getting some sacraficial (test) gold fish in the next few days and hope to get some trout before the end of June. I should have 700ltr grow beds by then so i am aiming for maybe 40? trout.


Still got a bit to do like tidy up and paint the barrels to protect form UV etc. But happy to get to this point.

So far so good....will update as I go, let me know what you think ...cheers for barrelponics, Ben


Attachments:
File comment: Looks great with plants in...just need some fish
plantsin.JPG
plantsin.JPG [ 67.83 KiB | Viewed 8131 times ]
File comment: Rinsed the scoria twice but still made the water dirty!
gettingreadytoplany.JPG
gettingreadytoplany.JPG [ 53.69 KiB | Viewed 8132 times ]
File comment: after digging holes setting up was much more fun
holesintanks.JPG
holesintanks.JPG [ 37.73 KiB | Viewed 8127 times ]

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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '10, 06:57 
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Looking good :wave1: , it looks like you are using the high pressure "blue line" pipe, the much cheaper ag pipe "brown line" would have been suitable for your needs and saved some money. The Ag pipe uses a different fitting design and the pipe has a thinner wall.

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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '10, 08:29 
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Hmmm, yes I guess thats why its good to post what you intend to do first. the blue pipe was 'sold in' when I got the pump, so i didnt really question it. :oops:

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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '10, 10:39 
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Thats rea1lly chunky media there BB, I don;t think you'll have any clogging problems with that... :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '10, 12:33 
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If you want to save some money over the long term a 400w pump is a bit extreme. Should be able to pick up something in the 50w range that would move 2000L or so at 1m head. At 100w there is plenty of pumps that will move 6000L if you want to allow for more expansion.


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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '10, 12:37 
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Head phones, is your system really loud? Looks nice.


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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '10, 21:19 
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earthbound wrote:
Thats rea1lly chunky media there BB, I don;t think you'll have any clogging problems with that... :thumbright:

Hmmm, yeah 20mm sounds quite small on the phone but its alot larger in real life. It actually makes it dead easy to plant in. I used a little cotton ball collar and excavate a little hole. The rocks hold in the plants no problem. Checked today and they are all happy. All puming and drianing and flooding like a dream. Also get aroun 50% air which is good for turn over of water too...running around 1600ltrs so will need to add more frow beds soon...

machineman wrote:
Head phones, is your system really loud? Looks nice.

Haha yeah it is a bit like a water feature. I covered the holes to kiddie safe it and its alot quieter. I have a 7yo helper but when using power tools its headphones and goggles. Gets the kids in on the fun. Thats part of the attraction, the life lesson bit...it was actually really easy to cut up the barrels and IBCs with the circular saw. My barrels had been used for glucose syrup which is sticky and hard to clean. ended up getting the kettle going outside; it dissolved pretty easy with hot water. Im pretty happy so far. I promised i would put some shade cloth to hide the industrial look...but i'll get to that later...
Heres a pic of the drainage pvc i made for the barrels...all sealed with love by Sellys All Clear - great product...


Attachments:
File comment: Drainage bits
drainage bits.JPG
drainage bits.JPG [ 31.41 KiB | Viewed 7957 times ]

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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '10, 22:30 
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Privatteer wrote:
If you want to save some money over the long term a 400w pump is a bit extreme. Should be able to pick up something in the 50w range that would move 2000L or so at 1m head. At 100w there is plenty of pumps that will move 6000L if you want to allow for more expansion.

400w is a bit much I agree. I may have overcompensated. I worked out it will be around $30 a year if this site is right:http://www.electricity-usage.com/Electricity-Usage-Calculator.aspx running at 3 minutes 20 times a day. Still, plenty of room to expand now...(got to look on the bright side) :shifty:

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PostPosted: Jun 8th, '10, 00:46 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Get some shade or something around the IBC's asap to protect them from the sun and even more to avoid the pea soup algae bloom that usually hits new systems. If you shade the fish tanks well you can probably avoid the pea soup experience all together.

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PostPosted: Jun 10th, '10, 22:01 
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Got a test kit today and my water PH is 6.8-7 so pretty good (ammonia, nitrates and nitrites 0) - I was worried the scoria might have done something dodgy to the water but its all good. The pet shop I went to had lots of cheap gold fish to run my system in, but Maclesfield trout farm currently has trout fingerlings for $1.50 - i recon I may as well get 20 or so and dive in - or am inviting dead fish into my life? I have read pros and cons on running in with fish but i figure 20 or so little trout should last in 1800 ltrs of water until the biofilters are going strong.

Things to do next:
hook up 2 more barrels
get snow peas in
overflow for tanks - it keeps raining!
possible extra filter/sediment catcher
Protect tanks better/paint to stop UV from sun
:flower:


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File comment: Plants happy, water cycling, kiddie guards in, temporary tank covers on (big red flag)
ponicssmall.jpg
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PostPosted: Jun 11th, '10, 00:33 
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I am sure you have probably read it somewhere, but the amount of fish you can keep is determined by the amount of biofiltration you have... and the BYAP recommended is about 20-25 fishes per 500L of growing media (filtration)... the tank size does play a part in terms of how much space in which the fish can grow but the lack of sufficient filtration is the one that will cause the death...

You generally try not to push a new system too hard... and you don't really need a lot of fish to get good plant growth...

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PostPosted: Jun 11th, '10, 05:19 
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Thanks ivansn, sure have read it (i didn't explain myself properly - might be my midnight forum habit that has developed).
I have about 500ltrs of grow bed space so figured about 20 fish was ok to run it all in. I was figuring the amount of water would allow the ammonia to keep down long enough for the system to cycle properly... :)

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PostPosted: Jun 11th, '10, 06:12 
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Many people cycle up with fish the main issue there is you have to keep a very close eye on things since an ammonia spike or nitrite spike can be hard on the fish. You have to withhold feed if the levels are up and little fish often beg so saying no can be hard for some people. Anyway, vigilant testing and very slow feed increases as you cycle up with fish. If you see ammonia or nitrite, don't feed, once those go back down, feed again but cautiously. It's a good idea to have 1 ppt of salt in the system for cycling up with fish since it can help mitigate nitrite toxicity.

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PostPosted: Jun 11th, '10, 07:44 
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Hi Bonsaibellys,
you mentioned the fish shop near you had lots of cheap goldfish, I am looking for some cheap ones also. Can you tell me where they are please?

I really like your system, I have plans for something like that.

Can I ask please, you have 1 pump and 2 IBCs, how do you cycle the water from both?
Dale

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PostPosted: Jun 11th, '10, 09:16 
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Thanks TCLynx for the tips, I can't wait till the weekend......vigilant testing appeals to my nerdie side and will give me more excuses to stand next to my tanks as they cycle up :D

Dale, the shop I went to was Amazing Amazon, the have 'feeder' goldfish which are pretty plain looking - as in - feed them to your turtles etc. Poor buggers are on death row at$1.70 or 10 for $15. Seem like nice guys and have the most amazing stuff for aquariums, fish, coral Aust natives, snakes, frogs etc etc. Its pretty near you I think on Springvale road.

Cheers

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