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 Post subject: My first IBC Test System
PostPosted: Mar 14th, '11, 14:42 
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Hi,

I'm just starting my first setup here in Belgium.
I'm using two IBC Containers, one I've cut off the top and the other cut in two halves each about 35 cm deep.

I've already purchased a pump and a water test kit, some clay pebbles and some piping.

The plan is to build a fill and drain system for testing purposes.

The Fishtank
The tank is a 1000 L IBC Container. I've cut off the top portion so it will stil hold a bit less then 1000L. I wanted to put in halfway into the ground but I stumbled on an old foundation, so it's only dug in about 1/3.

The Growbeds
One IBC Container cut in half and trimmed down to about 35cm high. So I have two growbeds.

The Pump
I bought a 3000L/H pump, I thought it would be good enough but inititial testing shows it's a bit too weak. I might have to buy another. :(

The Budget
I'm not really on a tight budget but I don't want to spend more than €500 euro on the entire project. We'll see how far we can take that.
I will keep a list in this thread on how much I've spend, I thought that might be interesting for reference.

  • 2x IBC Containers USED €60
  • 1x 3000L/H Pump €62
  • 1x Water Test Kit €36
  • 6x 45L Bag Clay Pebbles € 52
  • Various Pipes and Fittings € 45

Total So Far: € 255

I'm going to start construction on the growbeds this week. I'll post some pictures too.


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PostPosted: Mar 14th, '11, 16:17 
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$8 for a bag of expanded clay?!
My friend, you would die if you knew what we pay for expanded clay in AUS.

At some places - you would pay for 1 50L bag what you paid for 6 bags!!!

Good luck with your IBC - they are a fun n bountiful project and teeth-cutter!

BTx


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PostPosted: Mar 14th, '11, 16:26 
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I read about the prices a lot on this forum, so I was prepared when I went to the shop. I was surprised it was only €8. I checked on the internet for prices in other stores here in Belgium and it's all around €8 to €10 for 50L.


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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '11, 03:42 
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I've finished the plumbing for the first Growbed and the Bell Syphon is working exactly as it should. I've added my Hydropellets but the quard around the syphon keeps coming up an inch or so and clay pellets are being sucked up by the syphon.

I was wondering if I can secure the quard to the GB. Can I glue it down? It's a bit of PVC tubing.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '11, 06:10 
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struisje can you show us a pic of the bottom of the media guard? You may just have the cuts/holes too big so the media can get into it.

On my system the bottom is flat with holes all around to keep the pesky clay balls from doing that. Also you will need 12 bags of clay, 6 in each bed.

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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '11, 07:15 
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Do you know what is happening in your growbed, that makes the guard come up? Are you having trouble with floating clay pebbles (I know at least a percentage of them tend to float)?

I used to have a PVC guard for a short while as well, and don't remember having trouble with it lifting.. I have a new guard now, though; it's a stainless steel mesh welded round and onto a square plate with a hole in the middle for the standpipe. The clay pebbles that sit on the edges of the square plate (on the outside of the mesh) hold the thing down; if you don't want to glue your siphon guard to the bottom of your growbed you could do something similar.
Image

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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '11, 15:16 
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Sounds like your bed is flooding too high if your surround is floating, you might need to drop the level of your inner stand pipe a bit, or add more clay, you need an inch or so of dry clay on top...

You can stick a brick on the outer surround for a couple of weeks, once things have settled you should be fine...

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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '11, 17:21 
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Yes I think that is the problem. The pipe sticks out above the bottom of the growbed about 27cm. I threw in 6 45L Bags of clay pebbles but I think I need to add one more bag to get above the 27 cm. I will try it later when I get home from work, I will take some pictures too when I get the chance.

@ Zman:
I cut slots in the media guard, they're only 3mm wide and about 4cm high so the pebbles can't get through. I avoided cutting round holes because I read somewhere the pebbles can get stuck in the holes and block the waterflow.


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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '11, 02:54 
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I've cut down the pipes about 2cm, now it seems to be working better.

Here are some images after 4 days of work:

Image
The overal system: 1 IBC as fishtank (without fish, just started cycling)

Image
I already put some plants in

Image
A closeup view of the fishtank, the pipe in front is the drain pipe from the left GB, the pipe on the right (just behind the power cable) is the drainpipe from the right GB


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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '11, 03:04 
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Looks nice! But isn't it a bit early for planting tomatoes outside? Do you plan to grow them under a cover?

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '11, 03:21 
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Yes it's too early :-)

I'm a total vegetable growing newbie and I just couldn't resist when I saw the tomato plants.

We'll just see what happens, I think making a cover is not a bad idea.


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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '11, 04:17 
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If I were you, I'd probably put the tomato in a plastic pot in the GB - to be able to take it inside when it freezes. I always get powdery mildew (or at least I think that's what it is) on tomatoes when they're not covered from the rain, too.

You might have to plant your strawberries a bit higher in the GB medium - or at least I do. They look like they're a bit too 'buried' - but then I'm far from a plant expert myself. In fact, I haven't even been able to grow lettuce in aquaponics so far.. :shifty:

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '11, 13:24 
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Do you happen to know where I can get seawead extract?
It seems to be difficult to find here in Belgium, maybe you've had better luck in the Netherlands?


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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '11, 18:07 
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I heard about a brand called Zoowiera, but they sell seaweed extract for pet food so I don't know if it's the same thing.

In the Netherlands, I'd look in a growshop (where they sell everything related to growing cannabis). I think they were trying to pass a law to make growshops illegal, though..

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PostPosted: Mar 20th, '11, 22:59 
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I've found some seewead extract in Belgium. I ordered it through the website http://www.denieuwetuin.be/

I have a question about my syphons.
I currently have a 15 min on / 45 min off pump.

Sometimes the growbed will fill up one time and drain and then fill up again and the pump stops just before the syphon kicks in. That leaves the growbed completely flooded for 45 minutes until the pump turns on again.

How can I solve it that it will drain completely every time? If I have a stronger pump, maybe the syphon will keep draining until the pump shuts off.

I currently can not change the 15 minutes because the timer I have now only allows me to set it with 15 minute intervals. If I have another timer I can set it to 10 min on / 50 min off.

Any other solutions?


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