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PostPosted: Aug 22nd, '16, 18:25 
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hey all,

I am planning a aquaponics system by using the IBC tank. Can anyone give me some suggestion on this?

I will have two whole IBC fish tank by removing the top, and 6 IBC growing beds, 1 sump with 3000l per hour pump. so the pump will pump the water into two fish tank, and overflow into three growing bed individually, then returning the water to sump by ball siphon.

1. do i have enough growing beds for this system?
2. does the 3000 litre per hour pump good enough?
3. will i have enough water to trigger the ball siphone for each growing bed?
4. i will use a 2/3 size IBC for sump, does this sump is big enough for this system?

any other suggestions?


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PostPosted: Aug 23rd, '16, 07:10 
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Hi AussieCroc,

aussiecrocodile wrote:
I will have two whole IBC fish tank by removing the top, and 6 IBC growing beds,

So can you send up a drawing? Just to be straight about things... are we talking about 2 x 1000 L Fish Tanks or are you talking about 2/3rds of an IBC for each Fish Tank with the top 30 cm becoming one of the 6 grow beds? By "removing the top" I'm assuming each Fish Tank is 2/3rds of an IBC. Please correct things if the wrong numbers are assumed... :thumbright:

So this system you describe is 1 600 L Fish Tank overflowing into another 600 L Fish Tank...

aussiecrocodile wrote:
1 sump with 3000l per hour pump. so the pump will pump the water into two fish tank, and overflow into three growing bed individually, then returning the water to sump by ball siphon.

And the 2nd Fish Tank overflows into 3 grow beds? Or 6?

Is this whole flow?

[ 600 L Sump ] --> 2 x [ 600 L Fish Tank ] --> 3 x [ 30cm Growbed ] --> [ Back to 600 L Sump ]

aussiecrocodile wrote:
1. do i have enough growing beds for this system?
2. does the 3000 litre per hour pump good enough?
3. will i have enough water to trigger the ball siphone for each growing bed?
4. i will use a 2/3 size IBC for sump, does this sump is big enough for this system?

Enough number of growbeds for how heavily stocked fish tanks? I think figuring growbed size to fish load is useful.

So how much water do you calculate would normally be in this system?

600 L + 600 L + 3 x 40% of 300 L = 1200 L + 360 L = 1560 L (w/6 GB + 360L = 1920 L)

You're figuring about 1 m head going from Sump Tank surface to Fish Tank surface?

So maybe that pump can push around the 1560 L or 1920 L of water you might have once an hour or a bit better? :dontknow:

If your Fish Tanks are 1000 L each, that would be 2720 L of water to push around and I'd bet that 3000 L pump can't move it all around within an hour...

Can you describe your siphons a bit more? Tube size? Length?

I think if you are doing a flood and drain sort of water cycle, you must consider a Sump Tank big enough to take all of the water from all of the growbeds that could start draining at the same time. I'm guessing a 1/3 IBC Growbed is 300 or so L for media and water, with 40% of that being water, each would have 120 L of water to deal with. So that is 360 L for 3 Growbeds and 720 L for 6 Growbeds Maybe 1 of your 2/3rds IBC Sump Tanks for every 3 Growbeds would be safer?

It could be interesting to run a 2 Fish Tank / 6 Growbed system as 2 independent systems with each having 1000 L Fish Tank and 3 or more Growbeds for filter.

Please send some drawings with measurements to aid in calculations.

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PostPosted: Aug 23rd, '16, 07:44 
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hey Sam,

thanks for your reply.

Image

i am not very good on drawing, so i have found a pic online to illustrate. Basically, the system that i want to have is just double the one showing in the pic. but they are all connected, i will have two 2/3 sump tank connected, and returning pump output the water into two whole IBC fish tank, then overflows the water into growing bed.

so what do you think of this design?


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PostPosted: Aug 23rd, '16, 08:56 
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aussiecrocodile wrote:
Basically, the system that i want to have is just double the one showing in the pic. but they are all connected, i will have two 2/3 sump tank connected, and returning pump output the water into two whole IBC fish tank, then overflows the water into growing bed.

so what do you think of this design?

I think that is a nice design and you should find several examples of those who start with 3 IBC's that have done just what the picture shows. So you'll have the 2 Sump Tanks tied together so we can consider them as one Sump Tank that is 1200 L or so, right? And the 2 Fish Tanks will also be tied together such that we can consider them to be 2000 L of Fish Tank, right? If you calculate about 120 L of water per Growbed times 6 that is 720 L of water in the Growbeds and 2000 L of water in the Fish Tanks. So it looks like you might have to pump up 1 m of head when the Sump Tank is low. That 3000 L pump might be struggling to cycle the water every 1 hour or so, but that's not the end of the world.

It could be that 2 x 2/3rd IBC Sump Tanks is on the edge of being able to handle 40% of 6 x 1/3rd IBC Sump Tanks that could all (720 L) drain at once? You could make that so only 3 can drain into the Sump Tank at a time by:

2 x [1000 Fish Tank] --> 3 x [1/3rd IBC Growbed] --> 3 x [1/3rd IBC Growbed]

This would be like one of the 1st systems described in the IBCofAquaponics doc at the link at the top of this webpage: Steveiscrazy's IBC System. He overflows Fish Tank into 3 1/3rd IBC Growbeds and each of those overflows into a 2nd 1/3rd IBC Growbed. After the 2nd set of 1/3rd IBC Growbeds he drains into the Sump Tank which appears to be a 1000 L Sump Tank. I'm not sure how big his Fish Tank is nor what kind of load he ran with, but his system thread probably tells all! ;-)

I think you'll find some folks successfully running more than 3 x 1/3rd IBC Growbeds from a 1000 L Fish Tank.

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PostPosted: Aug 23rd, '16, 10:41 
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this looks like one of the pictures from the FAO Small system doc (or similar to it anyway).
http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4021e/index.html If you haven't read it then it is worth a read.
Like all publications it is guidelines that have to be adapted to suite your specific needs.
And like most of these things some things are optional (eg. siphons, filters) - but generally that doc is quite balanced when presenting options.

If it was me I would run 2 separate systems and not connect them.
Then if there are issues with one you still have the other.
I would run them 30-30 on a timer based flood and drain (so equivalent to one running at time).
but that sort of decision is up to you and may be affected by your choice of fish and stocking levels.

IMO you need a 2500-3000 LPH pump for one IBC system (so would need 2 here).
Bunnings sell the Aquapro AP3000 for $95 or so and these work fine,
else many $100-$150 options from most pond places and websites (eg. Creative Pumps website).
wouldn't go with anything cheaper or any unknown brand from eBay.

3 beds per IBC is fine - at end of day it comes down to how many and what type of fish you have and whether they can generate the wastes and solids required to drive the system. But initially I would say that is a pretty sound setup.


the weak link in your proposal (versus the picture) is you only have one sump that you suggest will be quite small.
You would need a much larger sump to support 6 grow beds (a whole IBC) as above I would just focus on 2 separate systems like the one pictured. So it would need to be buried. Esle you need 2 sumps.

The proportions in that picture are about right and it has nice deep grow beds. Although if all GB's drained at once then you may risk sump overflow - I expect sump would need to be 500 Litres for 3 GB's and keeping some water in sump for pump to keep operating. 3 250L GB's would generate about 100L each.

You could run the system without siphons to keep it more balanced and only partially drain the beds on each cycle.

[edit] to be really honest - I would recommend you build a single IBC system and get that tested and working first.

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PostPosted: Aug 23rd, '16, 19:31 
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hey Sam and Darren,

thanks for the replies, they are both very helpful to me.

I will move home in the next few months, once i moved, then i can decide how to layout the fish tank and growing beds.

i am in melbourne, and wish to know what fish does people in melbourne keep in their system? i have gold fish and they are doing well. i also tried the silver perch, murray cod and catfish, they seem ok, but won't survive in winter time. some people suggest the rainbow trout, but they are only good for cold weather, so wish to know what fish can i keep.

i also have yabbies, kept them before, but they fight until dealth, now they seem ok, as i put a lot of pvc pipe in the tank, so they have their own territory, will this last until they grow bigger? do not know .


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PostPosted: Aug 24th, '16, 13:14 
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Melbourne fish - you have pretty much covered them in your list.
Really comes down to temperature management whichever way you go.

Yabbies - depends on size of tank. They tend to walk around as they get bigger.
If you get a male and female then they might be OK - but will eat babies if you don't pull them out.
I keep them mainly to keep my fish tanks clean - they eat most things on the bottom and excess fish pellets.
Not really an effective way to raise a feed, but they add life to the tank.

Catfish good option if you like eating them.
Eel tails (Tandanus Tandanus) grow pretty well if you can source them for reasonable price.
Cant have them here in WA - else I would have a few.

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PostPosted: Aug 24th, '16, 14:30 
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dlf_perth wrote:
Melbourne fish - you have pretty much covered them in your list.
Really comes down to temperature management whichever way you go.

Yabbies - depends on size of tank. They tend to walk around as they get bigger.
If you get a male and female then they might be OK - but will eat babies if you don't pull them out.
I keep them mainly to keep my fish tanks clean - they eat most things on the bottom and excess fish pellets.
Not really an effective way to raise a feed, but they add life to the tank.

Catfish good option if you like eating them.
Eel tails (Tandanus Tandanus) grow pretty well if you can source them for reasonable price.
Cant have them here in WA - else I would have a few.


i keep tandanus tandanus before, again, they died during winter time, same as silver perch, murray cod, but after few years experience, i found gold fish is good for winter, but i really want to keep some table fish in the system. i also try to keep yabbies with fish in the same tank, yabbies will eat some fish as i found. i have a friend try to keep the catfish in the greenhouse aquaponics, also lost them in winter, so temp is a critical factor for these fishs. i have talked with my supplier about this, and they advise that i can harvest fish before winter, however, the fish size is not good enough to harvest.


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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '17, 15:56 
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Hi aussiecrocodile. Your diagram is almost identical to what I currently have, except that I placed the sump and FT beside each other in an insulated box. I run a 12V solar powered pump of 2500LPH on a timer of 10 mins on, 50 mins off. It is enough to fill the GBs every hour with bell siphons back to the sump (most of the GB volume is actually rock).
3 x 30cm deep ibc GBs with scoria grow medium, 80Watt solar panel, 5A Jayco timer, 120AH deep cycle battery, 20A controller and 20A relay. The sump and FT are also partially buried for easier access to vegies and extra insulation.
Like you, I'm planning to run a second stand alone system beside the first with solar heating for winter.
I have SP's in the FT.


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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '17, 16:37 
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My trout seem to be less stressed than me when their water gets to 24 C and ambient is 39 C.
I've had them for about 3 months from 35-50 mm now they're about sausage roll size. It was questionable to carry trout over summer but as others pointed out fingerlings aren't so bad because they don't produce so much waste.

Pete.

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